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English Proficiency

Information on demonstrating English proficiency

Adequate command of spoken and written English is essential to success in graduate study at Harvard. 

English Proficiency Requirement

  • Applicants who are non-native English speakers can demonstrate English proficiency in one of three ways: 
  • A master’s degree or other graduate degree is not accepted as proof of English proficiency. 
  • If you received an undergraduate degree from an institution in the United States in which English was not the primary language of instruction but a significant portion of your program was conducted in English, you may petition for a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Please note this ONLY applies to US institutions. Contact the office of admissions for details. 
  • Alternate language tests, including at-home examinations for the TOEFL or IELTS, certifications, or individual examples of English language experience are not accepted as proof of English proficiency.

*Some degree programs may require a higher score on either the TOEFL or IELTS. Visit your degree program page of interest for more information. 

Sending TOEFL/IELTS Scores 

When taking the TOEFL or IELTS, you will have an opportunity to request that your scores be sent to your academic institutions of choice. Be sure to select Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (formerly Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) as each Harvard admissions office has its own identification or school code. To ensure that your scores are matched to your applicant record, the First Name, Last Name, and Date of Birth on your test score report must match the information you enter in the Applicant Portal. Score reports must be sent to Harvard Griffin GSAS by the application deadline.

  • Use ETS code 3451 to send TOEFL scores to Harvard Griffin GSAS. If a department code is required, use code 99. 
  • Send IELTS scores to Harvard Griffin GSAS via the IELTS Test Center E-Delivery service. 
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores are valid for no longer than two years. If you are applying for admission for fall 2024, you may submit scores from tests taken no earlier than January 5, 2022.
  • ETS/IELTS will not send official score reports for tests taken more than two years from the original test date. If you are no longer able to send your scores from ETS/IELTS, you will need to submit scores from a new test.
  • Harvard Griffin GSAS accepts scores from iBT TOEFL or IELTS Academic. 
  • An official score report from ETS or IELTS to Harvard Griffin GSAS is required. If you have personal score reports from tests taken within the valid period (as described above), you can upload them to your application in addition to requesting that your scores be sent.

What contact information should I use to send my IELTS scores to Harvard Griffin GSAS? 

Use the IELTS Test Center E-Delivery service to send IELTS scores to Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Our address, to identify us in the IELTS system, is 1350 Massachusetts Ave., Smith Campus Center 350, Cambridge, MA 02138. Paper test report forms will not be accepted at this address. 

Do you accept TOEFL MyBest score reports?

No. You must list each test date separately in the application, and the official test score report for each reported test date must be sent to ETS code 3451.

If my scores appear as verified in the Applicant Portal, does that mean they are valid?

Scores that appear as "Verified" in the Applicant Portal have been verified as official scores; however, scores must still be within the valid time range identified by Harvard Griffin GSAS. 

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