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English Proficiency Requirements

Department of Linguistics Test Score Requirements

Generally,  students who are not native speakers of English must submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Michigan Assessment Battery (MELAB).

Required for Admission

  • A  minimum score of 84 on the MELAB
  • A  minimum score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL
  • A  minimum score of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL
  • A  minimum score of 7.5 on the IELTS

Please note: These required scores are higher than the Rackham Graduate School's requirements for English proficiency exam scores, which are described here.


Both Rackham and the Linguistics Department will waive this requirement for students who have earned or will earn before matriculation a bachelor’s degree from a university where English is the primary language of instruction, as determined by the Rackham Graduate School. Students who believe the university from which they have a bachelor’s degree may qualify them for an exemption should email for confirmation.

Additionally, Rackham exempts students with certain graduate degrees, usually from a master’s program with extensive English-language instruction. The Linguistics Department, however, still requires students with such graduate degrees to submit test scores conforming to the minimums above, but will accept expired scores from up to four years before the application deadline, provided the graduate degree was also earned within the same period. If you believe you qualify for this exemption, please email to confirm and to discuss the next steps.