What grades and English level do I need?

To successfully gain admission to a US degree or pathway program, students must meet minimum academic and English level entry requirements.

Academic entry requirements

You need good grades in previous academic study – high school or undergraduate degree – that are equivalent to the minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for entry to your chosen degree, whether you join a pathway or enter directly.

English language level

If you have advanced English proficiency, you may be able to join a bachelor’s or master’s degree program immediately.  You can start with a pathway program if your English level does not yet meet the requirements for a degree. Your English proficiency determines the length of your pathway program, normally from 1 to 3 semesters.

Generally, we accept scores from any of the following English language exams:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT
  • Kaplan iBT
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)

For detailed entry requirements by US university and degree, download the relevant International Student Guide.

Our admissions team will be happy to advise you on the specific entry requirements for the pathway or program you wish to apply for. Contact one of our advisors.


What are the entry requirements?

Learn what you need to qualify for one of our programs

Typical academic and English requirements for US universities

  • Undergraduate pathway programs in the USA
    • A high school diploma or equivalent
    • Minimum GPA 2.0 to 3.0 (or equivalent)
    • English language: minimum TOEFL 55 to 74
  • Bachelor's degree admission
    • A high school diploma or equivalent
    • Minimum GPA 2.5–3.6 (or equivalent)
    • TOEFL iBT 61 / Kaplan iBT 61 / IELTS 6.0 (no bands below 5.5) / PTE 53 / KIE Advanced level
  • Bachelor’s completion program (Northeastern University)
    • Minimum 32, and maximum 60 transferable undergraduate university credits
    • Minimum GPA 2.25 (or equivalent)
    • TOEFL/Kaplan iBT 79 / IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any skill)/ PTE 53
  • Graduate pathway programs in the USA
    • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent
    • Minimum GPA 2.5–3.0 (or equivalent)
    • TOEFL iBT 55 / Kaplan iBT 55 / IELTS 5.5 (with no less than 5.0 in any skill) / PTE 42
  • Master's degree admission
    • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent
    • Minimum GPA 2.5–3.0 (or equivalent)
    • TOEFL iBT 78 / Kaplan iBT 78 / IELTS 6.5 / PTE 52

Additional admission requirements

  • Supporting documents

    For a completed US university application, you usually need to submit the following documents:

    • ‭Proof of English Language Proficiency – this can be a TOEFL®, IELTS, Pearson PTE, Kaplan iBT or KITE result, or completion of a previous degree taught in English
    • Academic transcripts from previous study (including grade scale and English translation if originals are in another language)
    • Personal statement
    • Reference letters
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)/résumé (master’s applicants only)
    • Passport copy
    • Evidence of finances to cover your study costs

  • Previous classes or degrees

    Some US bachelor’s degrees require you to complete specific classes – called “pre-requisites” – and to submit the grades you earned, before you can start the program.

    Master’s programs may require that you studied a specific degree subject (or “major”) during your undergraduate studies.

  • Admission test scores

    Some bachelor’s degree programs encourage applicants to submit standardized admission test scores (SAT or ACT) to be considered for tuition scholarships, but these are not required for international students.

    Many master’s degree programs require students to submit graduate admission test scores (such as the GMAT or GRE) before their application is considered.

What if I need to improve my English before a pathway program?

For some of our pathway programs, if you do not meet the English language requirements, we can offer you conditional admission and advice on additional English preparation at one of our worldwide Kaplan International English schools. Get in touch with us for more information about your different options.

What can I do next?

We provide a streamlined way to apply to a US university. Click on one of the links below to start your application: