Graduate students must possess sufficient proficiency in English to enable them to understand lectures, to participate successfully in class discussion, and, in general, to be able to study without being hindered by language problems. Students who have been appointed as teaching assistants (TAs) or teaching fellows (TFs) and who are not native speakers of English are required to take an English Fluency Test to evaluate their spoken English upon arrival at the University of Pittsburgh. Individuals who do not achieve a passing score on the test may be given non-teaching assignments and are required to take special course work until they obtain a passing score. An unsatisfactory score at the time of TA or TF appointment is sufficient cause under University policy not to renew a teaching assistantship or teaching fellowship. The University offers intensive English courses through our English Language Institute.
Students may submit official results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) but all international applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from whichever English Language Proficiency exam they take. Official test results must be sent directly to the university.
It is the policy of the University of Pittsburgh to admit only those students with a TOEFL score of at least 80 for the Internet-based test, 213 on the computer-based version or 550 on the paper-based test; or Band 6.5 on the IELTS (taking the academic writing and reading modules of the test). The minimum may vary in some departments*.
In recognition of the TOEFL/IELTS’s physical and financial
constraints experienced by many of our international applicants, the University
of Pittsburgh will now accept the Duolingo English Test in lieu of the TOEFL or
IELTS. The Duolingo English test is an online English proficiency test which is
convenient and affordable as it can be taken online, on demand, in under an
hour for $49. The test is taken online via a computer with a webcam and
microphone. The test includes a proficiency score, video interview, and writing
sample which are shared with Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering when you send
your results. Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test
session. Minimum acceptable score follows our TOEFL and IELTS minimums and is 105*. For more information, please visit Duolingo’s website.
Scores submitted must not be more than two years old.
*The minimum score requirements listed above for the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo are the minimums for the University of Pittsburgh, your selected department may have higher requirements. Please visit your department's page for more information.
Prior to completion of
registration, entering engineering graduate students with TOEFL scores of less
than 100 on the iBT or 120 Duolingo English Test Scores (or equivalent) must
take an additional test of English language proficiency administered by the
English Language Institute (ELI). International students who are citizens of
countries where English is the official language, international students who
have completed degrees at regionally accredited institutions in the U.S., and
international students who have results on the TOEFL above 100 on the iBT or
120 Duolingo English Test Scores (or equivalent) may be exempted from taking
the additional test of English language proficiency by the student’s academic