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) or CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced) by July 1. Alternatively, you can complete the English Conditional Admission program at our English Language Center.

  • 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. 
    • CAE (Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English): A grade of C or higher on the CAE.
    • Duolingo English Test: For students unable to take one of the above exams, we accept Duolingo English Test results as proof of English proficiency. To be competitive for regular, non-conditional admission, a score of 105 or higher is required.
  • Exemptions

    We will consider you for an exemption from our TOEFL, IELTS or CAE 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.

  • English Conditional Admission (ECA)

    Are you worried about meeting our English proficiency requirement? You can still apply for Undergraduate Admission and you may be accepted to the University through English Conditional Admission. If you are accepted through ECA, you will be required to study at our English Language Center full-time until you have successfully completed intensive English through the Advanced Level at the University of Denver's English Language Center. Students who fulfill their English proficiency requirements through the English Language Center will begin their degree program by successfully completing 12 credits in the LAUNCH Curriculum. Typically, this means you will need to complete two to four quarters of full-time study in English before you can enroll in a degree program. Each quarter is ten weeks long. 

  • Optional Interview

    Though it is not a requirement, 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. We recommend using one of the following services:

  • Required English Courses & Placement

    If you are a non-native English speaker, you are required to take English Language courses within the LAUNCH curriculum. These courses will count towards your degree at DU 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 2020: 3.77
    • Middle 50%: From 3.6 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.”

    If you believe your SAT and ACT scores don’t accurately reflect your academic abilities, we offer a test-optional process. Test optional applicants will receive full consideration for both admission and merit scholarships. Our top awards are very competitive, but all applicants, with or without standardized testing, will be considered for merit scholarships. Notification regarding merit aid is included in the admission decision letter.

    Some statistics for reference:

    • Average combined SAT score for students accepted for Fall 2020: 1280. Middle 50%: 1200-1370.
    • Average ACT score for students accepted for Fall 2020: 29. Middle 50%: 27-32.
  • 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.