TGS English Proficiency Requirement
The Graduate School has established a minimum level of spoken English proficiency that graduate students must achieve before becoming eligible for funding as a graduate or teaching assistant. To fulfill TGS’s English proficiency requirement, students must demonstrate the required level of proficiency on a recognized assessment.
Students who satisfy any one of the criteria below fulfill TGS’s English proficiency requirement. Score thresholds have been selected to correlate across exam formats; please contact us with any questions about interpreting test scores.
|Assessment Name||Passing Score|
|TOEFL iBT*||26 or higher on Speaking Section|
|IELTS*||8 or higher on Speaking Section|
|Versant English Test**||65 or higher
63 or 64 on two separate Versant tests
|SPEAK Test||50 or higher|
|Teaching Demonstration Assessment||Earned score of Provisional Pass or Pass|
*Only valid TOEFL iBT and IELTS scores count towards fulfillment of requirement. TOEFL iBT and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years after the test date. Other standardized test scores, such as TOEFL pBT, PTE, etc. are not accepted.
** Only Versant/SPEAK test scores from Versant and SPEAK tests administered at Northwestern University count toward fulfillment of TGS’s English proficiency requirement.
English Proficiency Test Schedule
|Assessment Name||Assessment Offerings||Eligibility Requirements|
|Versant English Test||September||New and continuing students who have not yet fulfilled proficiency requirement|
|February||New and continuing students who have not yet fulfilled proficiency requirement|
|SPEAK Test||November||Continuing students who have not yet fulfilled proficiency requirement and who are nominated by their department|
|May||Continuing students who have not yet fulfilled proficiency requirement and who are nominated by their department|
|Teaching Demonstration Assessment||August||Continuing students who have successfully completed LING 480: The Language of Teaching & Learning|
The Versant English Test is administered to entering students subject to The Graduate School’s English Proficiency Requirement as a way to identify students who may need additional language support during their graduate careers. International PhD and MFA students who have not already fulfilled The Graduate School’s English proficiency requirement are required to take the Versant English Test during the first test period after they arrive on campus. Based on their scores, certain students will be required to participate in the Integrated Academic Skills curriculum. Students are required to re-take the Versant test approximately every 6 months until they fulfill TGS’s English Proficiency Requirement.
For questions about testing policies and procedures, please contact Dr. Erin Leddon.