Who Must Provide Proof of English Proficiency

Applicants to the graduate schools and divisions of the University of Chicago, regardless of citizenship, must either meet one of our waiver criteria (below) or submit proof of English language proficiency. This policy applies to all* graduate programs; the score level required for admission varies by program. Only the TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic tests are accepted as proof of proficiency.

Waiver Criteria

There are two ways to receive a waiver from the proof of proficiency requirement.

  • Primary Language Waiver: If English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood, you may attest to this on the application. We cannot assist you in determining if this is the case for you. Falsifying this information, as with any other information on the application, may lead to revocation of an offer of admission.
  • Education Waiver: If you were enrolled for at least one full academic year in the last ten years, as a full-time, degree-seeking student at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories:
    • Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States.
    • Education in English-medium institutions in any countries or territories not listed here does not qualify for the exemption.
    • Only full-time coursework in a degree program at a college or university in one of these countries or territories qualifies. Remote study, lab or research work, non-degree programs, intensive English language courses, or high school/secondary school do not qualify. The qualifying academic year must be completed – i.e., if you are now in a program and are planning to have completed a year by the time you enroll, it will not meet the requirement.

Please do not contact departments or Admissions regarding a waiver. If you meet the criteria the application system will automatically apply the waiver, and will not require you to report a TOEFL/IELTS score.​​​​​​​

Acceptable Tests

In order to meet the proof of proficiency requirement, students may submit either:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (iBT), including tests taken online at-home, or in a testing center
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic  – Note: applicants are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test.
  • Any other proficiency tests, exams, equivalent coursework, certificate/certifications, endorsement from faculty, and/or other measurement other than the TOEFL or IELTS are not accepted. This includes the IELTS “Indicator” test and the TOEFL ITP Plus.
  • Non-Degree Visiting Students (NDVS) should see the NDVS English proficiency policy here.


TOEFL or IELTS score reports are valid for two years and scores will be considered expired if the test was taken more than two years prior to the application deadline. If you send us a score and it expires prior to the deadline you are applying under, you will need to send a more recent score. Photocopies or PDFs of TOEFL or IELTS Score Reports will not be considered valid or accepted in lieu of an official score report.

Where to Send Test Scores


If you are taking the TOEFL, request the scores to be sent to the University of Chicago. The institutional codes are as follows:

  • University of Chicago: 1832
  • Booth School of Business MBA: 1832-02
  • Booth School of Business PhD: 1819
  • Harris School of Public Policy Studies: 1849


University of Chicago downloads IELTS scores that have been transmitted to our e-download account. Please contact your test center and request that your scores be sent to the following IELTS e-download account:

University of Chicago – Graduate Enrollment
970 East 58th Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637

The University does not accept paper IELTS test report forms.

*Note: This policy does not apply to the Chicago Booth School of Business, the Law School, or the Pritzker School of Medicine. Please consult with the relevant admissions websites for more information on the policies of each of these schools.

Other Resources