TOEFL Requirements

Download TOEFL Requirements Info PDF

All graduate applicants to the Bienen School of Music whose native language is not English, regardless of citizenship, are required to submit a TOEFL score. To be considered official, a TOEFL score report must be delivered to our office directly from ETS, and cannot be more than two years old. For example, if your application is submitted on December 1, 2013, then your TOEFL report cannot be older than December 1, 2011. It is recommended that you take the TOEFL exam at least two months before the application is due, to ensure that your scores arrive by the deadline.

Photocopies, student copies, faxes and email attachments will not be accepted. Test scores arriving after the deadlines listed below will not be accepted. PhD applicants should visit the PhD application page for TOEFL requirements.

Deadlines and Required Minimum Scores

Doctor of Musical Arts

Graduate Application and prescreening due: December 1, 2013
TOEFL score due: December 1, 2013
Required minimum score for admission: 90 iBT
Use TOEFL School Code: 3732

NOTE: TOEFL scores received after December 1 will not be accepted for the DMA.

Master of Music applicants who wish to audition on campus:

Graduate Application due: December 1, 2013
Prescreening (if applicable): December 1, 2013
TOEFL score due: December 1, 2013
Required minimum score for admission: 80 iBT
Use TOEFL School Code: 3732

NOTE:  Applicants whose TOEFL scores are not received by December 1 will not be able to audition on-campus. Jazz Studies applicants are required to have an on-campus audition, so be sure to send your TOEFL score before December 1.

Master of Music applicants who cannot visit campus and will upload a recording:

Graduate Application and Audition Recording due: December 1, 2013
TOEFL score due: February 1, 2014
Required minimum score for admission: 80 iBT
Use TOEFL School Code: 3732

NOTE:  You must upload your recording at the same time that you submit your online application to Northwestern University. If we do not have your audition recording by December 1, then we will not accept a late TOEFL score. Faculty will not review your recording until your TOEFL score has been received. Applicants who choose this option will not be able to request an audition on campus for NU faculty.

TOEFL Waiver Policy

The Bienen School of Music does not grant waivers to the TOEFL requirement based upon citizenship. Applicants who have substantial training or education in English may request a TOEFL waiver. Requests for a waiver must be delivered to our office by December 1, 2013. Late requests will not be considered. Applicants requesting a TOEFL waiver must submit the following:

  1. Submit the Bienen School Graduate Application online, including the non-refundable application fee of $75.
  2. Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. If your transcripts are not in English, they must be translated into English and evaluated for U.S. grade equivalency by an approved educational credentialing service. We recommend WES or Educational Perspectives. Do not translate them yourself. Typically, you must have at least four (4) years of documented study from an institution whose language of instruction is English in order to be considered for a TOEFL waiver.
  3. Submit a letter explaining your request for a TOEFL waiver, and listing your experience writing in English.
  4. Submit a letter of recommendation from an academic (non-performance) teacher. The teacher must have supervised a course taught in English, and the course should have required you to submit multiple writing samples in English. In this recommendation letter, the teacher should speak to your ability to write essays and documents at the graduate level in English.

You will be contacted by the Office of Music Admission if your request for a TOEFL waiver has been approved. DMA applicants whose request for a TOEFL waiver is denied will not be invited to campus for an audition. MM applicants whose request for a TOEFL waiver is denied will not be able to audition on campus.