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English language proficiency

Standardized test requirements

Michigan State University is test optional, meaning we do not require the SAT or ACT for admission or scholarship consideration. However, we will still accept these test results for admission and scholarship consideration if you plan to submit them, and they can still be used to fulfill English Language Proficiency requirements. Learn more about test optional.

International applicants are still required to submit proof of English Language Proficiency. More information on accepted tests and required scores can be found below.

Students who plan to submit SAT or ACT scores should request that the testing agency send scores directly to Michigan State University. MSU’s TOEFL and SAT code is 1465; the ACT code is 2032.


Sending English language proficiency scores

Applicants may self-report most English language proficiency test scores in their application for admission. All updates after you submit your application must be sent through the testing agency, unless otherwise indicated in the test details below.

All admitted students using self-reported test scores for admission are required to submit official test scores prior to completing their enrollment at Michigan State University.


For tests impacted by the novel coronavirus

Due to cancellations of many international English language proficiency tests, MSU will be temporarily accepting the following tests for international students applying for fall semester 2022. In addition, MSU will be expanding the ability for students to receive provisional admission. If a provisionally admitted student is able to take a test that meets our regular admission standards prior to enrollment, we will update their admission status to regular.

Duolingo English Test

Affected applicants may take the Duolingo test online and request scores be sent directly to Michigan State University.

Regular admission: Score of 105 or higher
Provisional admission: Score of 95-100

IELTS Indicator

Regular admission: Score of 6.5 or higher
Provisional admission: Score of 6.0

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

Regular admission: Score of 79 with no subscore below 17
Provisional admission: Score of 60-78

Note: We do not accept the TOEFL MyBest Superscore


Minimum English requirements

International applicants whose first language is not English must meet one of the following language proficiency requirements for regular admission to Michigan State University. Students with acceptable academic credentials who do not meet language proficiency requirements may be admitted on provisional status with the scores indicated below. The following requirements pertain to undergraduate students only. Graduate applicants should consult MSU's Graduate School for minimum English language requirements.

TOEFL iBT

Regular admission: Score of 79 with no subscore below 17
Provisional admission: Score of 60-78

Note: We do not accept the TOEFL MyBest Superscore

IELTS

Regular admission: Score of 6.5 or higher
Provisional admission: Score of 6.0

SAT Exam

Regular admission: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score of 510 or higher on an exam in which the composite score is 1110 or higher

ACT Exam

Regular admission: subscore of 18 or higher on the English section on an exam in which the composite score is 23 or higher

Michigan State University English Language Test (MSUELT)

Regular admission: Average score of at least 80 with no subscore below 80, OR Average score of at least 85 with no subscore below 78
Provisional admission: Average score of 65-79

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

Regular admission (undergraduate): Minimum score of 53; minimum subscore requirement of 48
Provisional admission (undergraduate): Average overall score of at least 46

Three years of continuous high school attendance, starting in ninth grade, in the United States with a 3.0 or higher GPA and no English language learning classes on your transcript

Please note: To be considered proof of English language proficiency, official transcripts must be sent to us directly from your high school.

  • Completion of IGCSE exams with a B or higher (5 or higher for 1-9 scale) in English – First Language, English – Literature, or English – Literature in English.
  • Completion of GCSE exams with a score of 6 or higher in English Language and English Literature.
  • Completion of O-level exams with a B or higher in English Language.
  • Completion of AS- or A-level exams with a B or higher in English – Language, English – Literature, or English – Language and Literature.

Please note: To be considered proof of English language proficiency, certified official copies of the original exam results must be sent to us directly from your school or the testing agency. Results noted on the transcript are not sufficient.

Completion of Singapore O-level or A-level exams with a B or higher in English Language, English Literature, or Literature in English.

Please note: To be considered proof of English language proficiency, certified official copies of the original exam results must be sent to us directly from your school or the testing agency. Results noted on the transcript are not sufficient.

Completion of International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Higher or Standard Level exams with a 5 or higher in English A: Literature or English A: Language and Literature.

Please note: To be considered proof of English language proficiency, certified official copies of the original exam results must be sent to us directly from your school or the testing agency. Results noted on the transcript are not sufficient.

Students who were enrolled as degree-seeking students in U.S.-based institutions and meet the requirements below:

  • Students must have completed one full year of study at a U.S.-based university (28 credits), with a 3.0 or better in English composition/writing intensive courses and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Students must have earned a bachelors degree or higher from a U.S.-based university. 

Please note: To consider academics as proof of English language proficiency, official transcripts must be sent to us directly from your university. Additionally, students recently enrolled in English language learning courses will still be required to submit another form of English language proficiency. Please contact your MSU admissions counselor if you have questions.


Provisional admission

Provisionally admitted students must take the MSU English Language Test (MSUELT) upon arrival on campus to determine eligibility to enroll in academic courses. Students admitted provisionally will receive information about registering for the MSUELT prior to arriving at MSU. The results of the MSUELT will determine if you are able to enroll in:

  • Full-time academic courses
  • A combination of academic and English language courses
  • Full-time English language courses through MSU’s English Language Center

If MSU receives a new test score that fulfills the English proficiency requirement for an incoming provisionally admitted student prior to the start of the semester, MSU will change the student’s admission status from provisional to regular admission. If MSU has already issued an initial I-20 and the student subsequently meets the English Language proficiency based on a new test score, MSU will not issue a new I-20 until after the student arrives on campus.

Students remain at provisional status until attaining the minimum competency. As a provisionally admitted student, MSU will still classify you as an undergraduate student in your requested major preference; you will live on campus in residence halls with other MSU students and have full access to MSU facilities and support services.

For more information about arriving as a provisionally admitted student, visit the OISS website.


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