International Applicants

The Social Sciences Quad in early fall

In addition to the requirements articulated in the Admissions section, international applicants should also consider the following admission requirements regarding the English language requirement and visas:

English Language Requirements

Applicants to the Division of the Social Sciences and the University of Chicago who do not meet the criteria below must submit proof of English language proficiency. The score level required for admission varies by program. Only the TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic tests are accepted as proof of proficiency.

Waiver Criteria

English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood; or you were enrolled for at least one academic year in full-time status in a course of study at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories within the past ten years: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States.

Education in English-medium institutions in other countries or territories does not qualify for the exemption.

Acceptable Tests

In order to meet the proof of proficiency requirement, students may submit either:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (iBT) or
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic – Note: applicants are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test.
  • Any other proficiency tests, exams, equivalent coursework, certificate/certifications, endorsement from faculty, and/or other measurement other than the TOEFL or IELTS are not accepted.

Score Requirements

  • For programs in the Social Sciences except the PhD in Economics: Minimum requirements for the TOEFL iBT: no less than 25 in each of the four sections.
  • For the PhD in Economics: Minimum requirements for the TOEFL iBT: no less than a total score of 90.
  • Minimum required scores in the IELTS for all programs in the Social Sciences: overall score of 7, with sub scores of 7 in each section.
  • Note: Applicants must meet our minimum requirements in one test administration. We do not superscore or accept TOEFL MyBest scores.

Please see the UChicagoGRAD Proof of English Proficiency webpage for more detail about this policy.


The process to be issued official documents for the purpose of obtaining a visa to study at the University of Chicago does not begin until after you have been offered admission and accepted that offer. Any documents required for this process should not be sent until you have received the informational email sent from the Office of Admission following acceptance of the offer of admission.

Primary contact for I-20 / DS-2019 application issues is the SSD Admission Office

Please also visit the Office of International Affairs website for more information.