ARCHIVED CATALOG: Visit to view the 2023-2024 General Catalog.

UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Admission of International Students and Permanent Residents

Other Pages In Graduate Admission

International students and permanent residents are governed by the same general admission regulations as those which govern United States citizens. For information and special assistance, students are encouraged to contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at (805) 893-2929. Web site:

English language requirements for nonnative speakers. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. Exceptions to this requirement will be considered for those students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose primary language of instruction is English. The minimum score for consideration is 550 when taking the paper-based TOEFL, or 80 when taking the internet-based test; some departments require a higher score. Applicants must make arrangements to take the TOEFL directly with ETS ( Scores should be reported to UCSB using institution code 4835. TOEFL scores must be no more than two years old at the time of application submission. UCSB also considers a minimal score of 7 on the IELTS as an alternative to the TOEFL. IELTS scores must be no more than two years old at the time of application submission.  UCSB does not admit students conditionally in order to learn English prior to beginning an academic program—an excellent command of written and spoken English is required prior to enrollment.

Once admitted, nonnative speakers of English must meet proficiency requirements in spoken and written English before they will be awarded a degree at UCSB. Such requirements are met through successful performance on the English Language Placement Examination (ELPE), and, if necessary, English for Multilingual Students (EMS) classes.  Prior to the beginning of their first quarter of registration at UCSB, nonnative speakers of English are required to take both the written and oral portions of the ELPE.  Nonnative speakers of English who have completed all four years of their undergraduate degree (equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree) at an institution recognized by UCSB as one of English medium instruction are exempt from both the written and oral portions of the ELPE.  Nonnative speakers of English will be notified of their ELPE exempt or non-exempt status prior to the exam.  Based upon the results of this exam, students will be either placed in or exempted from EMS courses. Students for whom the TOEFL requirement has been waived may still be required to take the ELPE. Students visiting UCSB under the Education Abroad Program (EAP) and non-degree reciprocity status are exempt from taking the ELPE; if they later apply for admission to a graduate program to seek a master’s degree or doctorate, they must take the ELPE at that time. If EAP or non-degree reciprocity status students wish to take an EMS course, they must first take the ELPE for placement purposes.

Teaching Assistant (TA) language evaluations. All students for whom English is not their native language are required to have their spoken English evaluated before they can be certified for classroom or laboratory teaching responsibilities. Prospective TAs must take this exam even if they are exempted from the ELPE. Prospective TAs who do not pass the TA language evaluation on their first attempt are required to take EMS classes before they can be reevaluated. TA language evaluations are conducted jointly by the academic departments and the EMS Program.