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English Language Proficiency and Exemptions

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Undergraduate/Transfer/Postbaccalaureate Admissions Only

It is highly recommended that international freshman applicants take the SAT test to fulfill the English language proficiency requirement. Submitting SAT scores will also assist in determining scholarship eligibility and providing an early admissions decision.

All applicants who did not graduate from native English-speaking countries will be required to provide adequate proof of English Language Proficiency. The University of Houston considers the countries listed below to have English as their native language. If you country is not listed, your proof of English Language Proficiency must be received by the University by the application deadline.

The English language proficiency requirement may be fulfilled by one of the following:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
    The minimum TOEFL score required is 550 (paper-based test) or 79 (internet-based test). TOEFL scores must be received directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS). The University of Houston's ETS Institutional Code is 6870.
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service)
    The minimum IELTS score required is an overall band score of a 6.5. The testing agency should mail the official results directly to the University of Houston.
  • UH Language and Culture Center
    Completion of Level 6 of the University of Houston’s Language and Culture Center.
  • Freshman ONLY - SAT I - Minimum SAT I Total (Critical Reading + Math) = 1100, with minimum Critical Reading = 500, and minimum Math = 500. Scores should be sent through The College Board (code 6870).
The Office of Admissions will use the highest test score from one test date. Photocopies or other duplication of scores are not acceptable. Scores must not be more than two years old.


Applicants are exempt from the English Language Proficiency Requirement if they meet any of the following criteria:
  • Earned a high school diploma, Associates of Arts, Associates of Science or bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited U.S. high school, college or university. Please note that completion of an Associate of Appllied Science or a GED does not waive the English Language Requirement.
  • Completed the equivalent of a high school education or the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree* in one of the following countries:
    Recognized English-speaking Countries
    Anguilla Fiji Islands St. Vincent & the Grenadines
    Antigua & Barbuda Grenada St. Kitts & Nevis
    Australia Guyana Bahamas
    Barbados Jamaica Trinidad
    Belize Liberia Trinidad & Tobago
    Bermuda Montserrat United Kingdom
    British Virgin Islands New Zealand U.S. Virgin Islands
    Canada (English-speaking provinces) Sierra Leone West Indies
    Cayman Islands South Africa Zimbabwe
    Dominica St. Lucia

    * Associate's degrees earned from the above countries do not apply to the English Language Proficiency Requirement exemption.

For Graduate and Professional English Language Proficiency Requirements, click here.