If your first language is not English, you must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

In response to the temporary closings of testing centers in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Graduate School will also accept Duolingo English Test examination results for the 2022-2023 application cycle as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS examinations. Only Duolingo English Test scores with subscores will be accepted. 

General ESL Scores

The Graduate School generally seeks scores no less than:

  • 577 for paper-based TOEFL
  • 90 for an Internet-based TOEFL
  • 7.0 for the IELTS Academic
  • 115 for the Duolingo English Test

Note: The average scores of our admitted students are above these levels.

How to Submit

An official copy of your score report must be sent to The Graduate School directly from the testing agency. 

Be sure to alert us if the name on your application is different from the name on your score report. You do not need to notify us about minor differences in spacing or hyphenation (such as "Juan Carlos" vs. "JuanCarlos" or "Jane Henry Doe" vs. "Jane Henry-Doe").


Ask Educational Testing Service to report scores to the Duke University Graduate School. Use institution code 5156. ETS will require you to select a department code. It does not matter which department code you choose. The Graduate School will receive the scores as long as you choose institution code 5156.

ETS only reports TOEFL scores for up to two years after the test date. If ETS refuses to report your score, you need to retake the TOEFL before submitting your application.


The IELTS Academic test is administered by Cambridge ESOL, British Council, and IDP: IELTS Australia. See www.ielts.org for more information. Please send scores via IELTS Results Service E-Delivery to:

Duke University Graduate School
Office of Admissions
2127 Campus Drive
Durham, NC 27708.

Duolingo English Test

There is no institutional code for Duolingo, but applicants will need to select “Duke University Graduate Programs: Graduate School; Divinity; Engineering; Environment; Public Policy; Duke Kunshan” at the "Graduate" program type level as the institution to send scores to. Please Note: Make sure to include subscores when you select your institution. Score reports without subscores will not be accepted. If you are not sure how to include subscores in your score report, please contact Duolingo English Test support on the Duolingo English Test website.

Score Requirements

  • Your score must not be more than two years old from August 1 of the application year. For example, if you submit your application between August 2022 and May 2023 to apply for Fall 2023 admission, your score report must be dated August 1, 2020 or later, regardless of when you submit your application during that period. 
  • We do not accept personal copies, attested copies, or notarized copies of test scores.

Additional Language Requirements for International Students

All admitted international students whose first language is not English are required to take placement exams conducted by the English for International Students program at the beginning of the term of matriculation, even if the TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test requirement is waived (see below). Depending on the exam results, students are either exempted from or placed into EIS courses

TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test Waiver Policy

To be eligible for a TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test waiver, you must have studied fulltime for two years or more at a college or university where the sole language of instruction is English and in a country where English is the primary spoken language. The two years of study must be completed prior to the start of the program.

If you believe you qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test waiver based on the above criteria, indicate your eligibility in the Additional Academic Information section of the application under the Test Score Instructions for the TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo English Test exam. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we will not examine, confirm the status of, or grant any waiver requests prior to extending an offer of admission.

Frequently asked questions about English language proficiency test scores