2024-2025 Academic Catalog

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Proof of English Language Proficiency

International applicants to CU Denver must provide proof of English language proficiency (ELP) in order to be considered for full admission. Some graduate programs will consider international applicants for conditional admission if they apply without adequate proof of ELP. Contact International Admissions if you have questions about ELP or conditional admission.

You may meet the ELP requirement via any of the options listed below.

1. Citizenship Exemption

International applicants holding citizenship from the following countries do not need to prove their English language proficiency for admission to CU Denver. This list is based on the United Kingdom government’s list of countries exempt from proving English ability when applying for a UK student visa.

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis
  • Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • United Kingdom

2. ESL Academy

International applicants may meet the English language proficiency requirement for any program of study at CU Denver by successfully completing every class in level 5 at CU Denver’s ESL Academy.

3. English Language Proficiency Tests

CU Denver accepts the following tests as proof of English language proficiency.

Minimum Score Requirements

Test TOEFL iBT IELTS Academic PTE Academic Duolingo English Test
Overall Score 79 6.5 58 105
- Reading 8 5.5 42 Literacy: 85
- Listening 7 5.5 42 Conversation: 85
- Speaking 18 5.5 42 Comprehension: 85
- Writing 16 5.5 42 Production: 85


  • The scores listed above are the university minimum requirements. Some graduate programs require higher scores for admission. Please visit the website for your program of interest for more information.
  • CU Denver's TOEFL code is 4875. For all other tests, please search for or choose "University of Colorado Denver."
  • CU Denver accepts TOEFL MyBest scores and superscored IELTS scores.
  • For Duolingo Englist Test takers: We are aware of the addition of the Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening subscores and will continue to use the score minimums in the integrated subscores listed above.

4. Coursework Completion

International applicants who have completed the following coursework will be considered to have met the English language proficiency requirement.

  • The applicant has earned a bachelor degree in the United States; or has earned a post-secondary qualification, comparable to a US bachelor degree, in one of the exempt countries listed above; or has earned such a qualification at an institution accredited by an exempt country but located in a non-exempt country, or 
  • The applicant has completed 12 or more semester hours of coursework in a master or doctoral degree program in the United States with an overall GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher; or has completed a comparable amount of graduate coursework with a comparable GPA in one of the exempt countries listed above; or has completed such coursework at an institution accredited by an exempt country but located in a non-exempt country.

5. Exception for Certain Visa Types

If you are the primary holder of an employment-based US visa (e.g., H-1B), and you have lived in the US for at least one year, you are not required to provide proof of English language proficiency for admission.