English Proficiency Policy for Non-Degree Visiting Students

All students at the University of Chicago, regardless of citizenship, must either provide proof of English proficiency which meets the requirements for their program, or qualify for a waiver. The waiver types, and how to qualify for them, are the same for Non-Degree Visiting Students (NDVS) as for all other students, but the proficiency requirement and the ways that it can be met are specific to the NDVS program.

Each school and division may set additional requirements beyond UChicago’s basic requirements outlined here, or may set a higher level requirement. The Dean of Students Office or Admissions Office processing your NDVS application will communicate any specific rules they may have as part of the application. This policy applies to both Undergraduate (UNDV) and Graduate NDVS hosted by a graduate school or division of the University.

Qualifying for a Waiver

There are two ways to receive a waiver from requirement to provide proof of proficiency:

  • 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.​​​​​​​

Proof of Proficiency and Required Scores

If you do not qualify for one of the two types of waivers, above, Non-Degree Visiting Students must meet a basic standard for spoken English, which may be met by sending a valid (no more than two years since the test was taken), official score report from a testing agency to the University of Chicago, or by arranging to take our in-house assessment, and meeting the minimum requirements:

  • TOEFL iBT Speaking score of 18 or better;
  • IELTS Academic Test Speaking score of 6.0 or better;
  • If your host program accepts the PTE, a PTE Speaking score of 50 or better;
  • Pass the UChicago Academic English Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) with a score of “Basic” or better. The AEPA, administered by UChicago’s Office of Language Assessment (OLA), may be requested through the office processing your NDVS application. NDVS applicants should not contact OLA directly.

Our standards for what constitutes acceptable proof of proficiency for NDVS are generally the same as for degree programs: Self-reported scores, or scores that have expired before you submit your application, or scores from tests not on the list above, will not be accepted as proof of proficiency. In such instances, you will be able to request the University’s AEPA assessment to meet the requirement if you do not have a valid official score available.

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

Requirements for International NDVS

As noted, the requirement above applies to all NDVS (and applicants for admission) regardless of citizenship. However, for NDVS who are seeking visa support from the University, there are other requirements that apply. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) maintains detailed information for Non-Degree Visiting Students on their website. As noted on that page, you must first secure an invitation from a department or faculty member at the University to come as a NDVS; you cannot apply for this status without an invitation, and neither the OIA nor Graduate Admissions issues invitations for NDVS status.