The United States is the first country to come to mind when people consider studying abroad, and it is for a reason. Studying in the USA brings along many privileges, such as receiving top-quality education, mastering the English language, having better career opportunities after graduation, embracing cultural diversity, and more.

It is home to the world’s best universities and colleges like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and many more, which makes it incredibly advantageous for international students to build communication with the most experienced professors, talented students, and firms. However, healthy communication requires an expert-level command of English; that is, international students must prove their proficiency in English to be admitted to a university in the USA.

The most common method to prove English language proficiency for entering universities in the USA is taking the TOEFL exam. Read more to learn about the seven best universities in the USA accepting TOEFL scores for international students.

TOEFL Scores Accepted at US Universities

TOEFL iBT is recognized nationwide in the USA, yet the minimum score requirements can differ based on the university, degree of study, or study program. Below are the seven universities in the USA accepting TOEFL iBT scores.

1. Princeton University

Ranked 7th in world university rankings, Princeton University continues to be the world’s most prestigious higher education institution, with Nobel Prize-awarded faculty members and advanced research centers. The university stands out for its Engineering and Architecture departments.

Just as Princeton offers the greatest opportunities to its international students, the university is highly selective when accepting prospective students. The minimum TOEFL iBT score varies depending on the type or degree of program, yet the average total score starts from 90 and goes up to 108 or more. For more details, please check Princeton’s program catalog for undergraduate and graduate programs.

2. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the most innovative and long-established research universities in the world with a motto, let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched. It continuously provides great opportunities for international students in fields such as Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Biology, and more.

UChicago is a competitive university with high expectations from its students. International students are charged $63,801 per academic year with several scholarship opportunities. They must also prove their English proficiency by taking a TOEFL iBT exam to be able to complete their application to any program at the university successfully. Although requirements can differ depending on the type or degree of program, an average minimum TOEFL iBT score requirement is stated to be 104 for all types of degrees.

3. Cornell University

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is one of the best universities in the USA, with an acceptance rate of 9%. Each of the university’s undergraduate faculties regulates autonomously, yet all graduates receive a diploma from Cornell University. One of its highly-recognized faculty is Cornell’s Business School. Additionally, Cornell’s annual tuition fee is estimated to be $65,204 with plenty of scholarship opportunities.

When it comes to accepting international students, Cornell University has strict requirements, and English proficiency is one of them. To be accepted as a student at Cornell, international applicants must prove their English proficiency with a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 100 for most study programs. However, the higher you get, the more likely you increase your chances for acceptance.

TOEFL iBT score requirements may differ for certain study degrees or programs; this is why it is important to check the program-specific requirements on Cornell’s program catalog before the application.

4. Columbia University

With two main campuses in Columbia, Missouri, and Manhattan, New York, Columbia University is recognized worldwide for its innovative approach to education. The university has plenty of respected faculties and programs, including Pharmacology, History, Engineering, Computer Sciences, and more. An average tuition fee per semester is estimated to be $26,036 with student grant opportunities.

Columbia requires international students to obtain a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 100 to 105, depending on the type or degree of program.

5. University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame is one of the oldest established universities in the U.S., operating since 1842 with a number of faculties and institutions. Some popular programs at Notre Dame University are Economics, Finance, Accounting, and Political Sciences. An average tuition fee is about $62,693 for both undergraduate and graduate programs, yet the university offers many financial aid opportunities.

International students must prove their advanced level of English by documenting their TOEFL iBT exam score of a minimum of 80 to 100, depending on the degree or type of the course they wish to apply.

6. Duke University

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is a private research university accepting thousands of international students every year. For decades, it has been pioneering innovation and research with programs such as Computer Science, Biology, Political Science, and many more.

Duke University requires international applicants to obtain a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 100 for undergraduate and 80 for graduate applications. Additionally, Duke charges $31,725 from international students in most of its programs with several scholarship options. Thus, we advise you to check the university’s program catalog for undergraduate and graduate applications.

7. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California or USC is a well-known and respected private research university operating since 1880. The university is prestigious for its Business School and departments such as Social Sciences, Journalism, and Arts.

USC is highly selective yet also generous in providing financial aid to its students. The annual tuition fee is $66,640 on average, but about 75% of the students benefit from financial aid. To be a student at USC, international applicants must obtain a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 100 for undergraduate and Ph.D. programs and 90 for master’s programs.

FAQs: TOEFL Acceptance in the USA

What Type of TOEFL Exam is Accepted in the USA?

TOEFL iBT is the most common English language proficiency examination recognized by almost every U.S. university as it is accessible and trusted. International students with a high TOEFL iBT score can easily stand out among others for their admission to U.S. universities as they prove their advanced language skills to complete the academic tasks in their study program.

TOEFL iBT is an internet-based language exam assessing the participant’s reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in English for academic purposes, that is, in the U.S. classroom environment. The test can be taken from everywhere in the world today; there are test centers in almost every country. Additionally, applicants can choose the Home Edition option if they have the necessary equipment to take the test at home.


English language proficiency is one of the crucial requirements for international students to be accepted at U.S. universities, and obtaining a high TOEFL iBT score will have enormous advantages to make your application stand out among others. So, it is time to study for the TOEFL exam and start your application to the best colleges in the USA.


We hope this article has been informative. Feel free to visit our USA Scholarships Page for more information about the different universities and scholarship opportunities in the USA!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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