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.

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

Meet the requirement in one of these ways (click for more details):

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

Take the test well before registration begins to ensure that your score is received by the registration deadline. Scores must be no more than two years old.

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


Submission of Scores

  • Have your official score sent electronically to the Harvard Summer School (Registrar's) Office. 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.

Receipt of Scores

Check with the testing service sending your score report for expected delivery times.

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 Summer School staff, 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.

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).
  • 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.
  • Degrees in progress will not be considered.

Submission of transcripts

ATTN: English Proficiency 
Office of Enrollment Management
Harvard Summer School
51 Brattle Street, Room 602
Cambridge, MA 02138

How to Register for Courses While Meeting the Requirement

You can submit your transcript or test score year-round, if you have an account in online services. Create an account before submitting materials. Submit materials before registration opens for the best chance of meeting the deadline.

New students: Create an account and provide required English proficiency information before submitting your test score or transcript. Or, if registration is open, provide the information when you register as a new student.

Returning students: Provide required English proficiency information in the English Proficiency Information and Status page in online services before registration opens, or when you register.

You can also register before you meet the requirement, but your registration will be conditional until your test score or transcript is reviewed and a determination regarding your proficiency is made.

If you meet the requirement, you will be officially registered/waitlisted for courses in which your status was conditional.

If you do not meet the requirement, you will be dropped for a 100-percent tuition refund from those courses.

You can check your English proficiency status and your course registration status in online services, via the English Proficiency Information and Status page or the View Course Schedule page.

You must 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 the CRWS 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 6. If you do not meet the requirement by May 6, an I-20 will not be issued to you.

All other students: Meet the requirement by Monday, May 20.

English proficiency for other Harvard schools

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


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

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