English Language Proficiency

We’ve recently received many questions about the English proficiency requirement for applicants who are not native speakers of English, especially since the new internet-based version of the TOEFL has now been introduced in most countries. We accept both the TOEFL and the IELTS examination as evidence of English language proficiency, and applicants who have completed at least one year of full-time academic study (not including ESL courses) in an accredited university in the US, UK, Australia, or English-speaking Canada are not required to provide TOEFL or IELTS courses. The TOEFL is not waived for countries in which the official language is not English (including India, Pakistan, and Israel) even though the language of instruction in some universities in these countries may be English.

The TOEFL or IELTS examination must have been taken within the past two years to be valid, and Berkeley uses June 1st to determine the validity. In other words, examinations taken before June 1, 2005 cannot be considered for fall 2007 admission. If you need to take the TOEFL or IELTS, it is important to plan in advance. Since the introduction of the new internet-based TOEFL, fewer test dates are offered, and applicants have reported having to wait two months or more to get a testing date for the TOEFL. The test date of the exam you are using for application purposes must be on or before the application deadline of the round for which you are applying. Students who took an official computer-based TOEFL or paper and pencil TOEFL within the two year window do not need to take the examination again.

Finally, please note that although Berkeley sets minimum score requirements for graduate students, most students admitted to the MBA program has scores well above the minimum requirement. On the computer-based exam, the minimum score requirement was 230/300; the average TOEFL for applicants admitted to the Berkeley MBA program was 278 for the fall 2007 admission. Because so few students have submitted internet-based TOEFL scores, it is not possible for us to predict averages at this point, even though the minimum score requirement for consideration for the MBA program is 68 /120.

—Peter Johnson

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