Carnegie Mellon University

English language proficiency requirements

For MS in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics, MS in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering, and MS in Computational Biology. NOTE: requirements for other programs may differ. MS in Computational Biology uses these numbers because the primary academic home is Mellon College of Science: Department of Biological Sciences, but other programs that use the same School of Computer Science Admission system may have different thresholds. Other Mellon College of Science programs (including Department of Biological Sciences PhD program) use their own criteria and you should check with those programs.

Proficiency scores are required for all applications from individuals who are not native English speakers. The only exception is if someone has recently completed a university-level degree in the US or another majority native English speaking country, they may waive this requirement.

Recommended scores

Students with scores at or above the following values typically are more successful in our program than those below these numbers:

  • TOEFL: 100 overall; 25 in each subsection
  • IELTS: 7.5 overall; 7 Reading, 7 Listening, 7.5 Speaking, 6.5 Writing
  • Duolingo: 120 overall; 115 Literacy, 125 Comprehension, 100 Production, 105 Conversation

Minimum required scores

The closer a student is to the above recommended scores, the more likely they are to do well in our programs. However, if a student is below the above scores, they may be able to succeed in our program if they have demonstrated excellent academic preparation in their other work: for example having done very well in their academic work relevant to the degree they are applying for. However, we also have required minimum scores and cannot accept students who are below the required minimum scores listed below:

  • TOEFL: 84 overall; 22 Reading, 22 Listening, 18 Speaking, 22 Writing
  • IELTS: 6.0 overall; 6.5 Reading, 6.5 Listening, 6.0 Speaking, 6.0 Writing
  • Duolingo: 105 overall; 105 Literacy, 115 Comprehension, 70 Production, 95 Conversation