Strong English skills are necessary in order to be successful in an academically rigorous classroom environment and the experiential learning programs that Northeastern offers. All students, regardless of citizenship, must demonstrate English language proficiency when applying. You can meet Northeastern’s English Proficiency Requirement if:
- English is your native language.
- You have lived, and studied, at a high school, college or university for 4 consecutive academic years, in the United States or another majority native English speaking country.
- You submit, along with your application, official test results directly from the testing agency for one of the following English language proficiency tests:
Official results must be submitted by the application deadline. If a student plans to submit their application and then take an exam for a second, or third time, applicants must indicate planned future test dates on their application, to inform the Admissions Committee of any pending test results.
Northeastern’s Admissions Committee will consider not only your overall composite score, but also your individual subsection scores, to confirm your proficiency across all four language skills, which are needed to be successful at Northeastern. Our most competitive applicants will frequently achieve composite scores between: 99 and 107 on the TOEFL iBT, 7.0 and 8.0 on the IELTS Academic, 68 to 74 on the PTE Academic, and 185 to 204 on the Cambridge English Scale. All applications are fully evaluated and considered for admission.
- Applicants who would benefit from additional language study and support prior to beginning the full-time undergraduate program at Northeastern could be offered admission through N.U. Immerse, a one-year transitional, acculturation program. Upon successful completion of N.U. Immerse,you will be prepared to fully matriculate into your chosen degree program of study.
- Applicants who wish to provide additional evidence of their English proficiency are permitted to submit results from the Duolingo English Test. Results are considered to be an optional supplement, and do not replace English language proficiency testing such as the TOEFL or IELTS.
Northeastern’s Admissions Committee reserves the right to request proof of English language proficiency from any applicant, regardless of citizenship or first language, at any time during the evaluation process.
Waiving the English Proficiency Requirement
If, prior to enrolling at Northeastern, you will have completed 4 consecutive years in a high school or university where academic English was the language of instruction for all courses (excluding foreign language acquisition courses), you may be eligible for a waiver, provided you have also demonstrated strength in your English language, literature and composition courses, and can provide Northeastern with either final or predicted results from externally assessed examinations, such as:
- AP English Language & Composition -OR- English Literature & Composition
- IB English A: Language & Literature (HL or SL)
- IB English A: Literature (HL or SL)
- IB English B (HL)
- GCE AS or A-Level English Language -OR- English Literature
- GCSE English Language -OR- English Literature
- GCE O-Level English Language
- International GCSE/IGCSE English A, English Language, English Literature, First Language English or Literature in English
Our Admissions Committee will typically waive the English Proficiency Requirement for the following scores: 4 or 5 on any AP exam; 6 or 7 on any IB English A exam, or 7 on any IB English B exam; B and above on any GCE AS or A-Level exam; and, 6 and above (or B and above) on any (I)GCSE or GCE O-Level exam. Furthermore, the Admissions Committee will also review your academic records and high school transcripts, focusing on your academic performance, as assessed by your internal marks and promotional or preliminary examinations, in courses which are discussion-based and writing-intensive.
- If you are predicted to achieve the required score, please read the “Predicted Grades” section.
- If you did not achieve or are not predicted to achieve the required score, you can still submit your waiver request, but are encouraged to submit English language testing.
- If you studied in a curriculum other than the AP, IB or British curricula, you may still be eligible for a waiver, and should submit your request through the same process. Students most successful in receiving a waiver will provide predicted or final results from any externally assessed English language, literature, or composition examinations, with grades equivalent to American As or high Bs.
- If you were enrolled in ESL courses for more than one year during the last four years you are not eligible for a waiver of this requirement.
You can submit your waiver request through the App Status Check at any time, following the submission and processing of your application. Your request will only be reviewed by the Admissions Committee after we receive your academic records. If a waiver is approved, your application requirements will be updated in the App Status Check.
Northeastern does not offer alumni or on-campus interviews, but non-native English speaking students are permitted to submit third-party, unscripted video interviews, which allow you to personally discuss your academic and personal background. Northeastern will consider and evaluate video interviews submitted through InitialView, Vericant, or the video interview from the Duolingo English Test. Please note: none will replace English language proficiency testing, when required.
Applicants should complete their interviews by November 15 for Early Decision I, December 1 for Early Action, January 15 for Early Decision II, and February 1 for Regular Decision.