International Admissions Requirements

Undergraduate Academic Requirements

International first time freshman

An International applicant is a student who wishes to study at our university on an F-1 (student) visa or J-1 (exchange) visa. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT I-20’s:  Due to COVID 19, Spring 2021 classes will be offered in an all-virtual format. Students admitted for the Spring 2021 term will begin their course of study remotely. Due to Federal regulations, SSU is not allowed to issue new I-20’s to international students currently residing outside of the country. Currently, it is the intention of the California State University (CSU) system and SSU to offer in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester and admitted international students will be issued new I-20’s for that semester when appropriate. However, if plans to offer in-person classes change, updated information will be communicated to admitted international students at that time.


All Sonoma State University applicants must submit official documents required with their application.  All transcripts (academic records) must be submitted through a third party evaluation service and official transcripts transmitted directly to Sonoma State University. Please refer to the How to Submit Transcripts to Sonoma State page and the Foreign Coursework Evaluations section for third party evaluation service. Be sure to visit the admissions webpage for instructions on how to submit official and unofficial documents.

Official document deadlines for International Students:

  • Fall Semester start: May 15
  • Spring Semester start: October 15

English Language Proficiency Requirement

In addition to minimum admissions requirements, international student applicants must demonstrate that they meet the minimum English proficiency required to attend Sonoma State University. International applicants by meet English proficiency by:

  • Having attended 3 years full-time at an institution (secondary or post-secondary) where English is the primary language used OR
  • Having been educated in one of the countries that qualify for an English waiver (listed below) OR
  • Completion of GE Area A2 (Written Communication) at a US institution with a grade of C- or better OR
  • Submit official verification of English proficiency via an exam

English Proficiency Exams Accepted:


Undergraduate Minimum Score

Graduate Minimum Score




TOEFL iBT Total Score**



TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Total Score



TOEFL Paper-Based Exam



IELTS Overall Total Band Score (Academic)



IELTS Indicator Overall Score



Pearson PTE



Cambridge English Exams






Sonoma State American Language Institute (Conditional Admission available)

Successful completion of Advanced Level

Successful completion of Advanced Level

English Language School (ELS)

Level 112 Certificate

Level 112 Certificate

UCLA Extension American Language Center

Level 6

Level 6

USC International Academy

Level 5

Level 5


**There are several English Proficiency exam options available to prospective students. At least one alternative, the TOEFL iBT Test is known to be accessible and has disability accommodations available. 

**While we are currently accepting Duolingo to meet English Language Proficiency requirements, Duolingo is not affiliated with Sonoma State University and does not allow SSU to review or validate their Information Security practices. SSU does not endorse or recommend Duolingo in any way and if you choose to use them, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Countries eligible for English proficiency waiver:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Commonwealth Caribbean, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Micronesia, Montserrat, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), Virgin Islands, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

SSALI Intensive English Program and Conditional Admission:

An Intensive English Program (IEP), the Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI) is offered through Sonoma State University’s School of Extended and International Education (SEIE). SSU Admissions works closely with SEIE and SSALI to offer "conditional admission" to academically eligible students enrolled in SSALI. We guarantee eligible students admission to the university once they have completed the English language requirement (see above). Read more at Intensive English and University Pathways.