English requirements for nonnative speakers of English

Iowa State University and the Graduate College have three areas of English requirements related to graduate studies.

Nonnative speakers of English are considered those whose first language is not English.

 

English Proficiency - Admission

All applicants are required to meet the English Proficiency requirement. For the purpose of applying to Iowa State, English may be considered your primary language if you have been raised in an environment where English is the only official language of your locality and nation, and English is the language used in your home. Applicants who are nonnative speakers of English must demonstrate their proficiency in one of the following ways:

  1. Submit official results from one of the following exams. The minimum requirements of both the Graduate College and the graduate program to which you are applying must be met. The minimum scores accepted by the Graduate College are:
    • Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) 79
    • Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT) 550
    • IELTS 6.5
    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) 53
    • DuoLingo English Test 105 (only approved through spring 2023 semester)

Official TOEFL exam results must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Iowa State electronically. Our school code is 6306. Official IELTS and PTE results should be sent directly by the testing agencies to the Office of Admissions, Iowa State University, 100 Enrollment Services Center, Ames, IA 50011-2011.

  1. Earn a bachelor’s or higher degree from a country where English is the only official language. For a list of what countries this includes, please contact the Office of Admissions.

 

The policy can be found in Graduate College Handbook chapter 1.1.2.  

 

Additionally, information about test scores and exemptions can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page. For questions about the English Proficiency requirement, please contact the Office of Admissions, grad_admissions@iastate.edu.

 

English Requirement - Graduation

All admitted graduate students who are nonnative speakers of English are required to complete the English Requirement prior to graduation of the degree. To determine what courses are need to complete this requirement, students should take the English Placement Test (EPT) administered by the English Department at ISU. The EPT will assess the student’s skills and assign the necessary courses required for the student to complete the English Requirement for Graduation. Students are expected to take the EPT at the beginning of their first semester and encouraged to complete the necessary courses during the first year with the Graduate College. Exemptions listed on EPT website will automatically update student’s records after two weeks of the first semester.

 

The policy can be found in Graduate College Handbook chapter 4.4.3.

For questions about the English Placement Test for graduation, please contact the English Department, ept@iastate.edu.

 

Oral English Certification Test – Teaching Assistantships

Graduate students who are offered a graduate teaching assistantship are required to take the Oral English Certification Test (OECT). The purpose of the OECT is to assess how effectively international teaching assistants (ITAs) can use English for Teaching Purposes. ITAs are expected to take the OECT before they begin their teaching assistantships and complete the necessary Engl 180 courses before or during the same semester as their teaching assistantships.

 

The policy can be found in Graduate College Handbook chapter 4.4.3.

For questions about the OECT, please contact the Center for Communication Excellence, itas@iastate.edu.