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27 October 2023

9 minutes read

Suny Buffalo TOEFL Requirement: Your Path to Admission

Are you an international student aspiring to join the University at Buffalo (UB), part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system? Admission to UB is an exciting opportunity, but you need to meet certain criteria, including TOEFL requirements, to ensure your success in this academic environment.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the TOEFL requirements at UB, along with other crucial admission criteria, to help you navigate the application process smoothly.

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Admission Criteria at the University at Buffalo

At UB, academic excellence is highly valued. To be considered for admission, international students must meet specific requirements. Let’s delve into the key criteria in detail:

English Language Proficiency

One of the most critical requirements for international admissions is demonstrating English language proficiency. UB accepts various standardized tests to prove your English proficiency, including TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

Minimum scores: UB generally requires a minimum TOEFL score of 79 or an IELTS score of 6.5. However, some programs may have higher proficiency requirements, so it’s essential to check with your department for specific requirements.

Understanding English Language Proficiency Requirements

To succeed in UB’s rigorous academic environment, it’s vital to understand the English language proficiency requirements in depth. Here are some key points to consider:

TOEFL Score: The TOEFL score required for admission varies depending on the program. While the minimum score is often 79, some programs may require a higher score. It’s crucial to check the specific requirements for your chosen program on UB’s official website or by contacting the admissions office.

IELTS Score: If you plan to submit an IELTS score instead of TOEFL, a minimum overall band score of 6.5 is generally required. Again, make sure to verify the requirements for your intended program.

Exemptions: In some cases, you may be exempt from English proficiency tests if you have completed certain academic qualifications. For example, if you have earned a degree from a college or university where English is the primary language of instruction, you may not need to take TOEFL or IELTS. However, exemption criteria can vary, so it’s essential to contact UB’s Office of International Admissions for clarification.

Improving Your English Proficiency: If your English proficiency scores fall below the minimum requirement, don’t despair. UB offers ESL (English as a Second Language) classes that can help you enhance your language skills and meet the necessary standards.

These classes are designed to provide additional support to international students who need to strengthen their English language abilities before fully engaging in their academic programs.

Holistic Review: It’s important to note that UB takes a holistic approach to admissions. This means that even if your English proficiency scores are slightly below the minimum requirement, your application will still be reviewed comprehensively.

Admissions officers consider various factors beyond just test scores, such as your academic background, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and achievements. If you believe your application showcases your potential, it’s worth applying and explaining any circumstances that may have affected your test scores.

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GPA and Academic Requirements

Apart from English language proficiency, your academic performance plays a significant role in the admission process at UB. To succeed in UB’s rigorous academic environment, you need to maintain a strong academic record.

Freshman applicants are typically expected to have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). If you’ve completed college-level coursework, your overall college GPA will also be considered.

Understanding GPA Requirements

Understanding the GPA requirements is essential to prepare a competitive application. Here’s what you need to know:

High School GPA: If you are a freshman applicant, your high school GPA is a critical component of your application. A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is generally considered competitive.

However, it’s important to remember that admission to UB is competitive, and meeting the minimum GPA requirement does not guarantee acceptance. Admissions officers also consider other factors such as standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and your personal statement.

College GPA: If you have completed college-level coursework before applying to UB, your overall college GPA will be taken into account. This is especially important for transfer students. A strong college GPA can offset a lower high school GPA and improve your chances of admission.

Holistic Review: As with English proficiency requirements, UB conducts a holistic review of your application, considering various aspects of your academic and personal background.

This means that even if your GPA is slightly below the minimum requirement, your application may still be competitive if other parts of your application are strong.

Admission Tests

While TOEFL or IELTS measures your English proficiency, other standardized tests like the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) might be necessary for certain graduate programs at UB. These tests assess your readiness for advanced academic study in specific fields.

Standardized Tests for Graduate Programs

If you’re planning to pursue a graduate degree at UB, it’s crucial to be aware of the standardized tests commonly required for admission to these programs:

GRE (Graduate Record Examination): The GRE is a widely accepted test for graduate admissions in various fields, including science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. UB may require GRE scores for specific programs, and competitive scores are often expected.

GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test): If you are applying to a business or management program at UB, you may need to take the GMAT. This test assesses your skills and readiness for business school and MBA programs.

Specific Program Requirements: Keep in mind that each graduate program at UB may have its own standardized test requirements. It’s essential to review the admission requirements for your chosen program carefully. Additionally, some programs may grant waivers for these tests based on certain qualifications or professional experience.

Recognized Tests

UB recognizes a range of English proficiency tests, including PTE (Pearson Test of English) and DET (Duolingo English Test). It’s important to check which tests are accepted for your specific program.

Alternative English Proficiency Tests

While TOEFL and IELTS are commonly accepted for demonstrating English proficiency, UB also recognizes alternative tests:

PTE (Pearson Test of English): PTE is another English proficiency test that assesses your listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. UB may accept PTE scores as an alternative to TOEFL or IELTS. Be sure to confirm this with the admissions office.

DET (Duolingo English Test): The DET is an online English proficiency test that evaluates your language skills through various tasks. UB may consider DET scores for admission purposes, but requirements may vary by program.

Check Program Specifics: As with TOEFL and IELTS, it’s essential to check whether your chosen program accepts PTE or DET scores and what the minimum score requirements are.

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Application Deadlines

Be mindful of application deadlines when applying to UB. Missing these deadlines can affect your chances of admission, so it’s crucial to stay organized and submit your application materials on time.

Importance of Meeting Deadlines

Meeting application deadlines is a crucial part of the admissions process. Here’s why it’s essential:

Competitive Advantage: Submitting your application before the deadline gives you a competitive advantage. Admissions officers can review your application earlier, increasing your chances of being considered in the first round of admissions.

Limited Slots: Some programs at UB may have a limited number of available slots, and they fill up quickly. Applying early ensures you have a better chance of securing a spot in your desired program.

Financial Aid: If you are applying for financial aid, scholarships, or assistantships, meeting the application deadline is often a requirement. Missing the deadline may result in missed opportunities for financial assistance.

Peace of Mind: Submitting your application well in advance of the deadline reduces stress and allows you to focus on other aspects of your preparations, such as gathering supporting documents and preparing for interviews.

Late Applications: While some institutions may consider late applications, UB may not. It’s always best to adhere to the specified deadlines to ensure your application is reviewed.

Applying to Multiple Programs: If you plan to apply to multiple programs at UB, each program may have its own application deadline. Be sure to check and note these deadlines to avoid any confusion.

Credit for International Baccalaureate (IB)

Understanding IB Credits: The International Baccalaureate program offers rigorous coursework that can provide you with advanced standing at UB. If you have completed IB courses and have earned an IB diploma or certificates, you may be eligible for college credit.

Transferring IB Credits: To transfer IB credits, you’ll need to submit your official IB transcript and diploma or certificate to UB’s admissions office. UB typically grants credit for higher-level IB courses in which you have earned scores of 4 or higher.

The specific credit policies may vary by department and program, so it’s advisable to reach out to the admissions office and your intended department for detailed information.

AP Courses and Credits

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are another way to earn college credit before attending UB. If you’ve taken AP courses and exams, UB may award college credit based on your scores. Typically, a score of 3 or higher on AP exams is required to earn credit. Again, the specific policies may vary by department and program.

Boosting Your Academic Profile: Earning college credit through IB or AP can help you start your college journey at UB with advanced standing. This can be particularly advantageous, allowing you to explore more advanced coursework and potentially graduate earlier.

Note: While IB and AP credits can provide a head start, they may not necessarily exempt you from meeting other admission requirements, such as English proficiency tests.


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Holistic Review Process

UB follows a holistic review process for admissions, which means that they consider various aspects of your application beyond just test scores and grades. This approach allows admissions officers to assess your potential as a student and your fit within the academic community.

Factors Considered in Holistic Review

In the holistic review process, admissions officers take a comprehensive look at your application. Here are some of the factors they consider:

Academic Record: Your high school or college GPA, the rigor of your coursework, and trends in your academic performance are all carefully evaluated.

Standardized Test Scores: While test scores are just one piece of the puzzle, they are still an important part of your application. UB considers your TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT, or other relevant test scores in the context of your overall application.

Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, or mentors can provide valuable insights into your character, work ethic, and potential as a student. Choose recommenders who can speak to your academic abilities and character.

Personal Statement: Your personal statement or essay is an opportunity to showcase your personality, goals, and motivations. Be sure to craft a compelling statement that reflects your genuine interests and aspirations.

Extracurricular Activities: Involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service can demonstrate your commitment to personal growth and contribution to society.

Work Experience: For graduate programs and some undergraduate programs, relevant work experience may be considered. Highlight how your professional background aligns with your academic goals.

Diversity and Background: UB values diversity and seeks to create a vibrant and inclusive community. Your unique background, experiences, and perspectives can contribute to the university’s diversity and may be considered in the admissions process.

Interviews: Some programs at UB may require interviews as part of the application process. Prepare for interviews by researching the program and being ready to discuss your qualifications and goals.

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Succeeding in UB’s Rigorous and Demanding Academic Environment

Once you’ve met the TOEFL requirements and other admission criteria and have been accepted to UB, you’ll embark on your academic journey in a rigorous and demanding academic environment. Here are some tips on how to excel academically at UB:

Tips for Academic Success at UB

1. Attend Orientation: UB typically offers orientation programs for international students. Attend these sessions to familiarize yourself with campus resources, academic expectations, and important information about living in Buffalo.

2. Seek Academic Support: UB provides a range of academic support services, including tutoring, writing centers, and study groups. Don’t hesitate to use these resources if you need assistance with coursework.

3. Manage Your Time: Effective time management is key to success. Create a schedule that allows you to balance classes, study time, and extracurricular activities.

4. Get Involved: Join student organizations, clubs, and extracurricular activities that interest you. Involvement in campus life can enrich your college experience and help you make friends.

5. Build Relationships with Professors: Establishing relationships with your professors can be beneficial. They can provide guidance, mentorship, and letters of recommendation when needed.

6. Embrace Diversity: UB is a diverse and inclusive community. Embrace the opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. This diversity can enhance your educational experience.

7. Communicate: If you face challenges, whether academic or personal, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. UB has support services in place to assist students with a wide range of issues.

8. Plan for the Future: Think about your long-term goals and career aspirations. UB offers career services to help you plan for your future and connect with job opportunities.

9. Stay Healthy: Take care of your physical and mental health. UB has healthcare services and counseling available to students.

10. Enjoy Buffalo: Buffalo is a vibrant city with a lot to offer. Take time to explore the city, enjoy its cultural attractions, and make the most of your time at UB.


Meeting the TOEFL requirements and other admission criteria at the University at Buffalo is the first step to succeed in this rigorous academic environment. Ensure you understand the specific requirements for your chosen program and adhere to application deadlines.

UB, as one of the best public research universities, offers a wealth of opportunities for international students who excel academically. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact UB’s Office of International Admissions.

Your journey to academic excellence at UB begins here, and with the right preparation and dedication, you can thrive in this dynamic educational community. Best of luck on your path to admission and academic success at the University at Buffalo!


Q1. Can I get an exemption from English proficiency tests?

In some cases, you might be exempt from English proficiency tests if you have completed certain academic qualifications, such as a degree from a college or university where English is the primary language of instruction. UB’s Office of International Admissions can provide specific guidance on exemptions.

Q2. What if my TOEFL/IELTS scores are below the minimum requirement?

Scores below the minimum requirement may still be considered, but it’s essential to demonstrate your language abilities through other means, such as strong academic performance in English-related courses.

Q3. Can I improve my English proficiency while at UB?

Yes, UB offers ESL (English as a Second Language) classes that can help you enhance your language skills.

Q4. What if my GPA is below 3.0?

While a GPA of 3.0 is the general requirement, UB takes a holistic approach to admissions. Your application will be reviewed comprehensively, considering factors beyond GPA.

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