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English language requirements

We expect international students to know English well enough to:

  • comprehend oral lectures
  • participate in discussions
  • read textbooks with full comprehension
  • write effectively in English

International students are required to take either the Test of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam1.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Every applicant whose native language is not English is required to take the TOEFL. Your TOEFL score cannot be more than two years old. For the paper-based written test, our minimum TOEFL score requirement is 500, with no part score lower than 50. For the Internet-based test, our minimum TOEFL score requirement is 61, with no part score lower than 15. Many departments have higher requirements.

TOEFL scores can be requested from the Educational Testing Services. Our institution code is 006875.

Undergraduate Academic Division Minimum total TOEFL score
  Paper-based Internet-based
College of Arts and Science 500 61
College of Agriculture 500 61
College of Business and Public Administration 550 79
College of Education 600 100
College of Engineering 500 61
School of Health Professions 600 100
College of Human Environmental Sciences 500 61
School of Journalism 600 100
School of Natural Resources 500 61
School of Nursing 600 100

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

All international students admitted to MU undergraduate programs are required to take an English proficiency test administered by the English Language Support Program (ELSP). Plan to arrive on campus a few days before regular registration to take the ELSP test. Even if you have been admitted based on your TOEFL or IELTS scores, your English ability will be re-evaluated.

If your ELSP score is satisfactory, you’ll be permitted to begin full-time academic enrollment immediately. If the score is not satisfactory, you will be required to enroll in ELSP courses along with a reduced academic course load. You must pass these courses within the first two semesters of enrollment.

Undergraduate Academic Division IELTS
  Overall No band below
College of Arts and Science 6.5 6.0
College of Agriculture 6.5 6.0
College of Business and Public Administration 6.5 6.0
College of Education 7.0 6.5
College of Engineering 6.5 6.0
School of Health Professions 7.0 6.5
College of Human Environmental Sciences 6.5 6.0
School of Journalism 7.0 6.5
School of Natural Resources 6.5 6.0
School of Nursing 7.0 6.5

The Intensive English Program

MU offers a full-time Intensive English Program (IEP) for any student who cannot meet minimum language requirements for admission to U.S. colleges or universities, or for any student who wishes to study English as a second language.

MU admission decisions consider a student's complete academic record, including performance in the university's Intensive English Program (IEP). IEP students who 1) are conditionally admitted by the University of Missouri or 2) are applying for MU undergraduate admission must successfully complete their term and all required exams. IEP students may submit an outside English proficiency exam score (TOEFL iBT and IELTS) for MU admission purposes, but an outside English proficiency exam score must be turned in along with the IEP verification of language readiness for academic work.

1Students applying to transfer to the University of Missouri from a US accredited college or university operating in a non-English speaking country will be required to submit an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL or IELTS) that meets the requirements of the program to which they are applying. The students' GPA will be figured by the Office of International Admissions and this will include performance in English coursework. If the student is admitted, all transfer courses, minus any English courses, will be posted to the student's myZou account.

Upon arrival on campus the student will take the English Language Exam (ELE) with MU’s Center for English Language Learning. If the student's performance on the ELE exam is such that they are cleared for all academic coursework, International Admissions will transfer in their English courses, provided they have grades equivalent to a C or higher.

If the student is required to take English Language Support Program (ELSP) coursework in order to enroll at MU, they will not receive transfer credit for their English courses from their previous institution. The student would then need to complete ELSP coursework successfully as well as MU's ENGL 1000 and any other English courses as required by their degree program.