English Proficiency

All applicants are expected to read, speak and write fluently in English, in order to understand lectures, take examinations and participate in seminars and presentations. Applicants should be aware that UMES does not offer any program of English for non-native speakers of English to improve their proficiency.

Native speakers of English

Native speakers of English are defined as those who have received all of their education in the United States, United Kingdom, English-speaking Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Commonwealth Caribbean.

International applicants who are non-native speakers of English (English is not their first language or the language of instruction at all levels of schooling) must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic) test.

Graduate programs may request English Proficiency tests of non-immigrant visa holders and permanent resident applicants.


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is UMES preferred English Language proficiency exam. Because TOEFL is given at selective times a year throughout various parts of the world, as soon as applicants contemplate study at UMES, they should make arrangements to take the test. For TOEFL test information, go to www.ets.org/toefl.  

Standardized test scores are considered valid within a 24-month period of the examination.

The UMES institutional code for the TOEFL is 5400.

A copy of an applicant’s “Examinee’s Score Record” may be sent with the application for evaluation purposes only (Note that the data on this record will be verified with ETS).

The official score from ETS must be received for the applicant’s permanent file. Applicants found to be deficient in English and required to improve their English proficiency will do so at their own expense.

Minimum acceptable score for TOEFL and IELTS

The minimum acceptable score for TOEFL is 90 and the minimum acceptable score for IELTS Academic is 6.5.

Alternative Proof of English Proficiency

International applicants can also demonstrate proficiency in the English Language by providing evidence of equivalent official testing in the English language with an acceptable score such as Duolingo English Test.

Exemptions and Waivers

Possible exceptions may be made for non-native speakers who have successfully pursued full-time academic work leading to a postsecondary degree or diploma in an English-speaking country (see above), where English is the language of instruction.

The English Proficiency requirement is waived for an international student awarded a baccalaureate degree from UMES or a graduating senior at UMES who will have completed at least four years of undergraduate study at a US college or university.

Degree Credit

Any course(s) or exams taken for English Language proficiency purpose will not count for degree credit.

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