English Proficiency Requirement

English Proficiency Requirement

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

Important Updates for Summer 2020

We are aware that students may face challenges when trying to meet the English Proficiency requirement due to closures around the world. If you are unable to submit an eligible transcript OR one of the accepted test scores based on these circumstances, please email us at proficiency@summer.harvard.edu to discuss your options. 

Secondary School and Pre-College Program Applicants

For instructions on meeting this requirement, see Secondary School Program Admissions and Pre-College Program Admissions. The information on this page applies only to general program students.

Adult or College Students Taking Courses in a Seven- or Three-Week Session

To meet the English proficiency requirement for registration, you must provide one of the following satisfactory transcripts or satisfactory test scores by the English proficiency deadline:

Submit a qualifying transcript as described below:

Submit an official transcript, or a copy of an official transcript, showing completion of a high school diploma, an undergraduate degree (bachelor's), or a graduate degree (master's or PhD) at a school, college, or university located in the United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, at which English is the sole language of instruction.

Transcript requirements:

  • Transcripts must indicate completion of high school, a three- or four-year bachelor's degree, or a graduate degree (master's or PhD). Degrees in progress will not be considered.
  • Transcripts must show at least one year of study and graduation from a campus located in one of these six countries mentioned above.
  • Transcripts from schools whose language of instruction is English but are not physically located in one of the six approved countries are ineligible.

Submission of transcripts

  • Upload copies of your transcripts in online services using the "Document Management" page.
    • When uploading transcripts and diplomas from the same school, please combine PDFs and submit them together rather than submitting multiple PDFs.
  • Have your school send your official transcript to proficiency@summer.harvard.edu

Please note, we are not able to review paper transcripts delivered to us via mail or courier at the moment. Transcripts should be submitted electronically. 

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

Provide the minimum approved score on the TOEFL iBT, IELTS Academic, or PTEA. Take the test well before registration begins to ensure that your score is received by the English proficiency deadline. Scores must be no more than two years old and must be verifiable.

Test Minimum Approved Score
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic
  • 7.0
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA)
  • 70


Please note, we do not accept the Institutional TOEFL (also known as the TOEFL ITP) or the MyBest TOEFL scores.

Students who have neither a satisfactory transcript nor a satisfactory test score must schedule a qualifying English proficiency test and submit an up-to-date satisfactory test score in order to qualify to take Harvard Summer School courses.

Submission of Scores

  • Have your official score sent electronically to the Harvard Summer School Office of Enrollment Management. For the TOEFL, use institution code: 8578. IELTS and PTEA do not require a specific code. You simply choose Harvard Summer School as the designated recipient. You may also upload a copy of your score report in online services using the "Document Management" page. 
  • Upload a copy of your score report in online services using the "Document Management" page.

To see if we have received your scores, log in to online services and select "Placement Tests," then "View Placement Test Scores."

If your score has been received and posted by the Office of Enrollment Management, you will see an option for "English Proficiency Tests" after selecting "View Placement Test Scores." Note that if you sent your score to another office it may not appear here.


You must meet the English proficiency requirement prior to registering for course(s). Therefore, we encourage you to submit documents prior to the start of registration.

You must also meet the English proficiency requirement before attempting the Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills (CRWS) if you plan to register for a course with this prerequisite.

New students: Create an account and provide English proficiency information before submitting your transcript or test scores.

Returning students: Visit the English Proficiency Information and Status page in online services to check your status. If you have not previously fully met the English proficiency requirement, you must submit a qualifying transcript or a test score to register for courses.

Please allow 3-5 business days for submitted documents to be reviewed.


All transcripts and scores must be submitted by Thursday, June 11.

Accurate representation

Honesty in all communications, including self-representation of native language is a requirement of student enrollment. Submission of fraudulent information is subject to review by the Administrative Board and may be ground for disciplinary action. See Student Conduct for more information.

English proficiency for other Harvard schools

Meeting the Summer School English proficiency requirement does not meet the requirement for other Harvard schools or programs, with the exception of Harvard Extension School.


Meeting the English proficiency requirement does not guarantee admission eligibility. Refer to Degree Program Admissions for more information. 


Please contact Enrollment Services at (617) 495-4024 or email proficiency@summer.harvard.edu.

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