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International Applicants

International students walking in their graduation regalia and carrying a flag representing their country.

International Applicants

International graduate students are a vital part of The University of Oklahoma family. With more than 2,000 international students from more than 130 countries, OU is a truly global community. 

International Degree Equivalency

Does your degree equate to a U.S. degree?

Immigration & Student Visas

Find out more about obtaining an I-20 and the student visa process.

English Proficiency

International applicants are required to provide proof of English proficiency.

Application Timeline

If you are thinking of applying to graduate school, consider the following questions:

Have you earned at least the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, or will you earn this degree before the semester you would like to start your graduate studies?

Yes

  • You qualify for graduate study. Remember to submit a copy of your transcript when you apply.

No

  • You are not eligible for graduate study at The University of Oklahoma. See International Undergraduate Admissions if you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree at OU. Once you complete a bachelor’s degree, you will be eligible to apply for a graduate program.

 

Do you know which program you want to apply to?

Yes

Research your graduate program. Learn about faculty research interests, supplemental application requirements, and academic unit application deadlines. To maximize your chance of admission, contact your program and the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work.

No

Explore OU graduate programs offered for additional information.

 

Have you demonstrated English Proficiency?

Yes

Upload your unofficial TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score report or transcript from a U.S. school or other English-speaking country that you attended when you apply. After you apply, request official copies be sent to The University of Oklahoma.

No

Take the TOEFLIELTS, PTE or visit the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) website. You may also qualify for the Graduate English Pathway program.

 

Do you have enough money to pay for your study in the U.S.?

Yes

Ensure that you will have enough funding for your entire graduate program. When you apply, submit the required financial support documentation.

No

International students are not eligible for U.S. federal financial aid. However, graduate assistantships may be available from your graduate program. Contact your academic unit for additional information regarding the availability of graduate assistantships and how to apply.

Note: If you are admitted to a graduate program, you must submit funding documentation for your first year of study before your I-20 or DS-2019 can be processed.

  • Apply before both the general international deadline and your academic unit’s deadline. Many programs give priority to early applicants, so apply early if possible.
  • Complete the online application.
  • To expedite processing of your application, upload unofficial transcripts, TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores, and any supplemental application documents (GRE, resume, statement of purpose, etc.) required by your academic unit to the application. You may also submit these later, but doing so may delay your admission decision.
  • Pay the $100 application fee and submit the application.
  • Send official transcripts, official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores, and official GRE or GMAT scores (if applicable) after you submit your application. If admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts, so send them early.
  • Do not send transcripts, test scores, or any other application materials to the Graduate College Admissions until you have submitted the online application. 

You will receive several emails from the Graduate College Admissions throughout the application process. These emails will tell you where your application is in the process and let you know if we need any additional documents or information from you. If you have additional questions, you may:

  • Check the status of your application online.
  • Call or email Graduate College Admissions at gradadm@ou.edu or your Admissions Counselor to inquire about your status and ensure that all required documents have been received.
  • Contact your academic unit. Remember, your academic unit may have additional application requirements, separate from those outlined here or communicated by your Admissions Counselor. 
  • You will receive an email informing you that your decision letter is available to view on the application portal. Follow the link to view your decision. You will not receive a paper letter.
  • If you are admitted, the International Student Services office (ISS) will process your I-20 or DS-2019. You will receive an email from ISS shortly after your admission that will describe the I-20 or DS-2019 process. You will be instructed to complete the enclosed Initial I-20 form. Please read the email carefully and provide any requested documents promptly.
  • If you are currently living in the U.S. on an F-1 or other visa, ISS will contact you with instructions for transferring your I-20 or DS-2019 or changing your status to a student visa.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines for each academic program can be found on the Apply webpage. Many programs have deadlines earlier than those listed below. In that case, the earlier deadline takes precedence.

If your academic program either does not have a deadline or has one that is later than those listed below, then the date listed below is your deadline. 

Fall Semester (starting in August): April 1

Spring Semester (starting in January): September 1

Summer Semester (starting in May): February 1

The above application deadlines apply only to international students who reside outside the United States. If you are currently studying in the U.S., then your academic program's U.S. deadline applies.

Transcripts

For most international applicants, a complete academic record includes:

  • Transcripts
    • An official, complete transcript notating all degree coursework.
    • Indian Applicants only - Applicants that have earned degrees from India should provide individual semester mark sheets that notate all repeated coursework. Consolidated mark sheets may be submitted, but will only be accepted if accompanied by individual semester mark sheets.   
  • Degree Certificate or Diploma
    • A degree certificate or diploma is not required if the transcript notates the name of the degree and the date it was conferred.
  • Graduation Certificate 
    • Chinese applicants only - Applicants from China should also submit a graduation certificate in addition to the degree certificate or diploma.
  • A Diploma Supplement (if the degree is Bologna-compliant).

If your academic records are in a language other than English, you must provide both the original document and an official or certified, word-for-word English translation.

Applicants must submit a transcript from the college or university where they earned their most recent degree in order to be considered for admission. If the transcript is not in English then a certfied English translation should be included. For example, if you have both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, you must provide a copy of the transcript from your master’s degree. If you are currently in a degree program and will earn that degree before the semester you are applying for, you must submit a transcript from your current institution.

To minimize your application’s time to review, please upload a copy of your official transcript and degree certificate directly to the application.

If you are admitted, you must submit official academic records from all institutions where you earned a degree. This should include an official transcript, degree certificate and certified English translations. You can either schedule an appointment with your admissions counselor to submit your official documents to our office when you arrive on campus or mail them to:

Graduate College Admissions
731 Elm Avenue, Room 213
Norman, OK 73019

Official Transcripts

Official transcriptus are required if you are admitted.

  • These are the original documents or attested copies.
  • DO NOT mail your official transcripts if they are the only official documents you will ever receive from your previous institution. If your school will not issue multiple official academic records, contact your Admissions Counselor and plan on bringing them in person when you arrive on campus.
Unofficial Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts are uploaded as part of the application process.

  • Photocopies of original documents are unofficial.
  • Any transcript that you upload to the application or email to our office is, by definition, unofficial.

 

International Degree Equivalency

To earn a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. educational system, students complete 16 years of formal education –12 years of elementary and secondary education plus four years of undergraduate study.

To be eligible for graduate study at The University of Oklahoma, you must have received at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an institution approved to offer credit and degrees at the bachelor's level or higher by the home country's Ministry of Education (or other government authorized authority).

Your Admissions Counselor will review your academic records and determine whether you are meet the eligibility requirements. In some circumstances, we may request that you submit additional documentation to assist in this evaluation process.

Equivalent International Degrees

The following are common examples of international degrees that are considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree. This is not a compehensive list of all equivalent international degrees. If you do not see your degree on this list please contact Graduate College Admissions.

Bachelor's Degree

The Bachelor's degree that represents at least four years of study from Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom


 

  • B. Tech and B. Eng and similarly titled degrees that represent four or more years of post-secondary study from Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, and Pakistan
  • Honour's Bachelor's from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and British-style schools and universities
  • Licenciado and Titulo degrees from Central and South America, Mexico, Portugal, and Spain
  • Lisans Derecesi/Diplomasi  from Turkey
  •  The Maîtrise degree from France or French-style schools and universities
  • Bakkalaureus, Akademiebrief, and Diplom (FH) from Germany

Non-Equivalent International Degrees

The following are common examples of international degrees that are not considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree. This is not a compehensive list of non-equivalent international degrees. If you have questions about your degree's equivalency, please contact Graduate College Admissions.

 

Two or Three-year Bachelor's Degree

Two- or three-year Bachelor’s degrees (B.A., B.Com., B.Sc., B.C.A.) from Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, and Pakistan

 


 

  • Diplôme d’Études Universitaires Générales (DEUG) or Licence from France or French-style schools and universities
  • Three-year Ordinary or Pass bachelor’s degrees from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and British-style schools and universities

English Proficiency

The language of instruction at OU is English. Adequate English language skills are essential to academic success. If you are not from one of OU-Approved, English-speaking Countries*, you will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency for studying at OU, before admission, by doing one of the following:

  • Scoring 79 or higher on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT). Consistency across subsections will be examined. Generally, a minimum score of 20 is expected in each subsection (i.e., Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing)

  • Scoring 6.5 or higher on the IELTS Academic or IELTS Indicator. Consistency across subsections will be examined. Generally, a minimum score of 6.0 is expected in each subsection (i.e., Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing). 

  • Scoring 60 or higher on Pearson's PTE Academic. Consistency across subsections will be examined. Generally, a minimum score of 55 is expected in each subsection (i.e., the communicative skills of Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing). 

  • Completing at least 24 credit hours at an accredited college or university in the United States or an OU-approved, English-speaking country.

  • Earning a bachelor’s degree (or higher) at an accredited university in the United States or an OU-approved, English-speaking country.

  • Successfully completing the OU Track intensive English language program at OU's Center for English as a Second Language (CESL). 

  • Successfully completing the Graduate English Pathway Program (GEP) at OU's CESL.

*Not all countries which have English listed as an official language are considered exempt from English proficiency requirements. See the list of OU-Approved, English-Speaking Countries.


Programs with Higher English Proficiency Requirements

The following graduate programs require higher English proficiency scores than the University minimum scores listed above.  

  • Accounting
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Business Administration
  • Engineering Physics
  • Management Information Technology
  • Political Science
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Public Administration
Arial image of the seed sower in front of the south oval in the spring.


Sending Your Official Test Scores to the Graduate College

Applicants must submit official test scores to Graduate College Admissions. Test scores expire after two years; scores over two years old by the beginning of the term in which you wish to start are not accepted.

Send your official English proficiency test scores to OU through the official test website and selecting the University of Oklahoma (Norman Campus).

  • For TOEFL the institution code for OU is 6879. OU accepts official paper and electronic score reports sent directly from ETS to our office.
  • For IELTS OU accepts official paper and electronic  score reports sent directly from the British Council to our office.
  • For PTE OU accepts official paper and electronic score reports sent directly from Pearsons to our office.

English Proficiency Test Resources and Options

Visit the TOEFL website for more information about the TOEFL iBT, testing centers, dates for upcoming and test preparation resources.

  • TOEFL iBT - The TOEFL iBT is standard TOEFL exam taken by students. It measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. 
  • TOEFL iBT Home Edition test - The TOEFL iBT Home Edition test is a testing solution instituted by ETS due to the testing center closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about availability, please visit the TOEFL website. 
  • Both the TOEFL iBT and the TOEFL iBT Home Edition are accepted by the University of Oklahoma. 
  • The University of Oklahoma does NOT currently accept the TOEFL Essentials Test.
  • Free test preparation – The TOEFL® Program has developed free online course on edX and shares other free materials on its website.

Visit the IELTS website for more information about the IELTS test, sample questions, locations and dates for the upcoming tests. 

  • IELTS Academic - The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education. It reflects features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.
  • IELTS Online - The IELTS Online can be taken online and is accepted by OU.  For more information about availability, please visit the IELTS website.
  • IELTS Indicator - The IELTS Indicator is no longer offered by the British Council, but OU will continue to accept IELTS Indicator tests that are not older that two years.
  • Both the IELTS Academic and the IELTS Indicator are accepted by the University of Oklahoma.
  • Sample test questions - The British Council provides test preparation in the form of sample test questions.

Visit the Pearson PTE  website for information about the PTE test, testing availiability, locations, format and test preparations.

  • PTE Academic -The PTE Academic test is a standard test for students wishing to pursue higher education. 
  • PTE preparation - Find more information about the PTE.

Duolingo English Test

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OU Graduate Admissions currently accepts the Duolingo English Test (DET) in the following limited capacity:

  • An applicant submits a DET score of 120 or higher AND a qualifying but expired TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic test score.
  • The TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score must be expired by no more than 1 year.
  • Applicants can only take the DET twice per admissions cycle.
  • Consistency across subsections will be examined. Generally, a minimum score of 105 on the DET is expected in each subsection (i.e., literacy, comprehension, conversation, and production).

If an applicant earns a DET score of 120, but has not previously taken the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE and earned a qualifying score for OU admission, then they cannot use the DET alone as a method of English proficiency satisfaction.


Graduate English Pathway Program

The Graduate English Pathway (GEP) Program is a collaborative initiative by the Graduate College, College of International Studies, and graduate academic programs. This program allows international graduate applicants with English proficiency scores  just below those required to begin their graduate degree programs while simultaneously completing English language training.

What is the GEP?

The Graduate English Pathway Program (GEP) program allows international graduate applicants with English proficiency test scores slightly below OU's admission minimums to be admitted to OU on a conditional basis while simultaneously completing up to two semesters of English language training at the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) at OU.

Participants will complete 20 hours per week in the CESL GEP course in the morning and up to six credit hours of academic program coursework in the afternoons and/or evenings. 

The GEP program lasts 1-2 semesters, depending on the first semester's performance. Upon successful completion of the GEP, participants can transition fully into their academic program coursework.

Participating Academic Units

The following programs are participating in the GEP program:

  • Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical, Biological & Materials Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Construction Science
  • Data Science Analytics
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

This is the launch year of the GEP program, so more programs are likely to participate in coming years. If you are a faculty and want your unit to participate, please contact Jessica Reynolds.

International applicants qualify for GEP nomination by meeting the following two criteria:

1) Be recommended for admission by a graduate academic unit that is participating in the GEP program. 

2) Achieve one of the following English proficiency test scores:

  • 61-78 TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • 5.5-6.0 IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
  • 50-59 PTE (Pearson Test of English)
  • 100-110 DET (Duolingo English Test)

    The submitted English proficiency test scores cannot be expired. 

Note: This program is currently designed as an in-person experience, so this requires enrollment in an in-person program course in addition to in-person CESL instruction.

The cost of the GEP program depends on the participant's academic unit/program, the amount of funding offered by the participant's academic unit/program, and the number of credit hours the participant is allowed to enroll in. 

GEP participants are allowed to enroll in 3-6 credit hours while in the program, but there is a limit of 4 credit hours for those who hold a GA position. 

Below is a list of the general sources of costs for the GEP program. For more specific cost estimates, see the International Student Services page regarding financial documentation.

  • CESL course fee - this fee will be $3,000 for every participant, per semester
  • Tuition and fees for 3-6 credit hours of graduate level coursework 
  • Living expenses for one to two semesters in Oklahoma 

If you have already submitted qualifying English proficiency test scores, the next step is to check with your academic unit faculty and/or administrators to see if the program you applied to is participating in the GEP.

If yes, you can indicate to the program faculty that you are interested in the GEP program. Academic program faculty decide which applicants to nominate for the GEP.

Immigration and Student Visas

After you are admitted, you must obtain a visa that allows you to study in the United States. Most international students come to OU with either a Student (F-1) visa or an Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa. Some specific circumstances may allow you to study with a different visa, such as an H-1B, but that is uncommon. Review the information listed below, but also visit the International Student Services (ISS) office for a more in-depth review of the immigration and student visa process.

 

International Student Services

F-1 Visa Requirements

The majority of international students obtain an F-1 visa to study in the U.S. In order to apply for an F-1 visa, you must have a Form I-20, which is issued by the International Student Services (ISS) office. Providing the following documents will allow International Student Services to issue your Form I-20.

Financial Documentation

Under U.S. immigration law, you must provide evidence that you have enough money to pay for the first year of your academic program, including tuition and fees, books, living expenses, and extra funds for dependents (if applicable). You can find the estimated yearly costs of your program on the International Student Services website. Financial documents include the following:

  1. A bank statement, certificate of deposit, or certificate of balance signed or stamped by a bank official that is no more than 90 days old when submitted that shows a liquid balance equaling at least the amount of your first year’s expenses. See the ISS website for more information about acceptable financial documents.
  2. If the financial document is under someone else’s name, the account holder must complete a Financial Support Letter to be submitted with the financial document.
  3. If you will be financially supported by a business, government, or corporate sponsorship, provide a letter of support listing the duration of promised support and monetary amount of support being offered.

You will also be expected to have adequate funds to support yourself for the entire duration of your degree program (estimated at 2-3 years for master’s and 4-6 years for doctoral students).

Passport Copy

Your name and birth date in our records must exactly match those printed on your passport for you to be approved for a visa. Send a copy of the name page of your passport so the spelling of your name and your birth date can be verified.

Dependent Documents

If you plan to bring your spouse and/or children with you to the U.S., you must provide copies of the name pages of their passports as well as a copy of your marriage license and/or copies of your children’s birth certificates.

The above documents can be uploaded to your application, or you can wait to provide them until later. Note that processing of your I-20 will be delayed if International Student Services does not receive all required documents before admission.

J-1 Visa Requirements

If you are being sponsored by your government, international agency, or another entity to study in the U.S., you may be required to apply for a J-1 Visitor Exchange visa. This is fairly rare. If you don’t know which visa you should apply for, you probably need an F-1 visa.

In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you will need Form DS-2019, which is issued by the International Student Services (ISS) office. Providing the following documents will allow International Student Services to issue your Form DS-2019.

Financial Documentation

Provide a letter of support from the entity that is sponsoring your study in the U.S.

Passport Copy

Your name and birth date in our records must exactly match those printed on your passport for you to be approved for a visa. Send a copy of the name page of your passport so the spelling of your name and your birth date can be verified.

Dependent Documents

If you plan to bring your spouse and/or children with you to the U.S., you must provide copies of the name pages of their passports as well as a copy of your marriage license and/or copies of your children’s birth certificates.

The above documents can be uploaded to your application, or you can wait to provide them until later. Note that processing of your DS-2019 will be delayed if International Student Services does not receive all required documents before admission.

Financial Support Documentation

Under U.S. immigration law, you must verify sufficient financial documentation of funds available for study in the U.S. for you and your dependents, as applicable. Note: If a financial document is under someone else's name, the account holder must fill out a Financial Support Letter to be submitted with the financial document.

Financial documents must clearly state bank name and logo, account number (partial is acceptable), account holder's name, date of statement, and account balance. Date on financial document cannot be more than 90 days ago.

All non-US citizens applying to study in the U.S. are required to demonstrate financial support equivalent to annual academic and living expenses. Find out more about cost of living estimates.

Acceptable Financial Documents*Unacceptable Financial Documents
  • Scholarship Letters
  • Bank and Investment Statements/Letters
  • Certificates of Deposit and Fixed Deposits
  • Business Accounts (with owner support and proof of ownership)
  • Loans
  • Letter from Sponsoring Agency
  • Certificate of Surrender Value of Life Insurance Policy
  • Property 
  • Valuables (jewelry, antiques, etc.)
  • Nonliquid Assets and Investments
  • Letter from an Accounting Firm
  • Income Tax Return
  • Support from Another F-1 or J-1 Student who is not spouse/parent
  • Documents Older Than 90 Days
  • Life Insurance Premium Paid Certificate

*If you have another type of financial document, please submit the financial documentation as requested. We will review your document and let you know if it is acceptable.