English Language Proficiency

All international graduate students must meet minimum English language proficiency standards. To achieve admission to a graduate or professional program at Texas A&M University, international applicants are required to attain English Language Proficiency (ELP) Verification. For eligibility to hold a graduate assistantship with instructional or curricular support responsibilities, international graduate students must achieve ELP Certification.

ELP Verification for Admission

Eligibility for admission to Texas A&M University requires that international applicants must attain ELP Verification. This is attainable by achieving a minimum required score on an acceptable standardized examination, or citizenship with an English-speaking country.

Test Scores Accepted by Texas A&M for ELP Verification

The following global standardized tests are acceptable to obtain ELP Verification:

  • a TOEFL score of at least 80 on TOEFL iBT (550 paper-based) or
  • 8.5 on TOEFL Essentials;
  • an IELTS score of at least 6.0;
  • a GRE Verbal Reasoning score of at least 146 (400 on the old scale);
  • a GMAT Verbal Score of at least 22

Note: Some colleges/schools or departments may establish testing standards that exceed the University's minimum score for admission to their programs. Contact the program to which you are seeking admission for information.


How to Submit Test Scores for ELP Verification

Test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to be considered official.

To report TOEFL scores:

  • Use code 6003 for reporting TOEFL scores to the Texas A&M University (GraduateCAS).
  • Use code B887 for reporting TOEFL for engineering programs (EngineeringCAS).
  • Use code B888 for reporting TOEFL for business programs (BusinessCAS).


 To report IELTS scores:

  • Texas A&M University only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. Please contact the test center where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically to Texas A&M University (College Station and Galveston). 
  • As of Spring 2024, Texas A&M University accepts results of the IELTS One Skill Retake; however, the Office of Admissions is currently unable to receive the score report from the testing service. Students who have competed the One Skill Retake should contact their admitting department regarding submission of the score report.

Please note: there may be multiple instances of Texas A&M University; please ensure the correct institution is selected.

Tests should be taken at least eight weeks prior to the appropriate application deadline to ensure timely receipt and processing of results.

For more information about which tests Texas A&M accepts for English language verification or how to submit scores, visit the International Graduate page on the Office of Admissions website.

Citizenship with an English-Speaking Country

International graduate students who are citizens of an English-speaking country will automatically receive ELP Verification during the admissions process. For the list of recognized English-speaking countries, please see the International Graduate page on the Office of Admissions website.

Please Note: Citizens of Canada are required to demonstrate residency in any province except Quebec through the Alternative Verification/Certification process described below. Residents of Quebec are required to submit standardized test scores.

International graduate students who hold citizenship with an English-speaking country do not automatically qualify for ELP Certification (please see “ELP Certification for Teaching” below).


ELP Waivers for Admissions

Under extenuating circumstances, an international graduate student may not be able to meet the ELP Verification Requirement necessary to complete the admissions process. In these cases, the academic unit may request an English Language Proficiency Waiver for Admission ((students must contact their admitting department).

Approval of the request will allow for completion of the admissions process. While the Waiver will allow admission to the university, the student will still be required to attain ELP Verification through means described above or below in order to register for courses.

Requests must be submitted by the academic unit in the form of a memorandum

  • from and signed by the College/School Dean, Department Head, or interdisciplinary degree Program Chair;
  • routed through the appropriate College/School Graduate Operations Committee Dean; and
  • addressed to the Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate and Professional School.

The memo must include explanation as to why the student does not currently meet the ELP Verification Requirement (expired standardized test scores, pending conferral of a bachelor's or master's degree, etc.) and how the student will attain ELP Verification following admission to the university (retake of a standardized English language exam, receipt of a bachelor's or master's degree, etc.).

These memoranda must be submitted by the academic institution to ELPCompliance@tamu.edu for timely review. Upon approval, the Graduate and Professional School will submit the request to the Office of Admissions.

ELP Verification for Registration

Eligibility for registration at Texas A&M University requires that international applicants must attain ELP Verification.

Verification Attained during Admissions

ELP Verification for registration is attainable during the admissions process through submission of a minimum required score on an acceptable standardized examination (as explained above) or citizenship with an English-speaking country, that is exempt from the Verification requirement.

Alternative Verification

ELP Verification for registration may also be acquired following completion of the admissions process through the Alternative Verification process. Approval is granted by the Graduate and Professional School via request submitted by colleges/schools, departments, or interdisciplinary degree programs. Alternative Verification indicates that an international applicant meets the ELP Verification Requirement through means other than the acceptable standardized test scores.

An international graduate student may qualify for Alternative Verification by 

  • holding a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution located within the United States, or 
  • a Master's degree from an accredited academic institution located in the United States. 

If an international graduate student holds a Bachelor's degree after completion of all four years at an accredited academic institution located within the United States, the Graduate and Professional School recommends submission of the Alternative Certification Request Form (see below). 

International graduate students who hold citizenship with an English-speaking country listed on the Office of Admissions' International Graduate page will automatically receive ELP Verification (see below).

The Alternative Verification Request Form must include the student's full name and UIN, and must be signed by an academic unit's designated faculty approver. Alternative Verification Requests must be submitted by colleges/schools, departments, or interdisciplinary degree programs to ELPCompliance@tamu.edu. The Graduate and Professional School will determine whether to grant Alternative Verification Requests on a case-by-case.

Alternative Verification Request Form

ELP Certification for Teaching

Some funding offers from Texas A&M include graduate assistantships with teaching responsibilities. For eligibility to hold a graduate assistantship with instructional or curricular support responsibilities – such as Graduate Assistant Teacher (GAT), Graduate Assistant Lecturer (GAL), etc. – Texas State law and Texas A&M University requires international graduate students to achieve English Language Proficiency Certification. The Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness (HROE) at Texas A&M requires prospective or current international students hired for teaching assistantships to provide proof of English Language Proficiency Eligibility (Level 1 Certification), or Conditional Eligibility (Level 2) for one semester only, before the date of hire

Test Scores Accepted by Texas A&M for  ELP Certification

Satisfaction of the ELP Certification Requirement in relation to a teaching position is rated on a scale of 1-3.

Eligibility Levels for International Students to Service in Teaching PositionsGlobal Standardized TestsLocally Administered Exam (on Texas A&M Campus)
LevelTOEFL Essentials Speaking SectionTOEFL Speaking SectionIELTS Speaking SectionELPE Oral Examination
1. Eligible≥ 1126-30≥ 8.0≥  80
2. Conditionally Eligible9-1023-257.0-7.5≥  75
3. Ineligible≤ 8< 23< 7.0< 75


A student who receives a Level 1 certifying score is Eligible for teaching assignments.

Those with a Level 2 rating are Conditionally Eligible for teaching assignments. They may teach for one semester only and must simultaneously enroll in the Texas A&M University Center for Teaching Excellence English Language Proficiency (CTE-ELP) Program. The student must achieve a Level 1 certifying score on the ELPE or a global standardized test before the hiring date for the next semester.

Students at Level 3 (Verified only) are Ineligible for teaching assignments. They should participate in spoken language training (such as those offered by CTE-ELP or other independent English language instruction providers) to assist them in meeting English Language Proficiency requirements. They will remain ineligible until they achieve a Level 1 or 2 score on the oral skills assessment of the ELPE or a global standardized test, or receive an approved Emergency Deferral of ELP Certification from the employing academic unit. 


Alternative Certification

Alternative Certification may be acquired following completion of the admissions process. Approval is granted by the Graduate and Professional School via request submitted by colleges/schools, departments, or interdisciplinary degree programs. Alternative Certification indicates that an international student meets the English Language Proficiency standard required to hold a teaching position through means other than the acceptable testing scores and confers Level 1 (Eligible) status.

International graduate students may qualify for Alternative Certification by

  • completing all years of a bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution located in the United States, or
  • holding citizenship with an English-speaking country 

International graduate students holding a bachelor's degree with less than four years of coursework completed at an accredited academic institution located within the United States, are a Master's degree from an accredited academic institution located within the United States, are ineligible for Alternative Certification.

The Alternative Certification Request Form must include the student's full name and UIN, and must be signed by an academic unit's designated faculty approver. Alternative Verification Requests must be submitted by colleges/schools, departments, or interdisciplinary degree programs to ELPCompliance@tamu.edu. The Graduate and Professional School will determine whether to grant Alternative Verification Requests on a case-by-case.

ALTERNATIVE CERTIFICATION REQUEST FORM


Emergency Deferral of ELP Certification for Level 3 (Verified Only) Students

Under extenuating circumstances, an academic unit may need to hire an international graduate student in a teaching-related role who has not achieved Level 1 Certification or Level 2 Conditional Eligibility. In such cases, academic units may initiate a request for Emergency Deferral of the ELP Certification Requirement. Approval will provide the international graduate student with a one-time, one-semester-only deferral of the ELP Certification Requirement for employment in a teaching position. 

Emergency Deferrals may not extend beyond the single semester requested, and both the student and academic unit must fulfill set requirements (described below) during the semester of employment.

To receive approval:

  • The academic unit must provide justification as to the necessity for hire of a Level 3 Ineligible student. The level of justification must be very high for approval of an Emergency Deferral. 

    • The following are acceptable justifications:
      • A previously assigned graduate assistant is no longer able to teach an assigned course.
      • An unanticipated student enrollment increase requires the academic unit to create additional course sections.
      • Other unexpected circumstances necessitate the academic unit to hire a Level 3 Ineligible International graduate student for a teaching position.
    • The academic unit must provide information to support the justification and include any relevant documentation with the Emergency Deferral Request Form.
    • Please note: inability to schedule a TOEFL, IELTS, or an ELP Exam is no longer considered as an acceptable justification. 
  • The academic unit must assign a faculty member to supervise the student during the semester of Emergency Deferral. The faculty supervisor must conduct periodic reviews – including observations – of the student’s teaching performance during the first month of the semester with appropriate actions if the student’s performance is deemed unacceptable.
  • The student must participate in the CTE-ELP Program during the period of Emergency Deferral. An intake assessment must be scheduled with CTE before submission of the Emergency Deferral Request Form, and a copy of the confirmation must be included with the request.

Emergency Deferral Requests must be submitted by colleges/schools, departments, or interdisciplinary degree programs. The Graduate and Professional School will determine on a case-by-case basis whether to grant Emergency Deferral.

If the student has not achieved Level 1 Certification before the hiring date for the next semester, the employing unit will have the opportunity to move the employee to a Graduate Assistant Non-Teaching (GANT), Graduate Assistant Researcher (GAR), or another non-teaching role. For those students who do not meet the ELP Certification Requirement and are not transferred to a non-teaching position, the Graduate and Professional School will recommend termination to be processed by HROE. The student will then be ineligible for rehire until Level 1 Certification has been achieved.

The form must include the student's name and UIN, and indicate the semester for which the Emergency Deferral will be applied. It must be signed the faculty member assigned to supervise the student during the semester of emergency Deferral, by an academic unit's authorized faculty approver, and the appropriate college/school Graduate Operations Committee Dean. Emergency Deferral Requests must be submitted by colleges/schools, departments, or interdisciplinary degree programs to ELPCompliance@tamu.edu. The Graduate and Professional School will determine whether to grant Alternative Certification Requests on a case-by-case basis.

Emergency Deferral Request Form

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference between Verification and Certification?

ELP Verification is required for admission to the university and for course registration.

ELP Certification is required for an international graduate student to be eligible for hire in any other role classified as a teaching position.


Who Must Obtain ELP Verification?

All international students are required to submit proof of English language proficiency to be eligible for admissions and registration. For guidelines on which applicants are considered international students, visit the International Graduate page on the Office of Admissions website.


Which Countries' Citizens are Automatically Meet the English Language Proficiency Verification Requirement?

The Office of Admissions will automatically verify citizens of certain English-speaking countries. The Office of Admissions’ International Graduate page maintains a complete list of countries.


How Long Are Test Scores Valid?

Scores from TOEFL and IELTS administered more than two years before submission of the admissions application are not eligible for use in attaining ELP Verification or Certification.

 

Who Must Obtain ELP Certification?

International students who want to  hold an assistantship with teaching or curricular support duties (GAT or GAL) are required by the State of Texas to obtain ELP Certification.

 

How Can I Obtain Eligibility to Teach?

Students may obtain ELP Certification by achieving requisite scores on a global standardized test or by Alternative Certification.

 

When Must ELP Certification for a Teaching Position be Attained?

ELP Certification (Level 1 Eligible or Level 2 Conditionally Eligible) must be demonstrated prior to the date of hire.

 

I Have Already Been Enrolled and Want to Hold a Graduate Assistant Teaching Position, but I Don't Have Level 1 Certification. How Can I Meet the ELP Certification Requirement for Teaching?

International graduate students who wish to serve in graduate assistant teaching positions and did not meet the Certification Requirement prior to enrollment can do so by passing a global standardized test or the English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE) offered by Testing Services  at Texas A&M.

 

Can Level 2 (Conditionally Eligible) Students Hold Graduate Teaching Positions?

International graduate students at Level 2 are considered Conditionally Eligible and may receive employment for one semester only. During the semester of Conditional Eligibility, the student must participate in the CTE-ELP Program. The student must achieve Level 1 Certification by the end of the semester of employment, before the hiring date for the next semester.

If the student has not achieved Level 1 Certification before the hiring date for the next semester, the employing unit will have the opportunity to move the employee to a Graduate Assistant Non-Teaching (GANT), Graduate Assistant Researcher (GAR), or another non-teaching role. For those students who do not meet the ELP requirement and are not transferred to a non-teaching position, the Graduate and Professional School will recommend termination to be processed by the Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness (HROE). The student will be Ineligible for rehire until Level 1 Certification has been achieved.

 

Can Level 3 (Verified Only) Students Hold Graduate Teaching Positions?

International students at Level 3 (Verified only) are Ineligible for hire in a GAT or GAL position. Students who wish to be considered for future employment should participate in spoken language training (such as that provided by CTE-ELP).

ELP Resources for Students

Resources for Academic Units

Departments may request Alternative Verification, Alternate Certification, and Emergency Deferral of Certification with appropriate justification.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY GUIDE

ALTERNATIVE VERIFICATION

ALTERNATIVE CERTIFICATION

EMERGENCY DEFERRAL REQUEST FORM