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). The scores will be a decisive factor during the application review process. The Graduate School only admits applicants who have one of the following minimum scores (some departments may require a higher score):
- 577 for paper-based TOEFL
- 90 for an Internet-based TOEFL
- 7.0 for the IELTS
How to Submit
An official copy must be sent to The Graduate School directly from the testing agency.
TOEFL: 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.
IELTS: The IELTS is administered by Cambridge ESOL, British Council, and IDP: IELTS Australia. See www.ielts.org for more information. Official IELTS scores must be mailed by the testing agency directly to the address on the Contact Admissions page.
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").
- 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 2016 and January 2017, your score report must be dated August 1, 2014, or later.
- 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. Depending on the exam results, students are either exempted from or placed into EIS courses. All courses that a student places into are degree requirements.
TOEFL/IELTS Waiver Policy
To be eligible for a TOEFL/IELTS 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 application submission.
If you believe you qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS waiver based on the above criteria, upload a written request for the waiver in the Additional Information section of your online application. In your request, be sure to state where you completed the two-year study requirement. 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.
Keep in mind that any admitted international student whose first language is not English must take oral and written English placement exams conducted by the English for International Students program at the beginning of the term of matriculation. This is required regardless of whether a TOEFL/IELTS waiver is granted.
NOTE: We strongly encourage all applicants whose first language is not English to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS test before applying to The Graduate School, even if they meet the TOEFL/IELTS waiver criteria. The exam results can provide vital information to an applicant and The Graduate School regarding the strength of an applicant’s academic English skills. In addition, many graduate departments and programs consider TOEFL and IELTS scores a critical factor during the application review process. Contact your department or program of interest to determine how or whether TOEFL and IELTS scores factor into their application review.