Home » A Guide on IELTS Score to Study in the USA

A Guide on IELTS Score to Study in the USA

by Dubaiforum

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The USA attracts a large number of international students and is known for its high demand for English language courses. To ensure that all non-native students meet the necessary language proficiency, universities in the USA require students to take an English language test. There are several options for taking this test, and the IELTS is one of them.

Approved English Language Proficiency Exams in the USA

International students are expected to demonstrate their English proficiency through standardized tests before being admitted to universities and colleges in the USA. Some of the commonly accepted tests by most academic institutions in the USA include the 

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS), 
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and 
  • Cambridge Assessment English (CAE). 

This article focuses on the IELTS test and its requirements in terms of the IELTS band score for the USA.

What are the reasons for preparing for the IELTS exam for studying in the USA?

Many educational institutions trust the IELTS exam as a measure of English language proficiency, as it assesses a candidate’s abilities in listening, reading, writing, and speaking the language.

USA IELTS Band Requirement 2023

US universities and colleges each have their own specific IELTS band requirements, which is why it’s important for test takers to aim for the required score. On average, the minimum IELTS score required for admission to top US institutions is a 6.0 band in each module, with an overall score of no less than 6.5. The IELTS band scores for the USA range from 0 to 9 and only increment by 0.5. The following is a reference scale for the score per band.

Band Score Description
9 Expert User
8 Very Good User
7 Good User
6 Competent User
5 Modest User
4 Limited User
3 Extremely Limited User
2 Intermittent User
1 Non-User
0 Did Not Attempt

Note: The minimum IELTS band requirement for admission to universities in the USA is usually 6.0 in each module and an overall score of 6.5. The actual requirement may vary depending on the university and the program you are applying for.

Band Requirement for America after 12th

The IELTS requirement for a student’s course of study is also determined by the specific institution and can be found on the university’s official website or by consulting a study abroad advisor.

Band Requirement for America after Graduation

For those students seeking post-secondary education in the USA, most of the academic institutions in the country accept an IELTS score between 6 and 6.5, which may increase to 7 based on the selected course.

IELTS Requirement for USA for Master’s

The IELTS score needed to study a post-graduate program in the USA may vary among universities, but a minimum score of 7.0 band is usually required by most institutions.

Required IELTS score to study in Universities in USA

Institute Name Province Minimum IELTS score for Undergraduate Courses Minimum IELTS score for Postgraduate Courses
Northeastern University Massachusetts 6.5 7.0
Wright State University Ohio 6.5 7.0
Westcliff University California 6.5 7.0
Concordia University, St. Paul Minnesota 6.5 7.0
Northeastern University Massachusetts  6.5 7.0
Golden Gate University California  6.5 7.0
New York Institute of Technology New York 6.5 7.0
California Lutheran University California 6.5 7.0
Devry University Illinois 6.5 7.0
Arkansas State University Arkansas  6.5 7.0
California State University California  6.5 7.0
Grand Valley State University Michigan  6.5 7.0
California State University California 6.5 7.0
Atlantis University Florida  6.5 7.0
Hillsborough Community College Florida  6.5 7.0
Kent State University Ohio 6.5 7.0
Clark University Massachusetts 6.5 7.0
Northeastern Illinois University Illinois 6.5 7.0
University of New Haven Connecticut 6.5 7.0
Northern Arizona University Arizona 6.5 7.0
San Jose State University California 6.5 7.0
State University of New York New York 6.5 7.0
Pittsburg State University Kansas 6.5 7.0
Troy University Alabama 6.5 7.0
Tiffin University Ohio 6.5 7.0
Academy of Art University  California 6.5 7.0
Rowan University  New Jersey 6.5 7.0
South Dakota State University  South Dakota 6.5 7.0

Tips for scoring well in IELTS:

To achieve a high score in the IELTS test for studying in the USA, the following steps should be followed:

  • Familiarize yourself with the exam format: Understand the details, sections, duration, types of questions, and instructions of the test.
  • Practice within the time constraints: The IELTS is a timed exam, so it’s important to practice within the allotted time for each section.
  • Improve reading speed and comprehension: Read various resources such as news articles, academic materials, and past test questions to improve your reading skills.
  • Enhance listening abilities: Practice listening to English content such as podcasts, news, movies, music, radio, etc. to sharpen your listening skills.
  • Build a strong vocabulary: Focus on expanding your vocabulary, including word choice, connotation, synonyms, etc. This will help in both the Writing and Speaking sections.
  • Improve writing skills: Writing is a critical component of the IELTS exam, as it involves presenting a candidate’s point of view on a given topic while maintaining grammatical correctness. Scoring well in this section requires extensive practice. Candidates can improve their writing by reading articles, editorials, and other pieces that express an author’s views on various topics.
  • Practice speaking: Speaking well on the IELTS exam requires confidence and fluency, which can be developed by speaking English with peers, friends, and family members.
  • Seek guidance from an expert: Candidates should consider seeking advice from experienced IELTS trainers who are familiar with the exam format. These trainers can provide insight into the test requirements and offer tips and strategies to help candidates perform at their best.

What should be done in case of an insufficient band score?

If a student does not meet the necessary IELTS band score, they can reach out to the admission representative of the desired university to find out if their profile can still be considered based on their current score or if there are any alternative options for admission.


However challenging it may seem, passing the IELTS exam is not an insurmountable task. With proper preparation, guidance, and training, scoring 6.0 or higher becomes attainable. Canam, with over two decades of experience, has assisted thousands of students in achieving their goal of studying in the USA. Not only do they help students with the application process, but they also provide the necessary preparation for the IELTS exam. To connect with Canam’s expert consultants, visit a nearby office or connect with them online through the official website.


What is the minimum IELTS band score required to study in the USA?

International students seeking a study visa in the United States must score at least 6.0 in each module and have an overall score of 6.5.

Is IELTS 6 score accepted in the United States?

Although many universities in the USA accept students with an IELTS score of 6, it is recommended to aim for a higher score to increase the chances of admission to top institutions.

Which countries accept 5.5 IELTS bands?

A score of 5.5 bands can allow students to study at academic institutes in countries like Singapore, Dubai, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, and Greece, with the possibility of an IELTS waiver.

Is 5.5 IELTS bands eligible for study in the USA?

Most universities and colleges in the US require a minimum score of 6 in each IELTS module, but some institutions may also consider applications from students with a 5.5 score, considering other factors of their profile.

Is IELTS the only requirement for studying in the USA?

IELTS as proof of English proficiency is an essential document for studying in the USA, but it is not the only requirement. Students must also submit academic transcripts, a Statement of Purpose (SOP), and Letters of Recommendation (LOR), among other documents.

What IELTS score is needed to get a scholarship in the USA?

A typical acceptable IELTS score to study in the USA is 6.5, but to be eligible for a scholarship, students should aim for a score of 7 or higher, with a minimum of 6.5 in each module.


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