TOEFL Scores

We require a TOEFL score for all students who did not grow up speaking English as the first language in their home even if they have been living in the US or another English-speaking country. If this is the case, it is likely that your skills with English are very good, so you will probably get high TOEFL score, which will help your application to any US graduate school, even where it is not required.

Exception: If you are a current undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, you may instead make an appointment to take the Spoken English Test for TAs (SETTA).

Your TOEFL test score can be no more than two years old, but we highly recommend that you take these tests in the academic year preceding the year you hope to start graduate school; old scores don't carry as much weight with the admissions committee as a newer one.Even if you have taken a TOEFL exam in the past we recommend a retake, to update your score(s). If you have been developing your skills in English, then a new score is likely to be higher and this will work in your favor.

All this is true for any graduate school to which you apply.

NOTE: IELTS Scores are not acceptable, TOEFL Scores are required in our department.

International Applicants Seeking Teaching Assistant Support

See below for the University of Minnesota's guidelines for the TOEFL exam affecting graduate students supported as Teaching Assistants. These guidelines do not apply to students supported by fellowships, research assistantships, or other means.

No student with a score below 18 on the speaking part of the exam can be supported as a Teaching Assistant. No student with a speaking score below 23 can be assigned to lead a classroom discussion section. These requirements are in addition to the Graduate School requirement for admission (at least 79 on the Internet based TOEFL with section scores of 21 on writing and 19 on reading).

All admitted students receiving support as a TA will be expected to be teaching recitation sections and must satisfy the University of Minnesota guidelines.

The combination of these factors has forced us to use the following guidelines for offering support to potential international graduate students:

  1. To receive full consideration for support, you should have a TOEFL score of at least 100 with a section score of at least 23 on speaking.

  2. The probability that you will receive an offer of support diminishes sharply for total scores below 100 or speaking scores below 23.
  3. The probably of an offer diminishes to zero if your total score is below 79, your speaking score is below 18, your writing score is below 21, or your reading score is below 19.