International applicants who have completed their postsecondary education outside the U.S. are expected to hold a degree, with above average scholarship, from a university or university-level institution. If their examinations have been graded Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Pass, applicants must have at least a Very Good general rating to qualify for admission.
Applicants who hold a three-year Bologna degree may be considered for admission on the recommendation of the department, program, or professional school. Applicants who hold a three-year ordinary or pass degree — or who hold a professional diploma in accounting, business, librarianship, social work, physical education, health education, and so forth — or a four-year degree, diploma, or higher certificate from a technical, vocational, or postsecondary specialized school should not apply for graduate admission. Persons with memberships in professional associations such as an Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, and so forth, do not qualify for graduate admission unless they also hold recognized university-level degrees or titles.
Applicants should submit transcripts of record, in the original language and with an English translation certified by the institution, for all college and university work. Applicants who are officially offered admission must submit official academic records before the term of admission begins. The original of an academic record that cannot be replaced must not be sent; a properly certified copy should be sent instead. Specific information for applicants from different educational systems is available from required academic records.
Proficiency in English
Most international applicants to UCLA graduate school are required to submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. International students who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university located in the U.S. or in another country (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) in which English is both the primary spoken language of daily life and the medium of instruction, or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, are exempt from this requirement.
Applicants who are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores (i.e., do not belong to the exempted categories listed) may also be required to take the UCLA English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE) to determine potential coursework in academic writing. Incoming students who score at least 100 on the TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test) or at least 7.5 overall band score on the IELTS examination are exempt from the ESLPE requirement.
Students who are required to take the ESLPE must do so before or during their first term at UCLA. Failure to do so results in a hold on student records. Students may take the ESLPE once only. Unauthorized retakes of the examination result in an invalid examination score. Depending on ESLPE results, students may be required to complete one or more courses in the English as a Second Language (ESL) credit-bearing series, beginning in their first term in residence at UCLA. The courses must be passed with a grade of C or better if taken for a letter grade, or B or better if taken on an S/U basis. Taking required ESL courses may prolong students’ time to degree. If students do not achieve a minimum score on the ESLPE, their admission is deferred until they have acquired the necessary proficiency in English.
Nonnative English-speaking international graduate students who plan to work as teaching assistants (TAs) are required to take the Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP), which is administered by the Office of Instructional Development (OID). Those who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution are exempt. Students who do not plan to work as teaching assistants do not need to take the TOP.
For students who receive a clear pass (7.1 or above) on the TOP, no coursework is required. Students who receive a marginal pass (between 6.4 and 7.0) are required to take an approved oral skills course either before or during their first term as teaching assistants. Students scoring 6.3 or below are not eligible to become teaching assistants and are encouraged to complete recommended ESL coursework before taking the TOP examination again.
No other oral examination is accepted. Entering graduate students who plan to work as teaching assistants in their first term at UCLA must arrive early enough to take the TOP before instruction begins. The examination schedule and other information about TOP are available on the OID TOP page.