English Proficiency Requirements


All students graduating from non-English-speaking institutions or from programs not taught in English and applying for graduate admission to Azusa Pacific University—with the exception of APU-approved programs in languages other than English—are required to submit proof of sufficient English proficiency. One proof of proficiency is the successful completion of the international Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. Other options to prove proficiency follow the TOEFL information.

The following minimum scores on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) are required for admission to master’s-level and credential programs:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 22
  • Speaking: 22
  • Writing: 24

The following minimum scores on the iBT are required for admission to doctoral programs:

  • Listening: 25
  • Reading: 25
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 25

The iBT must be taken no more than two years before the start of an APU program. Specific graduate departments may require a higher score. See specific program areas for more information.

If the applicant scores below the minimum in one or more of the skill areas, the individual can retake the TOEFL test, take the APU American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) placement test, or consider studying for and passing the highest level in ALCI prior to full-time entry into the graduate program.

An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score can also be used as a verification of English proficiency. For regular admission, a minimum score of 7 is required.

Applicants studying full time and earning 48 units (not including ESL units) in an English-speaking university immediately prior to applying to APU may be eligible to have the English proficiency exam requirement waived. Verification of English as the language of instruction is required.

In addition, students must enroll in TESL 500 during their first term at Azusa Pacific University regardless of English proficiency exam score. During the first class session, students have an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in English; if they meet this, they can waive the class.

If, while in classes, it is determined that the student’s ability to communicate and participate in English is below the necessary standard, an instructor may refer him/her to the department chair, who may require him/her to seek assistance from the ALCI, which may lead to enrollment in a noncredit program at the student’s expense.


Students whose native language is not English must demonstrate or gain English proficiency in order to study at Azusa Pacific University. There are several ways to demonstrate and fulfill the English proficiency requirement:

1. Prior studies in English

Students can demonstrate English proficiency by verifying that their prior studies (secondary or postsecondary school) were conducted in English. Students must verify all of the following:

  • Completed at least 48 academic semester units without ESL support/classes.
  • Studies in English ended no more than two years before applying to APU.
  • The language of instruction was English.

To verify these points, students must provide academic transcripts along with an official letter from the institution where they studied stating that the language of instruction was English.

2. English testing by one of the following two options:

A. International standardized English tests (TOEFL and IELTS)

Students can demonstrate English proficiency by submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score report that meets or exceeds the requirements listed below. The university considers the component scores for admissions.

  Total (Top Score: 9)
Conditional1 5.5
Undergraduate 6.0
Graduate 7
Doctorate 8
Listening (Top Score: 30) Reading (Top Score: 30) Writing (Top Score: 30) Speaking (Top Score: 30)
Conditional1 16 16 18 15
Undergraduate 20 20 22 18
Graduate 22 22 24 22
Doctorate 25 25 25 25
Scores IELTS: 5.5
TOEFL Speaking: 15-17 Corresponding English Course: TESL 100
TOEFL Listening: 16-19
Scores IELTS: 5.5
TOEFL Reading: 16-19 Corresponding English Course: TESL 100
TOEFL Writing: 18-21

B. APU English placement test

Students can also demonstrate English proficiency by taking a placement test through the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI). This placement test is administered on campus at APU. Contact the International Center for schedules, fees, and locations for the APU English placement test.

3. Completion of an intensive English language program at APU

ALCI is an intensive English language program at APU. Those who qualify academically for undergraduate or graduate admission to APU and choose to fulfill the English proficiency requirement through study in the ALCI program are offered conditional admission to the university. Successful completion of Level 4 is the minimum proficiency level for undergraduate students, and Level 5 for graduate and professional students, to continue academic programs after ALCI studies. Students must submit a separate application for ALCI.