English Proficiency Requirements

Duquesne University is committed to helping international students and teaching assistants achieve academic success. Since English is the language of instruction at Duquesne University, accepted undergraduate and graduate students whose first language is other than English should read the following information carefully to understand the University's English language policies.

Undergraduate English Proficiency Guidelines

TOEFL or IELTS test scores are not required for admission to undergraduate programs, but strongly encouraged. Your application is evaluated based on your academic performance in your educational system at home, and not your English ability. This system allows you to be accepted to a degree program even if you need English support before you begin a full-time academic study.

Undergraduate applicants have two options when applying to Duquesne:

  • You can submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, or
  • You can take English language placement tests when you arrive at Duquesne.  

These tests will determine if:

  • you are ready for full-time academic study
  • you are ready for part-time academic study with additional support in English, (see information on Gateway Program), or
  • you need one or more semesters of ESL study (see information on Gateway program). 

The cost of ESL courses is in addition to tuition for academic courses. Click here to view the cost of ESL courses.

All students whose home language is not English must be cleared by the ESL Program before registering for classes.

Placement Testing for Undergraduate Students

Students WITH TOEFL or IELTS scores: No testing upon arrival to campus; placed directly into appropriate coursework. Students with TOEFL iBT of 70 or above or IELTS of 6.0 will begin full-time academic study upon arrival. 

Students WITHOUT TOEFL or IELTS scores: Students are tested on campus with Accuplacer exam and Writing Sample; placed into appropriate coursework upon completion. 

Graduate English Proficiency Guidelines

Duquesne University requires submission of standardized English proficiency scores for graduate applicants whose native or primary language is not English. Some applicants, however, may be exempt from TOEFL or IELTS requirements and/or English language testing if they have:

  • completed four years of undergraduate coursework taught in English at accredited institutions of higher education in the United States; 
  • completed two years of graduate coursework taught in English at accredited institutions of higher education in the United States; or
  • submitted with the application and have approved a petition* recognizing four years of undergraduate work taught in English at an accredited institution outside of the United States; or
  • submitted with the application and have approved a petition recognizing two years of graduate coursework taught in English at accredited institutions of higher education outside of the United States.

The University requires the following minimum scores for general admission consideration:

TOEFL (iBT) - 80
IELTS - 6.5*

Scores current to within one year are considered reliable for evaluation.
*Duquesne's Rangos School will consider 6.0 for applicants in the China Linkage Program only.

Some academic programs require higher general scores and/or sub scores (in Reading, Writing, Speaking, and/or Listening). The Palumbo-Donahue School of Business, for example, requires a minimum TOEFL of 90 or IELTS of 7.0. Prospective students should consult their program of choice to determine the particular admission requirements. Click here for information about Graduate and Professional Programs

Applicants who have not met the required minimum English proficiency scores established by the academic program may be considered for admission to a Pathway Program, if applicable. This entails additional cost. Click here for information about the Pathway Program

Notwithstanding or in addition to the above, supplementary academic support may be required for students following admission into a graduate program. In such cases, graduate programs should refer students to the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program to determine if there is a need for English support to facilitate academic success. Such academic support may include additional testing, enrollment in the appropriate type and number of ESL courses, or both. Additional testing may include the Writing Placement Test, the Speak Test, or ACCUPLACER. Costs for ESL courses and testing are not included in full-time graduate tuition costs. Click here to view the cost of ESL courses

Graduate assistantships require greater proficiency than the minimum general scores and certification of acceptable fluency. Click here for information about assistantship requirements