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We require all applicants who attend a school in a country where English is not the native language or whose language of instruction in high school (secondary school) was not English to adequately demonstrate English competency as a part of the application process. In most cases, if less than three years of your secondary schooling was with English as the language of instruction, you must meet UCSC's English proficiency requirement.

Freshmen may demonstrate competency by submitting scores from one of the following tests. Please note that TOEFL, IELTS, or DET exam scores are preferred, but the score from ACT English Language Arts or SAT Writing and Language can also be used to demonstrate English language proficiency.

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Internet-based test (iBT) or iBT Home Edition: Minimum score of 80 or better. Paper-delivered test: Minimum score of 60 or better
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): Overall band score of 6.5 or higher*, includes IELTS Indicator Exam (through fall 2022)
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115 (through fall 2022)
  • SAT (March 2016 or later) Writing & Language Test: 31 or higher
  • SAT (prior to March 2016) Writing Exam: 560 or higher
  • ACT combined English-Writing or English Language Arts portion: 24 or higher
  • AP English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition: 3, 4, or 5
  • IB Standard Level examination in English: Literature, or Language and Literature: 6 or 7
  • IB Higher Level examination in English: Literature, or Language and Literature: 5, 6, or 7

Transfer students may fulfill the English Proficiency requirement in the following ways:

  • Complete at least two English composition courses with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students who do not have a 3.00 average in their first two English compositions may take a third English Composition (UC-E) course in order to reach the 3.0 combined GPA.
  • Students whose overall UC transferable GPA is below 3.0 must achieve an average 3.0 GPA (B) in English composition courses. 
  • Students with a cumulative UC transferable GPA above 3.00 must complete the two English composition courses with C (2.0) grades or higher. 
  • Achieve a score of 80 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, includes TOEFL iBT Home Edition (fall 2021 only)
  • Achieve a score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), includes IELTS Indicator Exam (fall 2021 only)
  • Achieve a score of 115 on the Duolingo English Test (DET).

*Please note: For IELTS testing, UCSC only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution. You must provide the following information when requesting your scores:

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