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Temporary Provisions during COVID-19 Pandemic


Testing centers providing English proficiency examinations world-wide have been temporarily closed or otherwise affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The testing agencies that offer the English proficiency exams that the Graduate School typically accepts have recently implemented alternative testing solutions. 

The following English proficiency tests are currently available and with the assistance of the Applied Linguistics department, minimum acceptable test scores have been identified for admission to the Graduate School at Penn State.


This guidance applies to policy GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students.


Effective immediately, the following English proficiency tests will be temporarily accepted in addition to those normally accepted as listed on the Graduate School’s website under Requirements for Graduate Admission. Acceptable scores for standard admission as well as provisional admission are also stated.

  • TOEFL iBT @Home
    • Available everywhere that the TOEFL iBT was available except mainland China and Iran.
    • Acceptable scores
      • Standard Admission: A total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section.
      • Provisional admission: Speaking scores between 15 and 18.  Additional ESL coursework will be required upon enrollment for those with provisional admission.
  • TOEFL ITP Plus for China
    • Available in mainland China only.
    • Acceptable scores
      • Standard Admission: A score of 627 or higher.
      • Provisional admission:   A score between 543-626.  Additional assessment by Penn State’s English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center (EPPIC) and ESL coursework will be required for those with provisional admission.
  • IELTS Indicator
    • Available everywhere that the IELTS was available except Mainland China and Iran.
    • Acceptable scores:
      • Standard Admission: A score of 6.5 or higher.

Effective: May 29, 2020

Duration: This exception is available until standard testing in available in the applicant’s home country.

Questions about applicants from Iran needing to demonstrate English proficiency should be directed to Sue Ake (, Lead Admissions Enrollment Coordinator in Graduate Enrollment Services.

General questions should be directed to Michael Verderame, Senior Associate Dean (