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Undergraduate Admissions

Proof of English Proficiency

Proof of English Proficiency for Undergraduate Students

Applicants for whom English is not a first/native language must demonstrate English Proficiency regardless of English language studies, academic history, residence in the United States or other English-speaking countries, or immigration status.

Seattle University maintains the right to require English Proficiency testing when deemed necessary. The most recent demonstration of English Proficiency (i.e. test scores or course work, as per the policies described below) will be counted toward the English Proficiency requirement, regardless of whether previous scores are higher. Following the submission of English Proficiency score reports, requests for testing waivers will not be considered.

Exam Options

English proficiency may be met with the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

The chart below outlines the English proficiency requirements for general admission as well as admission to the ECLB program. The TOEFL exam has two different grading scales. The paper based TOEFL is still available with scores ranging from 310-677. For more information on what the TOEFL consists of and a list of official testing centers visit the ETS web site. Both score requirements are listed below.

 Required to Participate in
ELCB*
Exempt from English Language
and Culture Bridge
TOEFL   68 - 91 iBT or 520 - 579 PBT 92 iBT or 580 PBT
IELTS 6.0 - 6.5 7.0
ELS Complete Level 112 with 3.0 GPA N/A
PTE 48 - 62 63
SAT (up to 2015) N/A 450+ in critical reading and writing
SAT (2016+)   500 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
ACT N/A 20+ in both reading and English

*Transfer students required to complete the ELCB program to meet English proficiency requirements are not eligible for merit awards. 

Nursing applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate English proficiency at non-ELCB level (meaning 92 on the iBT or 7.0 on the IELTS). Exceptions below may apply.

Students with TOEFL scores in the ELCB range will take a placement essay test upon arrival at Seattle University. Some students may have their ELCB requirement waived based upon the results of the placement essay test.

Seattle University TOEFL Exam

Seattle University offers paper-based TOEFL exams throughout the year for SU applicants. Results from the Seattle U Institutional TOEFL test will only be recognized at SU. Before registering for the TOEFL, please refer to the pilot program below to understand if the TOEFL test is necessary.

Next Available SU TOEFL date:     Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time:     9:00 AM, registration begins at 8:45 AM
Location:     Seattle University Pigott Building, Room 309
Duration:      Three hours
Cost:  $50.00 (non-refundable)

To make a reservation, contact Valerie Niemiec at niemiev@seattleu.edu or (206) 296-5802.

Applicants from Select Community Colleges (Pilot Program) - Beginning Summer 2017

Seattle University is currently conducting a pilot program that allows for students who are enrolled in a Direct Transfer program (AA or AS-DTA) to use college-level English composition I and 2 to satisfy English proficiency. To meet this requirement, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete college-level English composition I and II with a 3.0 or higher (B),
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher,
  • Be enrolled in a Direct Transfer Program (AA or AS-DTA) at Bellevue College, Edmonds College, Green River College, North Seattle College, Seattle Central College or Shoreline Community College.

The Pilot Program will begin for students applying for Summer 2017 and beyond. Seattle University reserves the ability to require English proficiency testing should it be deemed necessary.

ELS Language Centers

ELS Language Center (US centers only) students who have completed level 112 with a 3.0 grade point average are considered to have the equivalent TOEFL score of 68/520 and will be considered for the undergraduate English Language Learning Center. For more information on the ELS program visit the English Language Learning Center website, or you can contact the Seattle center directly at (206) 623-1481; sea@els.edu

Seattle University Intensive English Program (IEP)

Students with English Proficiency scores below the minimum for SU admission consideration have the opportunity to take Intensive English courses through Seattle University's Intensive English Program. 

University of Washington Intensive English Program (UW-IEP)

Students who complete the University of Washington Intensive English Program (UW-IEP) the University Track with grades of a 3.0 or higher will be considered as having satisfied English proficiency at Seattle University. English assessment will still be required at Seattle University for proper course-level placement, but no TOEFL or IELTS is necessary. For more information visit the UW-IEP web site, or you can call or email them directly at (206) 543-6242; uwelp@pce.uw.edu.

Additional Options to Meet English Proficiency Requirements

  • First-year applicants who complete their entire high school curriculum in the United States, parts of Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or at American schools abroad, may have the English Proficiency requirement waived if their transcript does not include any ESL course work and the high school cumulative grade point average and four years of English composition/literature average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Transfer applicants from U.S. colleges who meet the same criteria as first-year applicants above may have the English Proficiency requirement.
  • Post-baccalaureate applicants who have earned a bachelor or advanced degree at Seattle University or at a recognized college or university in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia, and who have continued to reside in countries where English is the primary language for at least two years prior to submission of the application, will be considered to have met the English Proficiency requirement.