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This page contains content from Summer School 2012. For current information, visit the Harvard Summer School website at

English Proficiency Requirement

English is the language of instruction at Harvard Summer School. You must be proficient in English, unless you are enrolled only in Institute for English Language Programs (IEL) courses (for which basic English literacy is required). In all Summer School courses except IEL:


If your primary language is not English, you must provide one of the official minimum test scores listed below to demonstrate English proficiency. Your registration is conditional until you meet this requirement. If you do not meet the requirement, you will be dropped from your courses after May 21. Please note the following additional deadlines below.

Deadlines for meeting the requirement

How to meet the requirement

Earn the minimum score on any of the following tests.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

Earn 1 of the following scores on the TOEFL. Have your scores sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to the Harvard Summer School Registrar’s Office, institution code 8578:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Earn a minimum score of band 7.0 on the IELTS.

English language placement test for local students

If you live in the area but cannot provide results from the above tests, take the Harvard University English language placement test by May 15 and earn a score of 76 or higher.

Test dates: March 14, April 7 and 26, or May 15 on the Harvard campus.

Online reservations are required. Space is limited.

If you have earned a passing score on the test in a prior term, you do not need to take the test again.

Alternate proof of proficiency appeal

If you are not local and cannot take the TOEFL or IELTS, you may appeal to submit alternate proof of proficiency, as follows:

Appeals are considered case-by-case until the deadline that applies to you. Materials must be accompanied by the English proficiency appeal form. Submitting an appeal does not guarantee that you will meet the requirement.

How to appeal

Secondary School Program (SSP) applicants: submit your materials to the SSP office.

All other students, first register for courses, then submit the English proficiency appeal form with your supporting documents so they are received in the Registrar’s Office by the following dates:

Submit materials for appeal

By fax

(617) 998-8479

By mail

Harvard Summer School Registrar’s Office
51 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138


Appeals will not be considered if they are received after the applicable deadline or if you are registered for IEL courses only. No letters of reference, résumés, or certificates of English language study will be considered. Submitting an appeal does not guarantee approval.

Most appeals are approved for 1 semester only, and minimum test scores are required for future enrollment. Appeals approved for course enrollment do not affect the English proficiency requirement for Extension School degree program admission.

English proficiency for other Harvard schools

Meeting the Summer School English proficiency requirement does not meet the requirement for other Harvard schools or programs, including Harvard Extension School degree programs.