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

English language 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 three options when applying to Duquesne. Students will be able to:

  • submit a TOEFL or IELTS score (Duolingo English Test, PTE Academic scores also accepted for some, but not all, programs)*, or
  • submit with the application and have an approved English Testing Waiver, recognizing four years of secondary coursework taught in English at an accredited institution, or
  • take English language placement tests upon arrival to campus
  • For international students who participate in the ACCP program (through IPERC), Duquesne will accept the ACCP English Exam as proof of students' English ability. Learn more about the ACCP and IPERC.

These requirements will determine if you are:

  • ready for full-time academic study
  • ready for part-time academic study with additional support in English, or
  • ready for one or more semesters of ESL study 

Placement Testing for Undergraduate Students

Students with TOEFL or IELTS scores (Duolingo English Test or PTE Academic scores also accepted for some, but not all, programs) or an approved English language petition:

  • no testing upon arrival to campus
  • placed directly into appropriate coursework

Students with the following minimum scores will begin full-time academic study upon arrival:

  • TOEFL 70
  • IELTS 6.0
  • Duolingo English Test 95 (only accepted for some academic programs)
  • PTE Academic 48 (only accepted for some academic programs)
  • A score of 540 or higher on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section (only accepted for some academic programs)

Students without approved English language proficiency test scores:

  • students are tested on campus with Accuplacer exam and Writing Sample
  • placed into appropriate coursework upon completion

The cost of ESL courses is in addition to tuition for academic courses.

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 English language test 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; or
  • 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 an approved 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 an approved petition recognizing two years of graduate coursework taught in English at accredited institutions of higher education outside of the United States.

Students who are exempt will submit rationale for an English Proficiency Test Waiver during the application process under IELTS/TOEFL Waiver Request.

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

  • TOEFL (iBT) 80
  • IELTS 6.5**
  • Duolingo English Test 105

*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.

Please note:

  • 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 90 , IELTS 7.0 or Duolingo English Test 115. Prospective students should consult their Graduate and Professional program of choice to determine the particular admission requirements.
  • 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.
  • 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 of ESL courses and testing are not included in full-time graduate tuition costs.
  • Graduate assistantships require greater proficiency than the minimum general scores and certification of acceptable fluency.

International Teaching Assistant 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, students who have a first language other than English must have adequate proficiency in English to succeed in their studies. Therefore, graduate students must submit a minimum English proficiency score of 80 (iBT) or 6.5 (IELTS) if their native or primary language is not English. (See English Proficiency Requirements at https://www.duq.edu/admissions-and-aid/international/how-to-apply/english-proficiency-requirements) (Link Inactive)

For graduate students who have an instructional role (Teaching Assistant), Pennsylvania state law and Duquesne University policies require a Certification of Sufficient English Language Fluency for Teaching. All faculty and graduate students with instructional positions must meet this requirement at Duquesne.

To demonstrate appropriate language and presentation skills and obtain the Certification of Sufficient English Language Fluency for Teaching, international teaching assistants (ITAs) must take a speaking test and a teaching test upon arrival and before beginning any teaching assignment. The tests are scheduled during orientation week. The SPEAK test requirement is waived for international teaching assistants who have achieved a speaking subscore of 27 or higher on the TOEFL iBT or a speaking subscore of 7 on the IELTS if taken within one year of acceptance into graduate school.

SPEAK Test

25 minutes
Listen to questions and refer to visual information, then record oral responses.
Rated by two ESL faculty members using ETS rubric


Teaching Test

15 minutes
Prepare and present a mini-lesson, then answer questions.
Rated by representatives from the student's program, CTE, and ESL
ITAs are informed of results by their department within 2 - 3 days.

If the ITA does not obtain certification, they should consult with their department advisor to arrange for a modified assignment, seek support to develop their language and presentation skills in American academic English, and plan to re-take the tests in the following semester. The student may be required to take one or more ESL courses before or during the first teaching assignment.

Language support at Duquesne includes:
a) ESL Program courses such as ESL 349 ITA Seminar;
b) ESL Program activities for development of interactional proficiency;
c) CTE workshops;
d) Speech and Language Clinic for accent reduction.

Testing Fees
Speaking: $30.00
Teaching: Test No Fee