All incoming international students whose first language is not English, are required to take an on-campus English Proficiency Evaluation upon arrival unless they meet any of the exceptions listed below. A $120 fee for the evaluation will be added to the first university bill.

This requirement assures that incoming students know English well enough to study, understand lectures, and participate in class discussions without being hindered by a language barrier. There are additional requirements for graduate students who plan to become teaching assistants, listed below.

    More Information about the English Proficiency Evaluation

How the English Proficiency Evaluation is Used

The results of the English Proficiency Evaluation will determine whether admitted students will be:


International and other applicants whose first language is not English do not need to take the English Proficiency Evaluation if they have a score of:

  • 600 or higher on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or
  • 100 or higher on the Internet-based test
  • 8.0 or higher overall score on IELTS

English Requirements for Teaching Assistants

Graduate students with teaching assistantships at Iowa are required to complete the English Speaking Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) to assess their command of spoken English. Students who perform at an acceptable level on the ESPA are also required to take the English Language Performance Test (ELPT), in which a presentation is made to an audience.

The ESPA and the ELPT are separate from the English Proficiency Evaluation, which also may be required. Affected students will receive more information about these exams from their academic departments. Research assistants are not required to take these tests.