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. Undergraduate applicants (except Nursing) and some graduate applicants will be considered for conditional admission if they apply without adequate proof of ELP. You may meet the ELP requirement via any of the options listed below. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the International Admissions website.

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 university minimum scores listed above apply to all undergraduate programs, with the exception of Nursing. Please visit the College of Nursing website 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 English Test takers: We are aware of the additional subscores of Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening and will continue to use the integrated subscore minimums as indicated above.

4. Coursework Completion

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

Undergraduate Admission (First-Year and Transfer)

  • Earn a high school diploma in the United States, with 1+ year of study in the US and college-prep English coursework
  • Earn a high school credential (comparable to a US high school diploma) in any of the exempt countries listed above
  • Earn a high school credential (comparable to a US high school diploma) at an exempt country-accredited school located in a non-exempt country
  • Earn a high school credential from an English-medium education system which International Admissions recognizes as proof of ELP; see the International Admissions website for details

Additional Options for Transfer Admission

  • Earn an associate or bachelor degree in the United States
  • Earn a post-secondary credential (comparable to a US associate or bachelor degree) in any of the exempt countries listed above
  • Earn a post-secondary credential (comparable to a US associate or bachelor degree) at an exempt country-accredited institution located in a non-exempt country
  • Complete the GTPathway at a Colorado community college
  • Earn 24 or more transferable semester credits at an accredited institution in the US, and:
    • Earn an overall college-level GPA of 2.7/4.0 or higher, or
    • Earn a final grade of B- or higher in English Composition 1, or equivalent, or a higher English composition course

5. Additional Tests for Undergraduate English Language Proficiency

International applicants to undergraduate programs (except Nursing) may also use the following test scores as proof of ELP. International Admissions must receive the official score report in order to use these tests for ELP.

Test Required Score
- English 18 or higher
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 480 or higher
Advanced Placement (AP):
- English Literature and Composition 3 or higher
International Baccalaureate (IB):
- English A Literature (HL or SL) 4 or higher
- English A Language and Literature (HL or SL)
General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-Level:
- English Literature E or higher
- English Language
General Certificate of Education (GCE) AS-Level:
- English Language E or higher

6. LynxDirect Pathway Program

International undergraduate applicants to undergraduate programs who do not meet any of the English Language Proficiency requirements listed above will be considered for admission to the LynxDirect pathway program in the CU Denver ESL Academy. The English Language Proficiency requirement for LynxDirect admission is as follows:

Test/Option Minimum Required Score (Overall)
IELTS Academic 6.0
Duolingo English Test 95
CU Denver ESL Academy Successful Completion of Level 4