Important Information to Know When Applying to VPA

English Proficiency Requirement

All graduate international applicants to Syracuse University whose first language is not English must prove they are proficient in the English language. The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or Duolingo is required of all graduate applicants whose native language is not English.

Applicants may be exempt from the English Proficiency requirements if they have completed a bachelor’s degree earned from an accredited U.S. institution. Official transcripts are required showing completion of one of the above before a student can be exempted from the English Proficiency requirement.

If you are requesting an English Proficiency waiver for any other reason, please contact the VPA Graduate Admissions Office at . The decision to waive the standard requirement is at the discretion of the department to which you are applying. The Office of Recruitment and Admissions reserves the right to require a satisfactory TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo score from any applicant.

Use DI code 2823 when requesting your TOEFL scores to be sent to Syracuse University.

  • The recommended minimum TOEFL score required on the internet-based (iBT) test is 90 for all programs except the M.A. in audio arts and the M.F.A. in design, which require a score of 100 on the iBT.
  • The minimum IELTS score is 6.5 for all programs.
  • The minimum Duolingo score is 110 for all programs.
  • A student may be admitted with scores lower than those listed above as determined by the individual departments/school in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Under those circumstances students will be admitted provisionally with the need for developmental English language education. Students may satisfy the English language proficiency requirement by attending our English Language Institute (ELI) and completing Level 4 at the institute. Find out more information on the ELI website. If students are conditionally admitted for English proficiency, it is not mandatory for them to attend the ELI. The ELI is an alternative option for students who do not wish to retake the TOEFL or IELTS.


Except for art education and music education (whose application is through the School of Education) and the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in communication and rhetorical studies, we do not require the GRE.

U.S. Bachelor’s Degree Equivalent

If you have completed your undergraduate degree in another country, you must provide official documentation of having earned a U.S. bachelor’s degree equivalent. The following are general guidelines for equivalents to a U.S. bachelor’s degree:

  • Canada: A three-year bachelor’s degree from Quebec or a four-year bachelor’s degree from the other provinces
  • Latin America: A university degree requiring four years of study
  • United Kingdom and countries following the British pattern: A bachelor’s degree with honors
  • France and countries following the French pattern: A licence if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise a degree or diploma requiring four years of study after the baccalaureate, usually the maîtrise
  • Germany: A bakkalaureus degree if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise completion of the diploma
  • Other European countries: A university degree requiring a minimum of three years of study, if earned under the terms of the Bologna Declaration, otherwise a university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
  • India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal: A bachelor’s degree in engineering/technology or a master’s degree in any other field
  • Other Asian countries: A university degree requiring four years of study

Proof of Sufficient Funding

International students must show proof of sufficient funding for the first year of graduate study in order to have a student visa authorized. For detailed requirements and instructions, see the instructions in our online application and the instructions on the Graduate School website. Please note that many of our financial awards are available for international students, which can decrease the cost of attendance substantially. Proof of sufficient funding questions should be emailed to