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First-Year International Applicants

The information you need to apply

To succeed academically at Salem State, students must have strong English speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. English proficiency for study at the undergraduate level must be demonstrated by one of the following:

1. Obtaining a minimum required score on an approved English Proficiency examination:

English Proficiency Examination

Minimum Required Score

Internet-based TOEFL test (iBT)


Revised TOEFL Paper-delivered test


TOEFL ITP (see test dates at SSU)




PTE Academic


Duolingo English Test




2. Successfully completing an approved intensive English language program:

American Language and Culture Institute

Minimum Required Level  

Salem State University

Successful completion of core level 5 or higher
(Academic Reading and Writing and Oral Communication) with a minimum score of 49 on Pearson Progress Test (GSE 35-50); Letter of recommendation from IELP director required.

Important Information about Test Scores

The admissions office reserves the right to request students to submit additional proof of English proficiency, even if they meet the above-listed requirements. Sub-scores for different sections within the examination are also considered in determining whether a student has a strong enough command of the English language in order to succeed at Salem State University.

Duolingo scoring bands: Duolingo scoring bands have changed, and we are in the process of officially updating our Duolingo score requirements. Please note that, while we accept the Duolingo test, you must have a score in the highest band, 120-160, to be considered to have acceptable English language proficiency for acceptance.

Exemptions from Providing Proof of English Proficiency

(Approved Options)

  1. Students who receive a score of 470 or higher on the SAT Evidence-based Reading/Writing section
  2. Students who have successfully completed a first-year English composition course equivalent to Salem State's ENL 110 with a grade of B or higher at an accredited college in the U.S. as shown on a transcript. Students who graduate with an IB diploma are exempt from providing proof of English proficiency.
  3. If the student has attended school in a country where the primary language is English. List of countries found in the catalog.
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