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Language Requirement

International Applicants

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for international applicants whose native language is not English (UCSD code is 4836). The University-wide minimum TOFEL score required for consideration for graduate admission is 550 for the paper based test (PBT), and 85 for the internet based electronic (IBT).

Non-native English language speakers may be exempt from this requirement if they have earned or will be earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree with grades of B (3.0) or better from either:

  • A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or
  • A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English.

*Please visit International Student Application Requirements (

 Spanish/Portuguese Proficiency Requirement

Students must demonstrate language proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese which can be done in a variety of ways:

  1. Course work: LTSP 2C or higher for Spanish or LIPO 17 for Portuguese. Placement Tests are available through the Linguistics Department. *Please note that Graduate Students do no receive unit credit from lower division courses taken at UCSD. These units will not count towards your full-time status requirement of 12 units per quarter.  
  2. Letter from a Literature professor with whom you took an upper division/graduate level Literature course, vouching for your language skills.
  3. Successfully complete foreign language exam in Spanish through the Linguistics Department: or Portuguese  *Students must contact them directly to schedule an exam
  4. Be educated to at least the high school level in Portuguese/Spanish speaking country.
  5. Letter from Linguistics (if working as a TA in Spanish classes).

Proof of language proficiency completion must be sent to the graduate coordinator to place in your academic file. All results or letters should be forwarded to the graduate coordinator.