English proficiency

Main page content

Undergraduate students

International applicants for whom English is a non-native language must provide proof of English language proficiency.  Applicants can fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of four ways listed below. Note for international applicants: This requirement must be met one quarter prior to matriculation. For example, if an applicant is admitted to autumn quarter, proof of English language proficiency must be received by the university by July.

1. Submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores at or above the following minimum scores


Minimum score

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (Internet-based)*


TOEFL (paper-based)


TOEFL (computer-based)


International English Language Testing System (IELTS - academic only)


The TOEFL institution code for University of Washington Tacoma is 9965. (Note: Graduate students should send TOEFL results to code 4854).

2. Submit official SAT or ACT scores at or above the following minimum scores

Official scores must be sent to UW Tacoma directly from the College Board or ACT to satisfy this requirement.


Minimum score 


    New Test: Evidence based Reading & Writing (ERW)




ACT: English score


3. Transfer students can fulfill the English proficiency requirement based on classes if ALL of the following apply:

  • Enter as a transfer student at UW Tacoma with at least 30 transferable college-level credits from another accredited U.S. higher education institution; AND
  • Earn a 2.75 or higher overall grade point average in transfer coursework (GPA); AND
  • Complete two college-level English composition classes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in each course.

4. Submit Duolingo English Test Scores -Autumn 2021 applicants only

Beacuse of COVID-19, Duolingo exams will be accepted for Autumn 2021 applicants.

  • Achieved a minimum score of 100
  • It is encouraged that students consider the IELTS or option 3 listed above


  • International students whose primary and secondary education took place in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States are exempt from this requirement. Students who were born in one of these countries but were educated elsewhere are still required to satisfy the English proficiency requirement.
  • The university reserves the right to request TOEFL or IELTS scores in cases where the admissions office determines that more information regarding an applicant’s English language proficiency is needed.
  • These are pre-major requirements and academic departments may have additional requirements. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the admissions requirements for their chosen major.

Milgard School of Business applicants:

Undergraduate transfer applicants to the Milgard School of Business are required to submit at least one test score to apply to the business major:

  • Writing Skills Assessment (WSA) test – taken within the last two years at any UW campus OR taken online
  • TOEFL/IELTS score -- Taken within the last two years (TOEFL,minimum 83 ibT, 558 paper-based, 220 computer-based. IELTS, minimum 6.5 overall)
  • NEW-- Combination of English compostition course prerequisite and the Personal Statement

The TOEFL or IELTS test results can be submitted to the Office of Admission with the general application, and the Milgard School will be able to review the results when they consider an application to the major.

Graduate students:

Students applying to a graduate (master's level or higher) program at UW Tacoma must follow the UW Graduate School guidelines for English proficiency.