Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

English Proficiency

Language Requirements

All non-native-English-speaking applicants are required to provide proof of English language ability. As proof, the University of Missouri Graduate School accepts scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The Graduate School requires electronic reporting of IELTS examination scores. 

Non-native English speakers must score at least a 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL or 6.5 on the Academic IELTS. In addition, it is expected that applicants will achieve subsection minimums of no less than 17 on IBT, 52 on PBT or 6.0 on IELTS (subsections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing).  Native English speakers are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years beyond the test date. Required scores vary by academic program. Please note that Institutional TOEFL (TOEFL ITP) results from schools or institutions other than the University of Missouri are not acceptable. 

Test Type Total Score Reading Listening Speaking Writing
TOEFL Internet-based 80 17 17 17 17
TOEFL Paper-based 550 52 52 N/A 52
IELTS Academic 6.5 6 6 6 6

Students who cannot meet the English language proficiency requirements may enroll in the intensive English program at Mizzou. This program is designed to provide students with the English-language skills necessary to successfully study for an academic degree in the United States. Please contact the Center for English Language Learning for more information. You may also wish to ask the director of graduate studies in your degree program about this option.

English-language development resources are available at Mizzou and in the local community. Explore the options »

Teaching Assistants and Graduate Instructors

All teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate instructors and postdoctoral fellows who are non-native speakers of English must speak well enough to effectively communicate in the classroom as required by state law and university policy. If your degree program has offered you a financial package that includes a teaching assistantship or graduate instructorship, you must undergo additional English-language evaluation. This evaluation happens after the admission process and will affect your ability to teach on the Mizzou campus. Learn more through the International Teaching Assistant Program »

Language Proficiency Test Waiver

Some non-native English speaking applicants may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. To be exempt from this requirement, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Completed at least one-year of full-time college-level study at a school in a country where English is the native language within the last two years.
  2. Successfully completed the year of study (passed all the classes).
  3. One year of full-time enrollment is defined as 24 credit hours over 2 semesters at the undergraduate level or 18 credit hours over 2 semesters at the graduate level. English as a second language, intensive English, and/or remedial English courses cannot be included in the credit hour count.

Each graduate program reserves the right to require an applicant to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score regardless of the previous educational experience. Please check with your academic program about requirements.

Special Cases for Waivers

Each graduate program reserves the right to require an applicant to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. Please consult your academic program of interest to determine if the program is willing to request a waiver for your case to the Office of Graduate Studies. 

Waiver of minimum subsection score: On occasion, programs may feel that applicants who meet the minimum TOEFL requirement of 80 but have a subsection score below 17 deserves consideration. Programs may request a waiver for such cases by justifying or explaining why this score will not impede the progress or success of the student in that program; special consideration should be given to speaking and listening scores if programs anticipate the student will be funded through a teaching assistantship. Instructions for submitting a waiver request are described below.

Waiver Request Instructions: Waiver requests should be addressed to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies, but sent either to the appropriate admissions advisor (per alpha-divisions) or to Terrence Grus (Director of Admissions). They will present these requests to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies, who will make the final decision as to whether the waiver will be granted. Some are approved, but many are not. If the waiver request is not approved, then the applicant will be required to take the TOEFL or IELTS (or retake the test) and submit their qualifying score to the Graduate Admissions Office prior to their admission. 

Admission Questions?

Click here to locate your Admission Adviser by the first letter of your last name.