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International: English Language Proficiency

For All Applicants

Applicants must demonstrate strong abilities in reading, writing, comprehension and verbal communication in the English language. English proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways*: 

1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):

  • Internet-based test: Score of 80 or better 
  • Paper-based test (completed prior to October 2017): Score of 550 or better 
  • Revised paper-delivered test (completed in October 2017 or later): Score of 60 or better 
  • For more information, visit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)


2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination (academic modules):


3. Duolingo English Test (DET):

* The UC will not accept English proficiency test scores that are more than 2 years old. 


First Year Applicants With Mixed Records

First year applicants with mixed records can demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways:

  • Score of 24 or better on the combined ACT English/Writing or English Language Arts


  • Score of 560 or better on the Writing section of the SAT Reasoning test, or a score of 31 or higher on Writing and Language in the SAT with Essay


  • Score of 3, 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) examination in English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition


  • Score of 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard Level examination in English: Literature, or Language and Literature


  • Score 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level examination in English: Literature, or Language and Literature

When you take the language proficiency test, please arrange to have an official score report forwarded by the testing agency to University of California, Merced, Office of Admissions, 5200 N. Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343-5603.

Language exam results must be received in the UC Merced, Office of Admissions no later than January, if you are applying for the fall term.

Transfer Applicants

Transfer students can demonstrate English proficiency by completing one UC-transferable college course (3 semester or 4-5 quarter units) in English composition with a grade of C or better at an accredited U.S. college or university.

Note: UC Merced does not accept English composition courses from international universities where the language of instruction is not English.