English Language Proficiency Requirements

Heidelberg University requires that international applicants and applicants whose first language is not English have sufficient knowledge of the English language to benefit from their academic studies.


All international applicants who do not come from English-speaking countries must provide evidence of English proficiency in order to enroll in academic courses. Test scores must be within one year of the date of application to the University.

To enroll in academic courses a minimum score of one of the following is required:

  • TOEFL: 79 (iBT), 550 (TOEFL paper-based), Institutional Code: 1292
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • ELS*: 112
  • SAT score of 560 on Evidence-Based Reading & Writing section
  • ACT score of 21 on English section
  • IB Diploma Holders: IB Diploma holders will be exempt from English language proficiency requirements with verification from their school that the IB curriculum has been taught in English. 
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English): 53
  • GTEC: 1181
  • Cambridge: 180 (CEFR level C1)

* We accept completion of Level 112 of the ELS intensive English for Academic Purposes program  as proof of English proficiency for undergraduate and graduate admission. Students already meeting academic requirements may apply for Conditional Admission to specific programs of study and achieve English proficiency at ELS Language Centers. To learn more about this program, locations, start dates and to apply, visit www.els.edu or www.els.eu.

What if my scores are not high enough?

If your scores do not meet the requirements above, you can still be admitted, but you may have to take ESL courses through the Heidelberg English Language Institute (HELI) prior to starting classes in a degree program. 


Students exempt from English proficiency proof must be from the following countries:


Cayman Islands

Isle of Man New Zealand

South Africa

Antigua & Barbuda Dominica Jamaica Nigeria Swaziland
Australia England Jersey Papua New Guinea Tanzania
Bahamas Falkland Islands Kenya St. Kitts & Nevis Tonga
Barbados Fiji Lesotho St. Lucia Trinidad & Tobago
Belize Gambia Liberia St. Vincent & the Grenadines Turks & Caicos Islands
Bermuda Ghana Malawi Scotland Uganda
Botswana Gibraltar Malta Seychelles United Kingdom
British Virgin Islands Grenada Mauritius Sierra Leone Vanuatu
Cameroon Guyana Montserrat Singapore Wales
Canada (except Quebec) Ireland Namibia Solomon Islands Zambia
  • Other exceptions to the rules for the language requirements may occur in specific and circumstantial cases that prove the international student’s English proficiency in other ways.
  • Any request to be exempt from the language requirements must be submitted in writing to International Admission at international@heidelberg.edu, with supporting documentation. Heidelberg University reserves the right to approve the adequacy of the exemption request.

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