International Students

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

An applicant whose native language is not English must present a TOEFL score of at least 80 on the internet based test. The score must be for an examination administered no more than 24 months prior to the beginning of the academic term for which admission is sought. Possession of a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution in the U.S., U.K, Ireland, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, at which the language of instruction was English, may serve in lieu of the TOEFL score. The TOEFL requirement is waived for a student already enrolled and in good academic standing in a degree program at NIU. In special circumstances, a department may seek a waiver of this requirement for a student who has demonstrated success in graduate course work at an accredited institution in the U.S. For TOEFL information, contact www.toefl.org.

English Proficiency

Graduate students whose native language is not English are required to take university examinations to test their competence in written English, unless they have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution in the U.S., or recognized institution in the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, at which the language of instruction was English. Students whose English appears deficient or marginal for purposes of graduate study and scholarly communication will be required to improve their competence in the language. They will then be required to take and pass either the two-course sequence of ENGL 451 and ENGL 452, or the single course ENGL 453, depending on the results of competency testing.

A student who believes that the results of the examination did not accurately reflect his or her English writing proficiency may repeat the test at its next regular offering. If the examination is taken a second time, the results of the second attempt will determine the student’s English course placement. No more than two attempts will be permitted. If the examination is not taken by the end of the student’s second semester of Graduate School enrollment, then both ENGL 451 and ENGL 452 will be required.

Assistantships

The Economics Department offers Graduate Assistantships to international students, including first-year students. Assistantships are enough to cover living expenses and include tuition waivers but not student fee-waivers. Admission to the graduate program does not guarantee an assistantship. 

All teaching assistants whose native language is not English must receive a minimum score of 50 on the SPEAK (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit) before they can engage in classroom instruction. Arrangements to take the SPEAK test are made upon arrival at NIU.