Applicants From Other Nations - FAQS

Prospective students from other nations who have questions about the TOEFL and TSE exams, tuition fellowships, and differing grading and undergraduate degree standards can find answers here. 


  • Is the TOEFL exam required?
  • The TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) measures the ability of non-native English speakers to use and understand the English language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the university classroom. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam is required if English is not your native language.  If you have earned or will earn a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. university before the quarter or year for which you are applying, you can skip submitting TOEFL scores. For further information about English Language Requirements, see this website: 

    The minimum TOEFL score for admission consideration for the UC Davis graduate program in Economics is 80 out of a possible 120, counting all four sections of the iBT TOEFL (Internet-based TOEFL) or at least 600 (if paper-based TOEFL). Computer-based TOEFL scores are no longer acceptable, since the computer-based TOEFL is no longer offered. Arrange for ETS to send official TOEFL scores. The TOEFL exam is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the website of which has information about TOEFL.

  • How old can a TOEFL score be and still remain acceptable?
  • TOEFL scores are valid for no more than two years after the test date.
  • Can international applicants take the IELTS test instead of the TOEFL test?
  • Yes, as an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) designed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and administered by the British Council worldwide. You are responsible for submitting an official Test Report Form (TRF) of your IELTS by postal mail to the Graduate Program Coordinator,  Economics Department, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616. A paper version TRF is acceptable of the IELTS because it is not yet possible to submit electronically to UC Davis. Remember to order the TRF when you register to take the test. IELTS scores expire after two years. Scores that are more than two years old will not be accepted. Your most recent overall BAND score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale. To register for the IELTS, consult the IELTS website.
  • Is the TSE Exam required?
  • The Test of Spoken English (TSE) exam, a widely used assessment of spoken English, measures the ability and communication effectiveness of nonnative English speakers. The test is commonly used for employment, licensure and certification purposes as well as for admission to graduate programs. UC Davis does not require the TSE exam. However, international students admitted to the graduate program at UC Davis are required to take an English exam after arrival at UC Davis, before the fall quarter begins. Students who do not do well on the exam may be required to take one or more English courses at UC Davis.
  • I'm an international student and the grading system at my university is different from the U.S. grading system. Do I need to try to figure out a GPA on a 4.00 scale?
  • No. Just leave the GPA space on the admission application blank. Many applicants are international students from universities different grading systems that differ from those in the U.S. When we review your transcripts, we will see and consider the grading scale noted on them.
  • Is a three-year undergraduate degree from India sufficient to be considered for graduate school?
  • The general B.A. in India is a three-year degree and is not considered sufficient for admission to graduate school. In order to be considered, the student must have either: A) the four-year B-tech degree; B) the three-year degree plus the one-year honors certificate; or C) the three-year degree plus the one-year master's degree.
  • As an international student, do I need to apply for a nonresident tuition fellowship?
  • International students are automatically considered for nonresident tuition fellowships, meaning that they are considered "as if they had all applied for a nonresident tuition fellowship," because we know that most international students need financial aid. So international students do not have to submit a fellowship application. However, actual offers of nonresident tuition fellowships are made to some of the best applicants and, if offered, they do not provide full financial support.