English Proficiency

All graduate international applicants to Syracuse University whose first language is not English must prove they are proficient in the English language.

The following tests are acceptable to fulfill the English Proficiency requirement:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
    • Recommended Minimum: 90
    • Recommended Minimum for Audio Arts: 100
  • TOEFL Home Edition
    • Recommended Minimum: 90
    • Recommended Minimum for Audio Arts: 100
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
    • Recommended Minimum: 6.5
  • Duolingo
    • Recommended Minimum: 110


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.

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 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.

Equivalence of a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree

As an applicant to a Syracuse graduate program, you’ll need to provide official documentation of having earned at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) in another country. You may also use  World Education Services (WES)  to verify that your degree is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. A WES credential evaluation makes it easier for admissions officers to understand your degrees, courses, and grades in U.S. terms.

The university accepts some General Equivalents to a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree depending what country you obtained your degree from.