English language proficiency

Whether you’re applying as a freshman or transfer student, you must demonstrate proficiency in English to be considered for admission to any of our campuses.

Applying as a freshman?

If you’ve completed all your secondary school/high school in a country where English is not the language of instruction, you can demonstrate proficiency by taking one of these exams no later than December of your final year of high school/secondary school and earning the required scores:

  • Score 24 or higher for the ACT English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Score 31 or higher on Writing and Language in the SAT 
  • Score 3, 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition
  • Score 6 or 7 on an IB Standard Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 5, 6 or 7 on an IB Higher Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the IELTS Indicator (Fall 2022 only)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)* examination:
    • Internet-based test (iBT): Minimum score of 80 or better
    • iBT Home Edition: Minimum score of 80 or better 
    • Paper-delivered test: Minimum score of 60 or better
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115 (Fall 2022 only)

    *Note: UC does not accept MyBest TOEFL; only the highest composite score from a single sitting is allowed.

 

Keep in mind: A UC campus may require a score higher than the minimum for admission selection. And, some campuses may request an interview to determine English skills during the application review process.

How do I send my scores to UC?

Self-report your English proficiency scores in the UC application. If you are offered admission, send your scores after admission only to the campus where you intend to enroll.

We strongly recommend that you take the test as early as possible, because your score may be a factor in whether or not we're able to admit you.

Information about these exams is available at most U.S. consulates and overseas U.S. educational advising offices, as well as by mail and online:

TOEFL Services
P. O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 USA
E-mail: toefl@ets.org
Web: www.toefl.org

IELTS International
E-mail: stakeholders@ieltsusa.org
Web: www.ielts.org

Applying as a transfer student?

You can demonstrate English proficiency by completing the two UC-transferable English composition courses required for transfer admission and receiving at least a “C” or “B” grade/mark, depending on the campuses you’re applying to. If you do so, you are not required to submit IELTS/TOEFL exam scores.

You are considered proficient if:

  • You’re applying to Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside or Santa Barbara and received grades/marks of “C” or higher in the English composition courses. 
  • You’re applying to UCLA, San Diego or Santa Cruz and received grades/marks of “B” or higher in the English composition courses.

Some campuses may request an interview to determine English skills during the application review process. Davis, UCLA and Santa Barbara may strongly recommend or require additional English proficiency testing for applicants admitted to their campuses. 

Keep in mind: UC does not accept English composition courses from international universities where English is not the language of instruction.

What if I didn’t earn the grades/marks the campuses require for English proficiency?

Depending on the campuses you’re applying to, you may need to take an English as a Second Language (ESL) class or an exam.

Each campus is different, so make sure to contact the campus admissions office for more information.