Minimum IELTS Score for USA: Your Guide for Admissions in 2024

Share this post

Around 1.3 to 1.4 million individuals annually sit for the IELTS exam. Taking an English proficiency test for admission to universities in the USA is compulsory. IELTS evaluates your speaking, listening, reading, and writing abilities on a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest score.

It is important to note that each American university has its own unique IELTS score requirement. Therefore, conducting thorough research and comprehending the reasons behind the diverse IELTS scores for USA requirements is crucial so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.

In this blog, we’ll discuss everything related to IELTS scores for the USA, including the universities and course requirements!

IELTS Band Requirement for USA

While a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 to 6.5 is sufficient for most universities in the USA, pursuing higher education in some of the world’s top universities, you must aim for a band score slightly above average. 

Though admission to such prestigious institutions can be highly competitive due to their international standards and reputation, it is not impossible.

Level of StudyMinimum IELTS Score for USA
Postgraduate 6.5

Crack IELTS Exam in first attempt

Attend Leap’s free masterclass to get tips, tricks and advance strategies to crack IELTS exam in first attempt

Minimum IELTS Score for USA: Your Guide for Admissions in 2024

Advanced-level courses, or courses that require an in-depth understanding of concepts and human interaction, tend to demand a higher IELTS score for the USA. These courses include Journalism, Literature, Medicine, and Psychology, to name a few.

List of Universities with Minimum IELTS Score for USA

Studying in the USA is a dream for many international students. However, to secure admission into universities in the US, one must have a good grasp of the English language. 

Crack IELTS Exam in first attempt

Minimum IELTS Score for USA: Your Guide for Admissions in 2024

Attend Leap’s free masterclass to get tips, tricks and advance strategies to crack IELTS exam in first attempt

Sometimes, it can be challenging to achieve a higher band of language proficiency. That’s why we have compiled a comprehensive list of universities in the US that accept minimum IELTS scores. This will help international students in making informed decisions when it comes to selecting universities.

California State University 5.5
University of Wisconsin5.5
State University New York5.5
Ohio University5.5
University of Hawaii5.5
University of Mississippi5.5
University of Missouri5.5
Central Michigan University5.5
Southern New Hampshire University5.5
Murray State University5.5

Need help with how to prepare to take admission to college in the US?

You can contact Leap Scholar‘s expert counsellors today to get an idea of how to go about your IELTS preparation for a college in the US.

IELTS Score for USA: Top 10 Universities

The standard IELTS score for the USA in the top universities in the USA depends on various factors. It would be best to research the universities they wish to attend extensively and their score prerequisites. By doing so, they can ensure they meet the requirements and increase their chances of being accepted.

University NameMinimum score for UGMinimum score for UG.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)7.07.5
Stanford University7.07.0
Harvard University7.07.5
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)6.57.0
University of Chicago6.57.5
University of Pennsylvania7.07.5
Yale University7.07.5
Columbia University7.57.5
Princeton University7.07.0
Cornell University7.57.0

Universities Accepting IELTS scores for USA in the range of 6-7

The IELTS score requirement for universities in the USA varies depending on the institution and program. However, generally, an overall band score of 6-7 is considered good and can be accepted by many universities.

It’s important to note that universities may have different score requirements for each section of the IELTS exam (listening, reading, writing, and speaking), so it’s essential to check with the specific institution and program you are interested in.

Below is a compilation of universities that accept IELTS scores ranging from 6 to 7.

UniversityMinimum IELTS Score for USA Postgraduate CoursesMinimum IELTS Score for USA Postgraduate courses
Johns Hopkins University7.07.0
University of California, Berkeley (UCB)7.07.0
Duke University7.07.0
Brown University7.07.0
University of Texas at Austin6.56.5
Texas A&M University6.06.0
American University Washington D.C6.06.0
Dakota State University6.0 (with no sub-score less than 5.5)6.0 (with no sub-score less than 5.5)
University of Southern California6.56.5

What if you do not get your Ideal IELTS Score for the USA?

Securing the ideal IELTS score for the USA can be challenging, and not all applicants may meet the minimum score requirements of their desired universities. 

However, there are still viable alternatives that you can consider if you do not achieve your desired IELTS score for the USA.

1. English Language Preparation Programs

Many universities and colleges in the USA offer English language preparation programs for international students who do not meet the minimum IELTS score for the USA. 

These programs typically cover English language skills such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking and may also include cultural orientation and academic support. 

2. Conditional Admission Programs

Some universities and colleges in the USA offer conditional admission programs for international students who do not meet the minimum IELTS score for the USA requirement but show potential for academic success. 

Under these programs, you may be admitted to the university or college on a conditional basis, with the requirement to enrol in additional English language courses alongside your regular coursework. 

You may be eligible for full admission to your chosen program once you complete the required English language courses and achieve the necessary proficiency level.

3. Community Colleges

Also known as junior colleges or two-year colleges, they are an alternative option for international students who do not meet the minimum IELTS score for top universities in the USA. 

Community colleges typically have lower admission requirements and offer a wide range of courses, including English language courses, at a more affordable cost than four-year universities. 

Completing a program at a community college and achieving a certain GPA may allow you to transfer to a four-year university to pursue your desired undergraduate or graduate program.

4. Retake the IELTS Exam

If you did not achieve your ideal IELTS score for the USA, you might consider retaking the exam to improve your score. 

It’s essential to thoroughly prepare for the exam by taking practice tests, understanding the test format, and seeking guidance from experienced instructors or tutors. 

With determination, effort, and proper preparation, you can still achieve your academic goals, even if you do not initially meet the ideal IELTS score for the USA.

How to Get a Good IELTS Score in the USA?

1. Know the Test Format

Take time to review the different sections of the test, including the listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections. 

Practice with sample test questions and know the time constraints of each section to be better prepared on test day.

2. Develop Strong English Language Skills

Read English newspapers, books, and articles, practice writing essays on different topics, listen to English podcasts or watch English movies, and converse with English speakers to enhance your language proficiency.

3. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests allow you to simulate the real test environment and know the types of questions and tasks you may encounter. 

Analyse your performance on practice tests and identify areas that need improvement to focus your study efforts accordingly.

4. Time Management

Learn to pace yourself and spend only a little time on a single question or section, as it may result in not completing all the tasks. 

Practice answering questions within the allotted time for each section to develop time management skills.

5. Seek Feedback and Guidance

Experienced instructors or tutors can provide valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses. They can provide feedback on your writing and speaking skills, suggest areas for improvement, and offer strategies to score better on the test. 

Joining an IELTS preparation course with Leap Scholar and working with an expert can provide structured guidance and support in your test preparation journey.

6. Stay Calm and Confident

Take deep breaths, read and understand the instructions carefully, and answer the questions to the best of your ability. Confidence and a positive mindset can help you perform better on the test.

Why do Some Universities Require a Higher IELTS Score for the USA?

Language Intensity: Specific courses, such as language studies, literature, or communication-related programs, require higher English language proficiency. These courses may demand a higher IELTS score for the USA to ensure you can communicate effectively.

Academic Requirement: More academically strict courses, such as engineering, medicine, or law, may require a higher IELTS score for the USA. These programs often involve advanced technical or specialised terminology, and a higher level of English proficiency is necessary to excel in these fields.

Professional Licensing: Some courses, like nursing, teaching, or accounting, may require professional licensing or certification upon graduation.

University Requirements: Each university may have its language proficiency requirements to maintain its reputation and ensure you can cope with the academic demands of its programs.

Competition for Admissions: Popular universities or programs with limited seats may have higher IELTS scores for USA requirements due to high competition among applicants.

A higher IELTS score for the USA can give you an edge in the selection process and increase your chances of admission to these competitive programs.

What is the Required IELTS Score For a USA Student Visa?

A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 band is generally required for educational institutions in the USA.

To obtain a student visa for studying in the USA, it is necessary to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. This typically involves passing a secure English language test like IELTS to provide evidence of strong communication and correspondence skills.

IELTS results are accepted by more than 11,000 organisations, including educational institutions, employers, professional associations, and governments, in 140 countries worldwide.

Also Read: IELTS 7 Band 2023: Latest Tips & Tricks For 7+ Band In IELTS Exam.

How to send your IELTS score to USA universities?

IELTS authorities allow you to submit your IELTS scores for the USA to at least 5 colleges of your choice to be selected during the IELTS registration process.

Here’s how you can register for IELTS and to send your IELTS result to the US Universities:

  • Visit the official IELTS website.
  • Select the ‘Take an exam‘ and ‘IELTS‘ options and click on ‘IELTS registration.’
  • Click the ‘Register for IELTS now‘ button next.
  • Fill in all the essential information to get the exam dates. The test date availability will then be displayed on the next page. 
  • Select one of the available dates and click ‘Apply.’
  • Read the terms carefully, then mark them in the text box next to ‘Continue.’
  • You will be requested to fill out your personal information on the following page.
  • Finally, you can choose whether or not to send your IELTS results to other universities. To send your result, select ‘Yes.’
  • Click on the ‘Continue‘ option after filling in all the necessary information.
  • On the next page, specify the universities you want to send your IELTS scores.

After you complete the form, the test centre will send free copies of your IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) to the top five universities you’ve chosen.

To send your IELTS score for the USA, use the TRF (Test Report Form), a duplicate of your IELTS scorecard. You can acquire your TRF within 13 days of taking the IELTS. After the results are released, you can pick up your TRF from your local IDP IELTS office.

Note: Bring the identity proof that you used throughout the registration procedure.

Furthermore, sending your IELTS results to colleges online takes approximately five business days, while sending a hard copy scorecard to universities takes five to ten business days.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a good score in IELTS is crucial if you wish to study in the USA. It is necessary to demonstrate strong communication and correspondence skills to obtain a student visa and gain admission to educational institutions in the USA. 

Seeking feedback and guidance from experienced instructors or tutors, staying calm and confident during the exam, and sending the IELTS score to the selected universities are crucial factors that can help you achieve their desired scores. 

Need help with your IELTS preparation?

Here’s how Leap Scholar can help you:

  • Study materials
  • Live online classes
  • IELTS mock tests
  • Daily doubt-solving sessions
  • Small batch size

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. What is the significance of IELTS scores in admission?

    A. Universities require non-native students to take the IELTS test to keep up with the curriculum. Many top universities use standardised tests like IELTS to create a level playing field for applicants from diverse linguistic backgrounds. A standardised test helps them ensure that all applicants are evaluated on the same criteria, regardless of their native language. Specific academic programs, especially language-intensive or involving high communication and interaction, may have specific minimum IELTS score requirements.

  • Q. Is 6.5 IELTS sufficient for admission to US universities?

    A. Most US universities accept IELTS exam scores ranging from 6 to 6.5. However, to gain admission to a top-ranked university in the United States, the student must score at least 7.0. A score of 6.5 on the IELTS is generally considered a moderate score. It might be sufficient for admission to some US universities and programs, especially those without high language proficiency requirements. However, it’s essential to understand that the specific English language proficiency requirements can vary widely between universities and programs.

  • Q. What is the needed IELTS score for US immigration?

    A. To pass the IELTS test and be eligible for a US visa, you must have an overall score of 6.5 and a 7.0 band score. You must demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency if you apply for the F-1 student visa to study in the US. Most universities have their language requirements, which might include submitting IELTS scores. Some institutions might accept a score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS. The H-1B visa is for skilled workers in specialised occupations. While there is no specific IELTS score requirement for this visa, a good command of English is typically necessary, as you will need to communicate effectively in your job.

  • Q. How is the IELTS exam administered?

    A. The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is administered in a standardised format to assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. The exam is designed to measure your ability to understand, use, and communicate effectively in English across four language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking

  • Q. What IELTS score is required for a student visa in the USA?

    A. Most universities’ required IELTS score for a student visa in the USA is 6.5. The English language proficiency requirements for a student visa (F-1 visa) to study in the USA can vary depending on the specific institution and program you plan to attend. Each university or college may have minimum English language proficiency requirements for international students. These requirements can include a specific IELTS score or scores from other English language proficiency tests.

  • Q. What is the payment method for sending your IELTS score to the universities?

    A. You can pay via card or demand draft. Check the official website for more details! After you have taken the IELTS test and received your scores, you might decide to send your scores to additional universities or institutions. In this case, you must submit an additional score report request.

  • Q. How many universities in the USA accept IELTS scores?

    A. The IELTS test score is accepted and recognised by over 3,400 educational institutions in the USA. When considering applying to specific universities in the USA, visiting their official websites and checking their admission requirements for international students is recommended. Most universities provide clear information about the accepted English language proficiency tests, including IELTS, and the minimum score requirements for each program. This will give you the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding IELTS score acceptance at the universities you’re interested in.

  • Q. What is a good IELTS score for the USA?

    A. A commonly accepted IELTS score for studying in the USA is 6.5. Still, for students aspiring to receive a scholarship, aiming for a score of 7 or higher is recommended, with a minimum of 6.5 in each module. A “good” IELTS score for the USA can vary depending on the university, program, and level of study you are applying to. Different institutions and programs may have different minimum English language proficiency requirements, and what is considered a good score for one program might differ for another.

  • Q. What is the required IELTS score for MS in the US?

    A. Most US universities typically accept IELTS exam scores of 6 to 6.5. However, to secure admission to a highly-ranked university in the United States, a minimum score of 7.0 is generally required. Many universities might have a minimum IELTS score requirement for admission to their MS programs. Depending on the institution and program, this minimum score could range from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • Q. How many times can I write the IELTS exam in a year?

    A. You can write the IELTS exam 48 times a year. The IELTS exam is offered on specific dates throughout the year. The availability of test dates can vary depending on the test centre and location. Some test centres offer the exam multiple times a month, while others might have fewer options.

  • Q. Do USA universities accept 5.5 scores?

    A. Yes, a few colleges give admissions for students with low IELTS band scores of 6.0 and 5.5. A score of 5.5 on the IELTS might not be widely accepted by many universities in the USA, especially for academic programs. While there might be exceptions or specific programs with lower language proficiency requirements, a score of 5.5 is generally considered a lower level of English proficiency

Avatar photo
Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

Articles: 693