MARCH 20, 2020

TOEFL Requirements for Colleges and Universities

When it comes to college admissions in the US and other English speaking countries, each will require certain guidelines to be met by incoming applicants. In the US, many students are required to have a specific ACT or SAT score. So what about the TOEFL? Do colleges and universities also have standard requirements for this too? The answer is yes. 

It is a prerequisite that has to be met in order for international students to gain admission to any English speaking college, university or program.

The precise TOEFL score you will need for admissions will rely intensely on where you choose to study. Below find what TOEFL scores are good scores for various universities and colleges. We will also list out various colleges and university TOEFL requirements in the US and the UK. However, these are not the only countries that offer English speaking undergraduate and graduate degrees. For more information, you can check out other country’s universities TOEFL scores requirements in Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and certain EU countries as well. To help you plan for your TOEFL score goals, we will show you how to find the minimum TOEFL score requirements, recommended TOEFL scores and how to set your TOEFL goal score.

What is a good TOEFL score for Colleges and Universities?

Any TOEFL score that meets the basic TOEFL requirements for the place you wish to study at is a good TOEFL score. The main objective is getting a TOEFL score that meets either the minimum TOEFL score or higher. In case you are applying to multiple universities or colleges, then at that point you ought to set your objective score to meet the basic TOEFL requirements of all your college or university choices. Essentially, a score that meets the highest TOEFL score requirement out of all your school choices. 

When it comes to universities and colleges, their minimum TOEFL scores can vary significantly. The highly competitive and prestigious universities often require a TOEFL score of 100 or higher. Whereas other colleges and universities require TOEFL scores in the range of 60 all the way to the 80-90. Some colleges and universities don’t require any TOEFL scores for either specific programs or all programs offered. 

So you are probably wondering “What TOEFL score do I need to get then?”. Well, don’t stress we got you covered. This guide offers you a short compiled list of major colleges and universities along with their TOEFL score requirements.

US colleges and universities TOEFL score requirements

Among the list are TOEFL score requirements for admission into graduate and undergraduate programs. But before we get to the list there are a few things you will need to know first so that you can understand the list. Not all colleges or universities are strict about their TOEFL score requirements. Some colleges and universities will offer conditional admissions. This means you will possibly be required to take extra courses in ESL (English as a Second Language).

However, the more competitive universities may reject your admissions application if you don’t meet their minimum TOEFL score requirement. Many individual graduate programs will have their own TOEFL score requirements. Some of these programs may require you to have a higher TOEFL score than what the university or college requires. The most readily accepted TOEFL scores are from the digital version of the test and not the paper version. Don’t worry! Most international students meet this basic requirement since the digital version of the TOEFL is the most commonly administered form of the test.


Here are some of the top US universities that are the most popular among international students:


School ranking

Undergraduate TOEFL score requirement

Graduate TOEFL score requirement

Babson College




Harvey Mudd College



Not available 

Claremont McKenna College



Not available

Carnegie Mellon University 



Scores vary per program, but it is usually 84

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


90 (100 and higher is recommended for competitiveness)

Scores vary per program, but it is usually 90

Columbia University



Scores vary per program, but it is usually 100

Boston University 


90 (100 and higher is recommended for competitiveness)

Reading: 21 Listening: 18 

Speaking: 23

Writing: 22

Rhode Island School of Design 


93 (100 and higher recommended for competitiveness)

Scores vary per program but usually 90

University of Pennsylvania


100; recommended for competitiveness

Scores vary per program

Bryn Mawr College




New York University


100; recommended for competitiveness

Scores vary per program 

Bentley University 


90 (100 and higher is recommended for competitiveness)


Cooper Union




Princeton University




University of California, Berkeley



Scores vary per program

Rice University




Mount Holyoke College



Not available

University of Southern California



90-100 recommended

University of Tulsa




California Institute of Technology




Brown University




Georgetown University 



80-100;  Scores vary per program

Stanford University 


TOEFL not required

89-100; Scores vary per program

Harvard University 


TOEFL not required

Scores vary per program

Cornell University


100; recommended for competitiveness

Reading: 20

Listening: 15

Speaking: 22

Writing: 20

Georgia Institute of Technology




University of Rochester


100; recommended for competitiveness is 107+

Scores vary per program

New School


92-100; scores vary per program

92-100; Scores vary per program

Emory University



Scores vary per program

Brandeis University



100; Scores vary per program

University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign


None; Average entrance scores are between 102 -110

79 for conditional/ limited admissions

102+ for full admissions

Illinois Institute of Technology



70-90; Scores vary per program

Yale University


100;Recommended for competitiveness

Scores vary per program

University of California, San Diego


83; Recommended for competitiveness


Duke University



90-100; Scores vary per program

Worcester Polytechnic Institute



Not available

Grinnell College 


None; Average entrance scores are between 104-112

Not available

Johns Hopkins University 


Reading: 26

Listening: 26

Speaking: 25

Writing: 22

Scores vary per program

Swarthmore College


None; TOEFL not required

Not available

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


88; With a minimum of 20 in each section

Not available

Pomona College



Not available

University of Chicago


100; Recommended for competitiveness

90-104; Scores vary per program

University of Washington


76; Recommended score for competitiveness 92+ 

Scores vary per program

University of Notre Dame 


80; Minimum score for speaking is 23

Not available

University of California, Irvine


Writing: 25

Speaking: 24

Reading: 21

Listening: 17

Not available

University of California, Los Angeles 


100+; Recommended for competitiveness


Amherst College



Not available

Dartmouth College



Scores vary per program

Carleton College




Lehigh University 




Top UK Universities TOEFL score requirements

Many colleges and universities in the UK may not affect the TOEFL and instead will require you to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). However, there are universities and colleges in the UK that do accept the TOEFL for their admissions.

Here is a list of some of the universities and colleges that accept the TOEFL.


Undergraduate TOEFL score requirement

Graduate TOEFL score requirement

University of Cambridge

100; with a minimum score of 25 in each section

Not available; contact admissions office for further details

University of Oxford

100; A recommended score of 110+ for competitiveness

100; A recommended score of 110+ for competitiveness

University of Derby

88; with a minimum of 17 in Writing & Listening; 18 in Reading; Speaking 20


University of Stirling



Hult International Business School

Not available; contact admissions office for further details 


University of East Anglia



Manchester Metropolitan University

79; with these minimum scores – Listening: 17

Reading: 18 

Speaking: 20

Writing: 17


University of Leeds

87; with these minimum scores – Listening: 20

Reading: 20

Speaking: 22

Writing: 21


For a full list, you can check online here. There are many universities in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland that are partnered with UK universities and colleges. However, these colleges may not accept TOEFL and instead either require no TOEFL scores or IELTS scores for admissions.

Understanding the difference: Requirement vs. Recommended TOEFL scores

Various colleges and universities often offer a minimum TOEFL score for their admissions applications. Some colleges will offer recommended TOEFL scores to help students determine a good TOEFL score for competitiveness. Students who can achieve the recommended score or higher will often take precedence over lower scoring students. This means if you can score the recommended TOEFL score or higher, your chances of being accepted by the university or college goes up.

For those who meet the minimum score requirement, this means you have a chance of getting into that college but you may be overlooked by someone with a higher TOEFL score. If the rest of your admissions application is good then you still have a decent chance of getting into a few colleges of your choice.  

How to find TOEFL score requirements for your college or university choices

It is extremely important for students to do all their research when choosing which schools to file an admissions application with. You need to look up not only the university’s minimum TOEFL score but also their recommended scores and whether or not they require a specific score for each section of the TOEFL. Sometimes you will have to contact the university in order for you to get their TOEFL score requirements and other information. Universities and colleges often have different TOEFL score requirements depending on what type of program or degree you are getting. If you are looking to enter any university’s programs you will need to know what they require for admittance.

Undergraduate programs

Typically colleges and universities give a minimum and/or recommended TOEFL scores that qualify for all of the college’s undergraduate programs. To simplify your search ETS offers students a database of all universities and colleges that accept TOEFL scores. You can search by location or by school here.

This database provides required TOEFL scores for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Some colleges and universities will require you to contact them first for TOEFL score information details.

Graduate programs

Many graduate programs for both master’s and doctoral degrees will have their own preset TOEFL score requirements. They will also often have recommended TOEFL score requirements since these programs tend to be far more competitive. You will often see that a specific graduate program will often require a higher TOEFL score than the one set by the university or college. You can search by location or by school here.


How to set a TOEFL score goal

When it comes to getting into a college or university of your choice you want to make sure you have a good TOEFL score. Any TOEFL score that meets the basic and/or recommended TOEFL score requirements of your university or college of choice is a good TOEFL score.

But for those who are still unsure of how to determine their score goal, we give you these three simple steps:

1.) Make yourself a chart

To help find the highest TOEFL score out of your university choices, you can start with a chart.

This will give you a good visual of what TOEFL scores you will need to gain admissions into either an undergraduate or graduate program. In the notes section make sure to give any details surrounding specific TOEFL section score requirements, degree programs, financial aid, and other important details that the school can offer you.

An example of what your chart can look like;


Your ranking of schools *

TOEFL score required

Minimum TOEFL score


TOEFL score



2.) Find your college or university TOEFL score information online

There are many online resources out there that can help you easily find information for required TOEFL scores, recommended TOEFL scores, and more. Universities often list score requirements on their international student’s section or may require you to contact their admissions office for details. Remember graduate programs may require different TOEFL scores than undergraduate programs.

3.) Determine your TOEFL score goal

Out of your list of schools, pick the school that has the highest required TOEFL score. This score will be your TOEFL score goal. This is so you can have a chance at getting into all of your school choices.

Final thoughts

All in all, almost every college and university has a set TOEFL score requirement. If you are hoping to study abroad in other English speaking countries outside of the US, then you will need to make sure they accept TOEFL scores. Many UK universities are switching to IELTS, but Canada and Australia will still accept TOEFL scores from international students.

Remember as long as you have a TOEFL score that meets most, if not, all your potential college admissions requirements then you will have a high chance of success in your admissions.

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