When applying for studies in schools abroad, one of the toughest hurdles to overcome for admission into a good university is the TOEFL or the IELTS exam requirement. Expectedly, many international students who are from non-English speaking backgrounds and have had very little training in the language, don’t possess the level of English proficiency to qualify the TOEFL or the IELTS tests. Additionally, these tests incur more costs to the already piling expenses a student has to pay for quality education.
What are TOEFL and IELTS?
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS ((International English Language Testing System) are tests designed to determine the speaking, reading and listening skills of the student in the English language. TOEFL is mostly used to get into American schools while IELTS is accepted by many schools in the United Kingdom.
A satisfactory score in these tests is the English language minimum entry requirement for admission into most universities in the world.
Almost every school has their own satisfactory TOEFL/IELTS score and almost every course in these schools requires a benchmark for international students’ qualification to study for that course.
So the question most of our readers struggle with is whether a TOEFL/IELTS score is absolutely necessary for admission into universities abroad. To this end, we say a big no.
While there are some abroad universities that don’t ask for TOEFL/IELTS test scores, others also grant admission to non-English speaking international students on the condition that they undertake other kinds of Proficiency Tests like the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).
Some universities in countries like China, Korea and Singapore offer candidates an optional (sometimes) foundation programme after admission to become fluent in the language used for the candidate’s choice of course.
Below is a list of countries with their universities that do not have a mandatory TOEFL/IELTS requirement.
***Advice: It is common to not see universities explicitly state that they don’t want a language test result(TOEFL/IELTS/PTE and others). It is always advisable to reach a university of choice via email or phone and personally ask whether they might be willing to waive the language test requirement.***
Find the list of countries in this order:
- EU Countries except UK
- United Kingdom (UK)
Interestingly, few schools in the US are known to exempt students from certain countries from presenting English proficiency test scores. International students whose national language is English often don’t need to take the TOEFL/IELTS. It now becomes important for students seeking admission into their choice schools to check the websites of the schools and generally research deeply about the schools before applying. Researching your school makes the admission process easier and less complicated.
These are some of the schools in the US that do not require TOEFL/IELTS on certain conditions
1) University of Colorado: International students applying to the University of Colorado are required to meet a minimum standard of English proficiency except a) the student’s native language is English b) the applying student has completed at least one year of full-time academic study at a U.S. institution. However, countries like Botswana, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria are exempted from this arrangement. Students from these countries are NOT required to have TOEFL OR IELTS scores.
2) California State University: The California State University is a public university system in California. For admission in this university, international students need not produce a TOEFL/IELTS score if they have attended secondary school or/and graduate school with English as their medium of instruction. There are also a few countries for whose students they have waived the minimum English requirement.
2) Drexel University: Drexel University is a private research university with campuses in Philadelphia and California. Drexel University has two conditional admission programs i.e. University Preparation Summer Program (UPREP) and Bridge Program for international students who don’t meet the language requirement.
3) State University of New York: The State University of New York is a public university system in Albany, New York. The university grants admission to international students provided they undertake the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).
4) University of Iowa: The University of Iowa is a public research university based in Iowa City, Iowa. The university grants admission to students who are eligible but do not meet the English proficiency requirement.
5) University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas is a public research university located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Eligible international students need not produce TOEFL/IELTS scores; instead they must undertake the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).
6) University of Dayton: The University of Dayton is a private Roman Catholic national research university based in Dayton, Ohio. The university grants conditional admission to international students who are eligible but do not meet the university’s language requirement. They are required to undertake the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).
7) University of Delaware: The University of Delaware is a public university located in Delaware. The university will accept international students who are admissible except for English proficiency.
8) University of New Orleans: The University of New Orleans is a public urban university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, US. The university offers conditional admission for international students with secondary education or degrees from certain countries.
University of Belize: Belize is the only country in Central America whose official language is English. The University of Belize and a few other universities in Belize do not require TOEFL/IELTS from students coming from English-speaking countries. The higher institution has a selective admission policy which is based on students’ past academic record and grades. Other proof of proficiency in English language may be provided apart from TOEFL/IELTS.
Brock University, Carleton University, University of Winnipeg, University of Regina, Memorial University, Concordia University.
Many universities in Canada do not require TOEFL/IELTS for admission. Essentially, students who have lived and attended school, for at least four years, in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language do not need to submit additional proof of proficiency. International students are usually required to have well above-average academic records, SAT/GRE scores and other university-specific requirements appropriate to the program they wish to pursue.
Canadian universities realise that students who have completed their degrees from a recognized educational institution and have received their instructions in English often show a good degree of English knowledge – be it reading, writing or speaking skills. Hence, they felt it made sense to do away with the requirement of an English language proficiency test like the IELTS that has a minimum score requirement of 6.0, to make it easy for students to apply for higher education in Canada.
EU COUNTRIES EXCEPT UK
Getting admission to the top universities or colleges in Europe without an English proficiency score will require international students to fulfill some criteria before they are exempted from providing these scores. A student showing some proficiency in English language can prove his eligibility by proving:
- One has been educated in English medium during the five most recent years of study and has offered English as a first language at the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) or O level (Ordinary Level).
- He/she has been able to prove that prior education was entirely conducted in English and that they have good communication skills. Usually, the school conducts interviews with the student via Skype or telephone to verify the student’s proficiency.
- Applying to study in the same institution where the first degree was awarded.
- Having a degree which has been taught solely in English.
Few schools in European countries such as Norway, Holland and Germany are known to offer the privilege of applying without IELTS.
University of Oslo: At the University of Oslo, only students from South Africa in Africa are overlooked in the English language requirement. Other students from Africa may be asked for TOEFL/IELTS scores. However, international students are required to check the requirements of their courses in the desired university before they apply as they may be lucky to find some courses that are free from TOEFL/IELTS requirements.
College admission requirements in German Universities vary between universities. Usually students do not need a TOEFL or IELTS if they hold a bachelor’s degree with English as language of instruction or if their mother tongue is English. Some, universities just require letter from the student’s college to verify English Language Proficiency. There are specific language requirements for admission to different programs in Universities like Freie Universität Berlin. As a result,while some courses do not require English language proficiency, others do. The requirements for courses in English Philology for example, are met only if the language test is passed. Students are required to check the requirements of their courses in the desired university before they apply as they may be lucky to find some courses that are free from TOEFL/IELTS requirements.
Inholland University: Inholland University of Applied Sciences in Holland notably accepts students from South Africa who wish to study in the University without IELTS or TOEFL. Students from other countries may be required to present evidence of English proficiency because these countries are generally classed as non-english speaking countries.
UNITED KINGDOM (UK)
University of Bristol, The University of Bolton, London SouthBank University, Robert Gordon University etc.
Countries like Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa enjoy robust attention from the above listed universities and many more (Request for information from your desired school about their English requirements. This is certainly the best way to go about your admission process). The result is that the entry requirements for students of these countries do not often require IELTS/TOEFL. However, different courses/programmes need different levels of language skills. These language skills can be referred to as ‘profiles’. The profile for an international student’s chosen course/ career may need English, country-preference or not.
Malaysian University and colleges are world wide recognized. Malaysia is considered as the top most country in Asia after Singapore to study and also the 11th most-preferred study destination. Malaysia has excellent Government Universities like University of Malaya, University Sans Malaysia etc. It also has campuses of many top Universities across the globe like: Monash and Swinburne (Australia), Nottingham and Lancaster Campus (UK) etc. There is no compulsory requirement of English test for studying Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD courses in multi-ethnic Malaysia. The medium of Instruction in over 80% of Malaysian Universities is English. As a result of this, students who come from certified English-speaking countries are not required to present TOEFL/IELTS scores wen applying for admission into Malaysian universities.
India has traditionally been seen as a country that sends rather than receives international students, but a growing number of students from elsewhere are now choosing to study in India. There are thousands of colleges and universities in India to choose from, of many different types, sizes, specializations and origins, some state-run, others private. Amongst the thousand universities, University of Delhi, the University of Mumbai, the University of Calcutta and Banaras Hindu University are some of the popular universities, Africans troop into for quality education and guess what? These universities do not require English language proficiency for their Undergraduate, Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral taught courses. The teaching language at most Indian universities is English especially in management, scientific and technical subjects
Most international students in India do not have to take entrance tests but will receive preferential treatment. Generally, interested students are required to present a higher education entrance qualification. Students will be accepted to a university on the basis of their higher education entrance qualification. In return the students have to pay higher fees, which explains the special treatment.
The need for IELTS/TOEFL scores as an admisssion requirement in Indian universities is absent for now.
Universities in Australia occasionally overlook the need of TOEFL/IELTS scores if the student’s secondary school language of instruction was English, or if they have completed few years of studies in an English speaking country. Also, certain graduate universities may admit students without a TOEL/IELTS score if authorities from their undergraduate university can certify that their medium of instruction was English.
Here are a few Universities that may admit students without TOEFL/IELTS
1) Swinburne University of Technology: In Swinburne University of Technology, international students don’t need to have IELTS/TOEFL scores provided they study English at the Swinburne English Language Centre, or if they have had English as their language of instruction in their previous education. The university offers undergraduate and graduate courses in Business Administration and Management, Technology, Science, Marketing, Commerce, Accounting, etc.
2) The University of Queensland: International students without an IELTS/TOEFL score may be admitted if they have completed full-time course where they had English as their medium of instruction, or if they have worked in an English-speaking professional environment for a minimum of 5 years.
3) The University of Adelaide: The University admits international students without the level of English required only if they complete a Pre-enrolment English Program (PEP) successfully before the beginning of their course. This is an ideal option for international students without the appropriate English training. The University arranges the PEP to be undertaken at the English Language Centre in Adelaide.
4) The University of New South Wales: The University of New South Wales takes in students who fail to meet the minimum standard requirement; hence they are very selective with their international students’ conditional applications
5) The University of Southern Queensland: The University doesn’t require an IELTS/TOEFL score for consideration, instead a high/secondary school or college completion with English as medium of instruction. The University website also suggests undertaking the USQ pathways program for admission to the university.
6) Bond University: The University offers various alternatives to the IELTS/TOEFL tests such as CAE, PTE. The university also admits international students who have completed their secondary education in an institution where the medium of instruction is English.
8) Macquarie University: The University may conditionally give its eligible international students without an IELTS/TOEFL scores an English preparation program at the Macquarie University English Language Centre.