Proficiency in English
Graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh must possess sufficient proficiency in English in order to understand lectures, participate successfully in class discussion, and, 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.
INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS MUST SUBMIT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY EXAMS WITH THEIR APPLICATION, EXCEPT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY RECEIVED A DEGREE FROM A REGIONALLY ACCREDITED INSTITUTION IN THE UNITED STATES OR ANY OTHER ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY:
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*.
DUOLINGO ENGLISH TEST
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.
- TOEFL/IELTS Score Submission: An official copy of the test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the Office of Administration. Personal copies are not acceptable, nor are "attested" or notarized copies. It is important that you call to our attention any discrepancies that may exist between your name as reported on your application and as recorded on your TOEFL scores.
The institutional code for the University of Pittsburgh is 2927 and the department code for the School of Engineering is 69.
For further information on the TOEFL, contact:
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6541 USA
Make sure to take the TOEFL in time for the official score to be reported to the Swanson School of Engineering by the deadline.
- Duolingo Score Submission: Once you receive certified test results, you can log into your Duolingo account, click on the “Send Results” button next to your test results, and select “University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering” to receive your results. You can select as many institutions as you like and add more institutions later. We will not receive your scores until this step is taken.
*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.
Admission and Enrollment
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 with English as 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 exempt from taking the additional test of English language proficiency by the student’s academic department.