English Language Proficiency Test

The English Proficiency Test is a test of English language abilities for incoming international students.  It is administered by the English Language Institute in the Department of Linguistics. Test results are used to determine if students may benefit from additional English as a Second Language courses. The test takes up to 2 hours and is computer-based.  It is usually given on campus in a computer laboratory but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is currently being given remotely. 

As the test measures Pitt students’ general English proficiency, there is no single strategy to prepare for the test.  The proficiency testing uses Accuplacer ESL tests developed by the College Board.  Students are tested on their reading, writing, and listening abilities.  There is no speaking section. 

Who Should Take the Test? 

Only international students who have been admitted to the University of Pittsburgh may take this English test. The scores will not be reported to any institution outside the University of Pittsburgh. 

  • Undergraduate students are required to take the test*, regardless of their TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Proficiency Test scores. 

  • Graduate students should consult their schools. Generally, they will take the proficiency test if : 

    • their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) scores are below 100, or 

    • their International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are below Band 7, or

    • their Duolingo scores are below 120

*Students who are from an English proficiency exempt country and were not required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo test scores may also be exempt from taking the University’s English Proficiency Test.  See the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid website for more detailed information.     

Academic departments are encouraged to review the sub-scores of the tests to determine if there are specific areas of weakness. Academic departments may ask graduate students who score 7.0 or lower on the IELTS or 100 or lower on the TOEFL iBT or 120 or lower on the Duolingo English exam to take the test.


Testing for the fall 2022 semester is open and will continue throughout the summer until the end of the add/drop period on September 9.

To register for the online test, please send the following information to pitttest@pitt.edu 

  • your legal name 
  • your date of birth in this style: July 15, 2002
  • your PeopleSoft number (this is a University of Pittsburgh identification number; if you don't know it, your advisor can find it)
  • your University of Pittsburgh email address

After you are registered, you will receive an email from Examity, our online test proctoring service. The email will be sent to your University of Pittsburgh email address. It will give you instructions on how to schedule and take the test online. It will also contain a voucher number, which will allow you to take the test free of charge to you. The voucher will have an expiration date, and you should take the test before that date.


Information for Advisors and Faculty 

The following are procedures for university staff/faculty for score reporting and interpretation. 

Score Reports and Recommendations 

  • Tests are scored and recommendations are completed before the end of the next business day after students take the test. 

  • Test scores and recommendations are posted in PeopleSoft for reference by academic departments and advisors. The recommendations appear in PeopleSoft as REC1, REC2, and REC3, and the scores indicate which language support class(es) are recommended for the student. The possible courses we recommend and their matching PeopleSoft codes are as follows: 

REC Score in PeopleSoft 

Recommended course 

Course title 


LING 0007 

Intermediate ESL Writing 


LING 0008 

ESL Speaking and Listening 


LING 0009 

Advanced ESL Writing 


LING 0010 

ESL Reading and Vocabulary 


ENGR 2050 

Technical Writing for Engineers 



ESL Workshop in Composition 

If there is no REC, this means that the student has demonstrated satisfactory language proficiency and does not require further English language support. If you do not see a REC field/line for a particular student, please contact pitttest@pitt.edu. 

Information about ESL courses at Pitt 

The English Language Institute in the Department of Linguistics offers four ESL for-credit courses for incoming international students. The courses are designed to provide language support for students who have been accepted by the university but may need additional language training in English.  The courses are as follows: 

  • Linguistics 7: Intermediate ESL Writing (for undergraduate students).  The class is a pre-requisite for English Composition 152).  

  • Linguistics 8: ESL Speaking and Listening. 

  • Linguistics 9: Advanced ESL Writing (for graduate students). 

  • Linguistics 10: ESL Reading and Vocabulary. 

Additionally, the English Composition program at Pitt offers an undergraduate workshop in composition for ESL students (ENGCOMP 152) and the Swanson School of Engineering offers a Technical Writing course for graduate ESL students (ENGR 2050).  The School of Computing and Information also offers a course in technical writing for ESL students (INFSCI 2205). 

If a student is recommended for 3 ESL classes, he/she may require more intensive English Language Training before pursuing a degree at Pitt.  For these situations, we recommend that advisors contact the Student Support Supervisor at the English Language Institute.  


Contact Information 

For questions about the Proficiency Test or ESL courses at Pitt, please contact the testing supervisor at pitttest@pitt.edu