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Additional Required Application Materials for International Students

English Proficiency Requirements:

This section is for all students whose native language is not English, which includes permanent residents of the United States (green card). You may check to see if you are exempt from this requirement based on your country of citizenship. Please be sure to carefully read the admissions requirement.

Update: In response to the temporary closings of testing centers in countries impacted by COVID-19, the Graduate College will temporarily accept Duolingo English Test examination results for tests taken between February 1, 2020 and August 1, 2021. Please refer to the Graduate College English Proficiency Requirements page for further details.

  • International applicants whose native language is not English must meet the English Proficiency Requirements for admission for the University of Illinois. Note: Applicants to the online CS degree programs must satisfy requirements for "Full Status Admission."

  • International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL testing for admissions only if, within five years of the proposed term of enrollment, he or she has completed at least two academic years of full-time study as defined by the home institution, or completed a graduate degree in a country where English is the primary language and in a school where English is the primary language of instruction.

  • All TOEFL test scores should be reported through ETS to Institution Code 1836. A Department code is not needed, however, if one is required, please use “78”.  ( You may upload a scanned PDF copy of the full official score report to your application as "supplemental material" until official scores are received.)

Additional Information for Online MCS and MCS-DS Applicants

MCS-DS applicants whose native language is not English and who do not qualify for an English proficiency exemption as described by the University of Illinois Graduate College will be considered for a waiver if they meet BOTH of the following criteria:

  • Applicant is currently employed in a country where English is the primary language, as identified on this list.

  • Applicant has a minimum of two years of continuous past employment record in a country (or countries) on the list above.

Eligible applicants will be required to submit supporting documentation, sent to the department directly by their employer(s). Documentation indicating the period(s) of employment and location must be sent directly to online-mcs@cs.illinois.edu. If such documentation cannot be provided, applicants must meet the Graduate College English proficiency requirement before the admission process can be finalized. To strengthen their application, these applicants are generally encouraged to submit official scores.

Financial Aid Considerations for On-campus Applicants

If you have applied to a graduate program (MS in CS, PhD in CS) where departmental financial aid is offered, please note the following:

  • To be eligible for any departmental financial aid, you must submit valid (less than two years old at start of classes) TOEFL iBT or IELTS speak scores regardless of eligibility of waiver for admission requirements.  If currently working on an academic degree in the US or a country whose official native language is English (not medium of instruction), this requirement supersedes the waiver of the TOEFL by the university.
  • This requirement is regardless of naturalized U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Non-submission of these scores will restrict the department from giving full financial aid considerations.
  • To receive a teaching assistantship, you must meet the requirements detailed here: Proficiency Requirements for Teaching Assistantships.  A passing score on the TOEFL iBT (spoken portion of the exam only) is 24/30. And, a passing score on the IELTS (on the spoken portion of the exam only) is 8.
  • SPEAK scores taken on a US campus other than Illinois are not eligible to fulfill the teaching assistantship requirement at Illinois. The department has no authority to waive this requirement. A passing score does not guarantee an assistantship offer.
  • Applicants that meet the requirements for teaching assistantships are given preference for admissions, but those with lower speak scores may still be eligible for a research assistantship (RA). Applicants with TOEFL iBT speak scores below 22 have a low chance of admission.

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