Study in USA without IELTS/TOEFL 2023 I Leverage Edu (2023)

For students all over the world, the United States of America is a dream destination for higher education. It is estimated that there is 30 percent of international students studying in the USA. Higher education from the USA has global recognition and students studying here get to experience great campus life. Universities help international students in settling down in the new environment and there is an international students’ office that makes their life easy. IELTS is considered important for those applying for higher studies, but it is not a necessary test you need to take while applying for an American university. This is because it is possible to study in the USA without IELTS. Read this blog further to find out about the American universities that take students without the compulsion of IELTS.

Here’s a complete admission guide to Study in USA!

This Blog Includes:
  1. How to Study in USA without IELTS?
  2. Top Universities to Study in USA without IELTS
  3. University of New Orleans
  4. Rice University
  5. University of Dayton
  6. Drexel University
  7. California State University, Los Angeles
  8. University of North Alabama
  9. Northwood University
  10. National Louis University
  11. University of Colorado Boulder
  12. University of Arkansas
  13. State University of New York
  14. University of Delaware
  15. FAQs

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How to Study in USA without IELTS?

For many students, IELTS becomes a hindrance as it can be difficult to crack for non-native English speakers. Attempting IELTS several times is not an option many are keen for as it can get quite costly to give it again and again. If you are planning to study in USA without IELTS, here are the basic requirements that you need to keep in mind:

  • While applying for post-graduation courses, you will need a letter from your previous university stating that the graduate course you pursued was in English.
  • For undergraduate courses, you need to have English as one of your core subjects in your high school education.
  • If you have graduated from a country where English is the official language, IELTS might not be required.
  • If you are not able to provide IELTS scores, the university may need you to undertake their own preparatory program for English Language known as Intensive English Language Program (IELP) through which you will be trained with the essential knowledge of this language.

Top Universities to Study in USA without IELTS

The following table enlists the major universities in the USA that you can apply for without worrying for IELTS:

UniversityAlternate for IELTS
University of DelawareEnglish Language for Internationals(ELI)
Northwood UniversityEIKEN/ IB/ Cambridge English Test/ ELS/ PTE Academic
Rice UniversityDuolingo
University of DaytonPTE/ Duolingo
State University of New YorkPTE/ Duolingo/ Cambridge English Scale
University of New Orleans (UNO)English Language for Internationals(ELI)
California State UniversityPTE
University of ColoradoDuolingo
University of ArkansasPTE/ iTEP/ Cambridge Assessment English/ Duolingo
National Louis UniversityPTE
University of North AlabamaTOEIC
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Now, let’s take a look at the requirements you need to fulfil for a program at any of these universities to study in USA without IELTS:

University of New Orleans

To study in USA without IELTS at the University of New Orleans, you can only apply for graduate programs and admissions by completing the UNO Intensive English Language Program (IELP) with 63+ in LGVR and 70+ in Writing.

About the University of New Orleans
It is a public university referred to as UNO and it has many active organizations and clubs along with more than 15 fraternities. The students of the university are incredibly active in athletics and it has more than 15 sports varsity teams.

Rice University

There are no specified English language proficiency requirements to study in USA without IELTS at Rice University but the admissions committee will assess your proficiency and communication skills to come to the final decision. Situated in Houston, Texas, Rice University is a research institution offering a plethora of undergraduate and postgraduate in diverse fields of study.

University of Dayton

A private Roman Catholic university and the 2nd largest university in Ohio, to take admission into the University of Dayton, you will be needed to take the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).

About University of Dayton
The university is spread across an area of 338 acres in the city of Dayton. It has 4 sections/campuses and 18 student apartments. It offers a wide range of courses in science, arts as well as commerce streams.

Drexel University

You can take admission to study in USA without IELTS at Drexel University by choosing between two conditional requirements either, University Preparation Summer Program (UPREP) or the Bridge Program designed for foreign students.

About Drexel University
Drexel University is a private university with more than 26000 enrolled students and 150+ programs combined. The university has a prominent program in which students get to work for 18 months with full-time paid salary. It has a 77-acre campus located at the west of the Schuylkill River.

California State University, Los Angeles

There is no requisites to submit IELTS scores for programs at California State University if you can provide proof that you have completed your secondary education or bachelor’s degree with English as the medium of instruction.

About California State University
It comes under the California State University System which comprises of 23 campuses. The university offers more than 225 programs in the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs. It has a campus which spans over 175 acres. It also has a student-run newspaper, “University Times” which has gained a prominent role amongst the university media.

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University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama offers English as a Second Language or ESL programs for those wanting to study in USA without IELTS as these language courses are designed for students from those non-English speaking countries.

About the University of North Alabama
With a campus occupying 140 acres of land, University of North Alabama was founded as LaGrange College in 1830. Around 80% of the students in the university are enrolled in the full time 4-year undergraduate programs. It has around 5% of international students whereas 75% of students are from Alabama itself. It operates around 14 varsity teams and has been champions around 50 times combined in the conferences.

Northwood University

To apply for a program at Northwood University, you can complete the admission process without IELTS needed if you can provide proof that English as your medium of instruction during your senior secondary education or bachelor’s degree (not as an elective foreign language or second language).

About Northwood University
It was established as Northwood Institute in 1959. Candice Miller (U.S. House of Representatives) is a notable alumnus of the university. Master of Business Administration degree provided by the university has a prominent reputation, as a case study methodology is utilized to practice and learn the intricacies of management.

National Louis University

National Louis University grants admission to those wanting to study in USA without IELTS given that they have completed their senior secondary education or bachelor’s degree with English as the medium of instruction for which the applicants need to get a certificate from their previous school or university.

About National Louis University
National Louis University is a private university founded in 1886. The university has played an important role in the field of education and contributed its part in founding the National Parent Teacher Foundation. It has also contributed to the promotion of the importance of academic and professional training in early childhood education.

Apart from these major universities to study in USA without IELTS, here are some more universities and colleges and their exemptions for English language proficiency scores.

University of Colorado Boulder

To study at the University of Colorado without IELTS, the candidate should have completed two years of full-time academic study at a high school in the USA or any other English-speaking country like the UK, Australia. If you have studied for a year at a college in the USA or any other English-speaking country, within the two years of the time you start your academic course at CU Boulder, you will be exempted from the English language proficiency requirements. The university also grants conditional admission to international students given that the applicant has met all the academic requirements for admission.

Note: From July 15, 2021 admissions, the university is also accepting Duolingo English Test scores on a case-to-case basis.

University of Arkansas

The university assesses applications without IELTS/TOEFL on a case-to-case basis to evaluate their English skills and conditional admission is offered on the terms that the student takes up 1-6 credit hours of English and cultural studies courses along with their study program. The University of Arkansas also offers an Intensive English Language Program (IELP) for those who can’t meet English language proficiency scores.

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State University of New York

The State University of New York offers both Intensive English Language Programs (IELP) and English as a Second Language program (ESL) to exempt international students from meeting English languages proficiency requirements such as IELTS or TOEFL.

University of Delaware

International students can apply for conditional admission to study in USA without IELTS/TOEFL at the University of Delaware. To opt for the option of conditional admission, you need to select Academic Transition (AT) at UD’s English Language Institute. You can choose from 150+ majors except nursing under this option and after completing the terms of the admission, you can successfully transition to full-time study.


Is it possible to study in the USA without IELTS?

Yes, it is possible to study in the USA without IELTS given that you have completed your senior secondary education or graduated with English as the medium of instruction in the program or they have pursued studies in an English-speaking country for a certain duration. Further, some universities may also avail admission to those who don’t have IELTS or TOEFL if they take the university’s preparatory program known as Intensive English Language Program (IELP) which equips international students with better proficiency in English.

Is IELTS necessary in the USA?

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Though IELTS is quite a mandatory requirement to study in the USA, there is a multitude of universities that provide selected programs that you can apply to without IELTS scores. These universities include California State University, University of Dayton, University of North Texas, Northwood University, amongst others.

Which country is best for studying without IELTS?

There are many prominent countries to study abroad without IELTS or TOEFL. These include Germany, the USA, Canada, the UK, Malaysia, Australia, amongst others.

Is IELTS required for a USA student visa?

IELTS is not a mandatory requirement for a USA student visa for those who have completed an international baccalaureate or previous studies from an English-speaking country.

Which exam is required for studying in the USA?

From language proficiency exams to program-specific tests, the exam requirements to study in the USA varies as per the course you have chosen. Generally, IELTS/TOEFL is required apart from some universities while GMAT and GRE are needed to select postgraduate programs.

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