English Proficiency Requirement

English is the language of instruction at Harvard Summer School. If your native language is not English, you must provide proof of English proficiency, unless you are an admitted degree candidate in Harvard College, the Harvard Extension School, or a Harvard graduate or professional school.

How to meet the requirement

Secondary School Program applicants

See Secondary School Program Admission for instructions on meeting this requirement. The information on this page applies only to general program students.

General program students taking courses in a seven- or three-week session

Meet the requirement in one of these three ways:

  • Submit a minimum required score on the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA.

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

    Minimum score required:

    • 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT)
    • 250 on the computer-based TOEFL
    • 600 on the paper-based TOEFL

    Have your score sent electronically to the Harvard Summer School Registrar’s Office: institution code 8578.

    International English Language Testing System, Academic (Academic IELTS)

    Minimum score required: Band 7.0

    Have your score sent electronically to the Harvard Summer School Registrar’s Office.

    Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA)

    Minimum score required: 68

    Have your score sent electronically to the Harvard Summer School Registrar’s Office.

  • Submit a four-year undergraduate degree transcript from one of the listed countries.

    Submit an official transcript showing completion of a four-year undergraduate degree (of which you have completed at least three of these four years at one of the countries listed) at a college or university located in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, or the United Kingdom, at which English is the sole language of instruction.

    Have your official transcript sent electronically to:
    proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu

    or by post to:
    Registrar’s Office
    Attn: English Proficiency
    Harvard Summer School
    51 Brattle Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138

  • Submit a four-year high school transcript from one of the listed countries.

    Submit an official transcript showing completion of a four-year undergraduate degree (of which you have completed at least three of these four years at one of the countries listed) at a college or university located in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, or the United Kingdom, at which English is the sole language of instruction.

    Have your official transcript sent electronically to:
    proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu

    or by post to:
    Registrar’s Office
    Attn: English Proficiency
    Harvard Summer School
    51 Brattle Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138

Registration

  • You can register for courses before meeting the English proficiency requirement. Your registration or waitlist status will be conditional until your test score or transcript is reviewed and a determination regarding your proficiency is made.
    • Check your English proficiency status in English Proficiency Information and Status.
    • Check your course registration status in View Course Schedule.
    • If you meet the requirement, you will be officially registered or waitlisted for courses in which your status was conditional.
    • If you do not meet the requirement, you will be dropped for a full-tuition refund from those courses. Please note, the registration fee is nonrefundable.
  • Take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA if you do not have a four-year undergraduate degree or a four-year high school diploma from a school in one of the listed countries (see the requirements above). Providing the minimum test score is the only way to meet this requirement if you cannot provide transcripts as described.
  • Take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA before registration opens, if possible, to ensure your score is received by the appropriate deadline.
  • If you are a new student, create an account before registration opens or register as a new student during pre-registration or registration. You will be asked to state how you intend to meet the English proficiency requirement. Do this as early as possible to have maximum time to meet the requirement before the registration deadline.
  • If you are a returning student, you can provide requested English Proficiency information in English Proficiency Information and Status before registration opens, or answer English proficiency questions during pre-registration or registration. Do this as early as possible to have maximum time to meet the requirement before the registration deadline.
  • Meet the English proficiency requirement before attempting the test of critical reading and writing skills (CRWS) if you plan to register for a course that requires that test.

Deadlines for meeting the requirement

  • If you request an I-20: You must meet the requirement before an I-20 can be issued and no later than Monday, May 4. If you do not meet the requirement by May 4, an I-20 will not be issued to you.
  • All other students: Meet the requirement by Monday, May 18.

What if the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA is not available in my location?

If these tests are not available in your area and you have not earned a four-year undergraduate degree or four-year high school diploma at a school in one of the countries listed above, you may submit an appeal, using the English Proficiency Appeal form, to have alternate test scores or transcripts accepted for one term of enrollment.

Only documentation listed on the English Proficiency Appeal form will be considered. If you are currently attending a college or university in one of the listed countries, but you have not yet graduated, submit your transcript and the English Proficiency Appeal form, and those will be reviewed.

Appeals will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may not be approved. If your appeal is approved, it is generally for one semester only and minimum test scores are required for future enrollment.

English proficiency for other Harvard schools

Meeting the Summer School English proficiency requirement does not meet the requirement for other Harvard schools or programs, including Harvard Extension School degree programs.  

Are you considering an Extension degree program?

Review admission policies for the degree program that interests you and contact the Admissions office directly with questions about meeting the English proficiency requirement for that program.

Questions?

Please contact Enrollment Services at (617) 495-4024 or e-mail proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu. You may also reach us by fax at (617) 998-8479.