FAQs: English Proficiency


Which English proficiency exam scores will USC accept if English is not my native language?

All first-year and transfer international applicants whose native language is not English must submit a TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic score. International first-year applicants with minimum scores of 600 on the SAT Critical Reading or 27 on the ACT English are exempt from taking the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic. Scores should be recent, earned within two years of your application date.

What is the English proficiency requirement at USC?

Academic success at USC depends on your ability to communicate effectively in English. All international applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency in the following manner:

  • First-year applicants must submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores; or SAT or ACT scores.
  • Transfer applicants must submit TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores.

First-year and transfer applicants whose native language is English are presumed to be proficient. This includes applicants from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec) where English is both the first language of the country and the language of instruction. Applicants with minimum scores of 100 on TOEFL iBT (with at least 20 in each section), 600 on SAT Critical Reading, or 27 on ACT English are presumed to be proficient.

For those who do not demonstrate English proficiency, USC requires the International Student Exam (ISE) upon admission and prior to registration. The results on the ISE determine whether or not a student must enroll in English language courses at the American Language Institute (ALI) at USC.

More information about USC's International Student Examination
More information about USC's American Language Institute (ALI)