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English Proficiency

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Evidence of adequate English proficiency must be submitted before enrollment is approved by Graduate Admissions. International students enrolled at Stanford must be able to read English with ease, understand rapid idiomatic English as used in lectures and group discussions, and express thoughts quickly and clearly in spoken and written English.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. For detailed information, see the TOEFL information in Required Exams.

English Language Proficiency Program

Stanford University offers a six-week Intensive English and Academic Orientation Program in the summer for students who plan to begin graduate study in the autumn quarter. 

Stanford English Placement Test

The English for Foreign Students Office administers an English placement test at the beginning of each quarter. This test may be a required condition of admission for students whose native language is not English.

  • The test assesses the ability to understand, speak, and write American English with particular emphasis on active speaking and writing.
  • Results are evaluated in terms of the students’ intended academic programs at Stanford and the University’s requirements for that program.
  • The results of the test determine whether students will be required to take courses in English in addition to their academic courses.
  • Completion of a degree program may be lengthened if the English courses are required.
  • Students who hold teaching assistantships or who are enrolled in a PhD program that has a teaching requirement will be evaluated in a separate test for oral communication in English.
  • A special English course for teaching assistantships is available for students who are found to need additional language training before beginning their teaching assignments.