English Proficiency Requirements for Non-Native Speakers of English

Students are expected to read, write, and speak English. They are also expected to comprehend the spoken language. Applicants whose first or primary language is not English must demonstrate proficiency prior to matriculation.

To be considered for admission, an applicant must present a passing score for either the TOEFL or IELTS tests. Students who fail to meet this requirement cannot be admitted and must enroll in a course at the Intensive English Center (IEC) and achieve satisfactory grades before admission to graduate study. Students who have taken either of these tests more than two years ago must retake the test.

A minimum score of 550 (paper)/213 (computer)/90(internet) is considered passing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who take the Internet-based TOEFL must score a 22 or above on all sub-sections (Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking) to be considered for admission.

All doctoral students and master’s students who are awarded a teaching assistantship must have a Test for Spoken English (TSE) or Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) score of 55 or better or an Internet-based TOEFL Speaking score of 29 or above. The TSE and TOEFL IBT are administered at centers throughout the world several times each year; applicants should forward their scores directly to the Graduate School (the Stony Brook code is 2548). The SPEAK test is administered at Stony Brook University during Orientation for all students who have not taken these particular language proficiency exams. Further information is available by contacting the Education Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA, or at www.toefl.org. Students who take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests instead of the TOEFL are not required to take the TSE. A score of 7 will be considered passing. Further information is available by visiting the IELTS Web site at www.ielts.org.

Performance in the IEC and on the SPEAK test will determine whether a student will be cleared or assigned to an ESL (English as a Second Language) course.