English Proficiency Exams for Graduate Applicants

Additional requirements for graduate applicants who are non-native speakers of English.

English Proficiency Exams for Graduate Applicants

TOEFL/IELTS/DuoLingo Requirements:

All applicants whose native language is not English must provide a TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo score to be considered for admission to the University of Illinois School of Music unless they qualify for an exemption (see English Proficiency Requirement Exemptions below).

Official TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or DuoLingo score reports must be submitted by December 1st for full admission consideration. Scores reported after this date will be accepted, but we cannot guarantee full consideration for admission (or an audition, if applicable). Scores will not be accepted after February 1, 2025.

Proficiency Score Minimums and Other Important Information:

  • Test scores must be dated within two years of the beginning of the proposed admission term. Students applying for the Fall 2025 term should have their scores dated no sooner than August 25, 2023.
  • Official score reports must be submitted directly to the University from TOEFL/ETS (institution code 1836, department code 00) or IELTS.
  • ​Applicants whose native language is not English and who wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship must achieve a minimum score of 24 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT, or 8 on the IELTS. For more information, please see the English Proficiency Requirement for Graduate Teaching Assistants.

Minimum TOEFL score requirements:

  • ​Artist Diploma (AD): 79 iBT
  • ​Master of Music (MM), excluding MME and Musicology: 90 iBT
  • ​MME; MM Musicology; DMA; PhD: 96 iBT​

The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition will be accepted for the 2024-2025 application cycle.

Minimum IELTS score requirements:

  • ​Artist Diploma (AD): 6.5
  • Master of Music (MM), excluding MME and Musicology: 6.5
    • ​must have a score of 6 or higher in all sub-sections of the IELTS
  • ​MME; MM Musicology; DMA; PhD: 7
    • must have a score of 6.5 or higher in all sub-sections of the IELTS

Minimum DuoLingo score requirements:

The Duolingo English Test does not provide sub-score breakouts and cannot be used to satisfy the English proficiency requirement for teaching assistants 

  • ​Artist Diploma (AD): 110
  • ​Master of Music (MM), excluding MME and Musicology: 120
  • MME; MM Musicology; DMA; PhD: 125

English Proficiency Requirement Exemptions:

Non-native English-speaking applicants to the Master of Music, Master of Music Education, and Artist Diploma programs who hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree from an institution located in an approved country where English is the primary language and at which English is the primary language of instruction will be exempt from English proficiency examinations.

The University of Illinois School of Music will not waive the proficiency examination requirement for applicants to the DMA and PhD programs who earn only a master’s degree or performer’s certificate/artist’s diploma (and not also a bachelor’s) from an English-speaking institution.

Illinois Graduate Admissions recognizes the following countries as having English as the primary language: Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe.

Those applicants who wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship must take a proficiency examination, even if they qualify for the exemptions described above. The University of Illinois Graduate College requires international teaching assistants to show English proficiency; this is best demonstrated with a speaking section score of 24 or higher on the TOEFL, or a score of 8 or higher on the IELTS.

If you have any questions about the English proficiency requirements, please contact the Music Admissions Office

Materials required for the I-20:

These requirements must be met by May 15th. To avoid delays in processing your I-20, we recommend that all materials (including official bank statements and Declaration and Certification of Finances form) be submitted on or as close to the December 1st deadline date for all other items. If your materials are submitted in May, your I-20 will NOT be available until mid to late June. All applicants are responsible for the cost of shipment for their I-20s. The School of Music will be in contact with you to make arrangements.

The following materials should be uploaded to your University Application:

  • ​Declaration and Certification of Finances Form
  • Official Bank Statements (be sure to review acceptable forms of documentation)
  • Complete the International Student Verification Form through your application.
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