NYU TOEFL Requirement: The Score You Need


What's a good TOEFL score for NYU? Is there a TOEFL NYU minimum you must meet in order to qualify for admission as an undergraduate or graduate student? Who has to take the TOEFL?

In this guide, we go over the NYU TOEFL requirement for each major department and look at how this minimum score varies depending on the program you're applying to. We then give you expert tips on what to do if you're struggling to meet the NYU TOEFL score threshold.

Feature image: jpellgen/Flickr


Who Needs to Take the TOEFL for NYU?

First off, which applicants actually need to take the TOEFL to get into NYU? The general rule is that if your native language is English, you do not have to take the TOEFL.

At NYU, if you're a US citizen or permanent resident, you do not need to take the TOEFL. Likewise, if you're an international applicant from a major English-speaking country such as Canada, the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, you shouldn't need to take the TOEFL.

However, if you're an international applicant from a non-English-speaking country, you will most likely need to take the TOEFL (or another English-proficiency test).

So how does the NYU TOEFL requirement differ for undergraduate and graduate applicants? Here is a brief rundown of the differences, which we'll explain more in the next two sections:

  • If you are applying to be an undergraduate and your native language is not English (and you have not completed at least three consecutive academic years at an English-speaking school), you must take the TOEFL.
  • If you are applying to be a graduate student and your native language is not English, you will most likely need to take the TOEFL. (However, there are normally exceptions for those who have received a bachelor's degree from an English-speaking institution.) You may also need to meet a certain score threshold in order to qualify for admission.

Now, let's take a closer look at the NYU TOEFL score requirements for undergraduate and graduate applicants.


NYU TOEFL Requirement for Undergraduate Applicants

International undergraduate applicants to NYU may take one of these tests to prove their English proficiency:

  • Duolingo English Test
  • IELTS Academic
  • PTE Academic
  • C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency
  • iTEP

There is no minimum TOEFL score you must get to qualify for admission to NYU. However, NYU recommends applicants get at least 100 on the TOEFL in order to be competitive.

This total score could be any combination of section scores that add up to 100. For example, you could try to get 25 on each section or something like 29, 22, 26, and 23.

In addition to TOEFL scores, all international applicants, as well as domestic applicants, must submit scores from one of NYU's approved standardized tests (which include the SAT and ACT). To learn more about what SAT/ACT score you'll need for admission to NYU, go to NYU's Admission Requirements page.




NYU TOEFL Requirement for Graduate Applicants

Most of NYU's graduate programs require international applicants from non-English-speaking countries to submit TOEFL (or IELTS) scores with their applications.

Graduate TOEFL requirements can vary depending on the school/department and program. At NYU, many schools have minimum TOEFL score requirements that apply to all programs in that school.

However, some programs may require TOEFL scores that are slightly higher than their school minimums. Therefore, always check directly with your program to see what its TOEFL requirements are.

The following chart summarizes the minimum TOEFL requirements for some of the major schools and programs at NYU:


School / Program Minimum Required TOEFL Score
Tisch School of the Arts Varies by department and unavailable to public
Graduate School of Arts and Science 100 iBT (recommended)
Journalism MA programs 100 iBT (recommended)
Psychology MA programs 105 iBT (recommended)
Leonard N. Stern School of Business TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required--no minimum scores specified
Accounting MS 100 iBT
MBA program None
Doctoral program 109 iBT (average)
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development 100 iBT / 600 PBT (recommended)
International Education PhD 100 iBT / 600 PBT (recommended)
Doctor of Physical Therapy 100 iBT / 600 PBT (recommended)
Tandon School of Engineering 90 iBT
Data Science 100 iBT / 600 PBT (recommended)
The Institute of Fine Arts None
College of Global Public Health
Master of Public Health None
Public Health PhD 100 iBT
School of Law 100 iBT with 26 on Reading and Listening, and 22 on Speaking and Writing
JD program None (TOEFL not required)
LLM program 100 iBT with 26 on Reading and Listening, and 22 on Speaking and Writing
JSD program 100 iBT with 26 on Reading and Listening, and 22 on Speaking and Writing (but "substantially higher" scores recommended)
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Computer Science (MSCS and MSIS) 100 iBT / 600 PBT (recommended)
Mathematics MS programs 100 iBT / 600 PBT (recommended)
School of Medicine
Biomedical Sciences PhD None
School of Professional Studies 110 iBT / 600 PBT
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service 100 iBT
EMPA for Global Policy Leaders 109 iBT
Public Policy MS 109 iBT
Silver School of Social Work
Master of Social Work 92-93 iBT / 580 PBT
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World 106 iBT

Source: NYU.edu

In this chart for NYU, TOEFL score requirements generally take two forms: minimum required scores and recommended scores.

Required scores are scores you must meet in order to qualify for admission. If you don't meet these scores, your application will be rejected (unless you qualify for conditional admission).

Recommended scores are scores you don't need to get in order to qualify for admission; however, you will have a better chance of admission if you do get them.

For NYU, as well as for any other school, always aim to get the recommended score (over a required minimum score). Getting (or exceeding) a recommended score will make you a more competitive applicant for your program, thereby increasing your likelihood of getting accepted.



What If You Don't Meet the NYU TOEFL Requirement?

It's not easy getting a high enough TOEFL score for NYU. So what can you do if you're having trouble meeting your goal score? Here are a few options depending on whether your score is close to or far from the NYU TOEFL minimum score.


If Your Score Is Close to the NYU TOEFL Requirement …

  • Contact your program. Ask whether they are willing to review your application despite the fact your TOEFL score is slightly lower than what's required. If your program agrees to consider you for admission, use the time before you submit your application to strengthen other parts of it, such as your statement of purpose and CV/resume.
  • See whether you qualify for conditional admission. If your program offers conditional admission, you'll most likely need to fulfill an English-language requirement or class before you can start taking regular courses at NYU.
  • Pay for a TOEFL score review. If your program at NYU doesn't offer conditional admission and won't accept lower TOEFL scores, consider getting a rescore. With this service, ETS (the maker of the TOEFL) rescores your Speaking and/or Writing sections, potentially raising your total score by 1-3 points (though it could also lower it!). A rescore is better than retaking the test as it's cheaper and less time-consuming.


If Your Score Is Far From the NYU TOEFL Requirement ...

Your best option is to retake the TOEFL. If you do this, though, make sure you spend plenty of time honing your weaknesses and figuring out ways you can improve your score.

The more points you need to hit the NYU TOEFL score minimum, the more hours you'll need to study. And the more hours you need to study, the more time you should try to give yourself before test day. Generally, it's best to set aside at least three to six months for TOEFL prep.

To figure out how many hours you'll need to study, subtract your current TOEFL score from the TOEFL NYU score you need for admission.

For example, if I'm applying to NYU's Master of Social Work program, I'll need to score at least 92 on the TOEFL. Let's say my current score is 87; this means I'll need 5 points to reach my goal score of 92.

Once you've found this difference, use the chart below to determine (roughly) how many hours you'll need to study for each TOEFL section:

Section Study Hours for 1-Point Improvement
Reading 6-8
Listening 6-8
Speaking 15
Writing 6-8


In my example, I need to improve my total TOEFL score by 5 points to qualify for admission to NYU's Master of Social Work program. If I wanted to improve my Listening section by 3 points and my Speaking section by 2 points, I'd have to study at least 48 hours (because 3(6) + 2(15) = 48).

Once you have an estimated number of study hours, divide up the number of weeks you have until test day to get a rough number of hours you should study for the TOEFL per week. If I'm studying 48 hours over the course of three months, for example, I'll need to prep about four hours each week. This gives me my best chance of meeting the minimum NYU TOEFL requirement on test day.




What's Next?

Applying to other schools that need the TOEFL? Then take a look at our extensive list of 50+ popular colleges and their TOEFL score requirements.

What TOEFL score do you need for admission to MIT? Harvard? Our guides tell you what TOEFL scores to aim for to help you stand out as an applicant.

Ready to apply to colleges? Check out our guide that breaks down the process of sending your TOEFL scores.


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About the Author
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Hannah Muniz

Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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