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English Language Proficiency Test Scores

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). While the average ESL scores are above the levels listed below, 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

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 sent 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").

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 2019 and May 2020, your score report must be dated August 1, 2017, 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, even if the TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived (see below). Depending on the exam results, students are either exempted from or placed into EIS courses

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 the start of the program.

If you believe you qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS 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 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