Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr Google Plus
OU Home  >  ESL Center  >  Policies and Procedures  >  English Proficiency Policy
English Proficiency Policy
International applicants, other visa holders, permanent residents, and exchange students whose native language* is not English must provide proof of English proficiency.

One of the following constitutes proof:

1. TOEFL
  • 550 minimum on paper-based TOEFL**
  • 213 minimum on computer-based TOEFL**
  • 79 minimum on Internet-based TOEFL**
2. MELAB 
  • 77 minimum
3. IELTS
  • 6.5 minimum
4. 24 transferable credits, excluding ESL coursework, from a U.S. community college or baccalaureate institution.

5. A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university

6. One year of study at and a diploma from a U.S. high school

** Some programs at Oakland University may require a higher level of proficiency than listed above. Applicants should examine the program description for their field of study for information about additional English proficiency requirements and furnish proof as part of the admission process.

Admission with ESL coursework

Oakland University offers admission to non-native English speakers in a number of  undergraduate programs for those students who are academically qualified, but who have not met the English language proficiency requirement. These students may be conditionally admitted and are required to enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes until proficiency is met.

One of the following constitutes proof:

1. TOEFL
  • 520-549 on paper-based TOEFL
  • 190-212 on computer-based TOEFL
  • 69-78 on internet-based TOEFL
2. MELAB
  • 73-76
3. IELTS
  • 6

ESL placement is done by the ESL Center using the Institutional TOEFL and other assessment tools. Upon completion of the individualized ESL instruction sequence, students' English proficiency will be evaluated using the Institutional TOEFL. 


Admission to the Intensive English program (ESL Institute)
Prospective students who do not have adequate English proficiency for admission or admission with ESL coursework to the university can be admitted to the Intensive English program. ESL placement is done by the ESL Center using the Institutional TOEFL and other assessment tools. Upon completion of the individualized ESL instruction sequence, students' English proficiency will be evaluated using the Institutional TOEFL to determine whether additional ESL coursework is necessary to achieve English proficiency. The individualized ESL instruction sequence designed by the Center is not negotiable.

Upon completion of the Intensive English program, students may (re)apply for admission to Oakland University; applicants are evaluated using the admission criteria described above.

*A native language is a language that is acquired naturally during childhood and is usually spoken at home, as opposed to a language that is learned later in life, for example, as part of a person's formal education. Students whose native language is not English are encouraged to visit the ESL Center to discuss any language difficulties they may have while attending Oakland University.



AcademicsUndergraduate AdmissionsGraduate AdmissionsOnline ProgramsSchool of MedicineProfessional & Continuing EducationHousingFinancial Aid & ScholarshipsTuitionAbout OUCurrent Student ResourcesAcademic DepartmentsAcademic AdvisingEmergenciesFinancial ServicesGeneral EducationGet InvolvedGraduate StudiesGraduation & CommencementKresge LibraryOU BookstoreRegistrationAthleticsGive to OUGrizzlinkAlumni EngagementCommunity ResourcesDepartment of Music, Theatre & DanceMeadow Brook HallMeadow Brook TheatreOU Art GalleryPawley InstituteGolf and Learning CenterRecreation CenterUniversity Human ResourcesAdministrationCenter for Excellence in Teaching & LearningInstitutional Research & AssessmentInformation TechnologyReport a Behavioral ConcernTrainingAcademic Human Resources
Oakland University | 2200 N. Squirrel Road, Rochester, Michigan 48309-4401 | (248) 370-2100 | Contact OU | OU-Macomb
Coordinate map of Auburn Hills Entrance