Admission Standards & English Proficiency

If English is not your native language, you must submit an acceptable score on either the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), DET (Duolingo English Test) or CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) or qualify for an exemption.

  • Testing Requirements

    To be competitive for regular, non-conditional admission, students should submit one of the following scores:

    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): A TOEFL score of 80 or higher with no subscore below 18.  The DU TOEFL code is 4842.
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): An IELTS score of 6.5 or higher with no band score below 5.5.
    • Duolingo English Test: A DET score of 105 or higher.
    • CAE (Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English): A grade of C or higher on the CAE.


    Please note: all score and subscore requirements must be met in a single test.  We do not super score or accept test superscores (such as TOEFLT MyBest Score).

  • Exemptions

    We will consider you for an exemption from our testing requirements if you:

    • Complete the final two years and graduate from a high school/secondary school where English is the language of instruction
    • Earn one of the following scores/grades:
      • ACT English subscore of 22 or higher
      • SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) of 600 or higher
      • GCSE/IGCSE grade of A, B or C on the English exam
      • HKDSE grade of 5 on the English Language Core Subject exam
    • Complete the program at DU’s English Language Center, including the LAUNCH Curriculum

    Transfer students applying from another college or university where English is the universal language of instruction may be waived from proof of English proficiency if they have completed at least 30 transferable semester credits OR have taken both English Composition I and English Composition II.

    Please note that exemptions are not guaranteed - we consider you for exemption at the time of admission and consider many factors when making decisions on English proficiency.

  • Optional Interview

    An interview is not required to apply to DU, but we encourage you to complete an interview to help our staff evaluate your English proficiency, as well as get to know you as an individual. Our staff will evaluate each interview individually. Click here to schedule an information interview with your admission counselor. 

    Alternatively, we recommend using one of the following services:

  • Required English Courses & Placement

    If you are a non-native English speaker, you will take English Language courses within the LAUNCH curriculum as part of your degree at DU. These classes count for your degree and will also help you acclimate to learning and studying in the United States. Placement in these courses is be based on your submitted English proficiency scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or CAE) or the results of the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA).

    If you submit a TOEFL or IELTS, you will be placed in an English Language course based on your subscores:

    Skill Area TOEFL Subscore IELTS Subscore Course Requirement
    Writing 23 or below 6.5 or below ENGG 1090 - Writing that Matters
    Reading 23 or below 6.5 or below ENGG 1090 - Writing that Matters
    Speaking 24 or below 6.5 or below ENGG 1080 - Speaking Strategically
    Listening 21 or below 6.5 or below ENGG 1080 - Speaking Strategically

    To learn more about the LAUNCH curriculum, placement, and exemptions, click here.

    Transfer students applying from another college or university where English is the universal language of instruction may be waived from this requirement if they have completed at least 30 transferable semester credits OR have taken both English Composition I and English Composition II and earned at least a C-.

Admission Standards

  • Academic achievement

    We like to see you’ve challenged yourself and achieved success in subjects like English, math, social studies, science and foreign languages. The best applicants can show they’ve surpassed the bare minimum and taken advantage of their academic opportunities. That’s what you’ll be expected to do here at DU, and we want to see that you have the drive and ability to succeed at the highest levels.
    We don’t have specific subject requirements, but we recommend using the following guidelines:

    • 4 years of English
    • 3-4 years of mathematics
    • 3-4 years of science with at least 2 in a lab setting
    • 3-4 years of social studies
    • 3-4 years of foreign language education
  • Grade Point Average

    We don't have a minimum GPA, but here are some stats to give you an idea of what we’re looking for:

    • Average GPA for students accepted for Fall 2021: 3.78
    • Middle 50%: From 3.62 to 4.0.
    • We’ll accept a weighted GPA if your school offers that option.
  • Standardized test scores

    Although academic performance in high school is the most important factor in our admission process, we also factor in your SAT or ACT scores for both admission and merit aid purposes. Here’s what we’ll need to see:

    • Either the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT. We accept either test and don’t have a preference. SAT Code: 4842 and ACT Code: 0534.
    • We do not consider subject test or writing sections.
    • If you’ve taken either test more than once, we’ll combine the best scores from the individual sections of each test to create an ideal “super score.”

    We understand the unique challenges this year in terms of scheduling and taking the ACT and/or SAT. If for any reason you have chosen not to take one of these tests this year, have been unable to test due to cancellations, or believe your scores don’t accurately reflect your academic abilities, you may opt for the test-optional path. Please know your application will not be penalized in any way. If you have a test score to submit and you believe your scores are an accurate representation of your ability, please send them our way – we will consider them along with all other materials in your application file.

    Some statistics for reference:

    • Average combined SAT score for students accepted for Fall 2021: 1316. Middle 50%: 1230-1410.
    • Average ACT score for students accepted for Fall 2021: 30. Middle 50%: 28-32.
  • Whole person assessment

    We also want to know who you are outside the classroom. Our students are diversely talented and find ways to contribute outside of academia, whether it’s through sports, the arts, community service, employment or student government. We want to know you’ll do more than just attend your classes. We want you getting involved across campus and in the community.

    We place great value on your essays and letters of recommendation, as well as your record of extracurricular activities. This helps us learn how you can make a difference during your time at DU.

    As an option, we welcome you to submit a ZeeMee profile (a free service designed to help students bring their application to life by highlighting your personal story via photos, videos and text). Simply copy and paste your ZeeMee link into your University of Denver application.

    Please note: DU is proud to offer generous merit scholarships, however none of them will cover the full cost of a DU education (with rare exceptions).  We are also “need-aware” and consider the ability of a family to afford DU when finalizing admission decisions.