English Proficiency Policy for International Participants
(J-1 Exchange Visitors)
All J-1 Exchange Visitors at the Marine Biological Laboratory, regardless of citizenship, must either provide proof of English proficiency which meets the requirements for their program, or qualify for a waiver.
Proof of English Proficiency
J-1 Exchange Visitors must meet a basic standard for spoken English, which may be met by:
- Results of TOEFL iBT Speaking scores of 18 or better;
- Results of IELTS Academic Test Speaking score of 6.0 or better;
- English Language Verification (ELV). Please contact your sponsoring department to schedule a brief video call.
Qualifying for a Waiver
There are two ways to receive a waiver from requirement to provide proof of proficiency:
- Primary Language Waiver: If English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood, you may attest to this on the application. We cannot assist you in determining if this is the case for you. Falsifying this information, as with any other information on the application, may lead to revocation of an offer of admission.
- Education Waiver: If you were enrolled for at least one full academic year in the last ten years, as a full-time, degree-seeking student at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories:
- Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States.
- Education in English-medium institutions in any countries or territories not listed here does not qualify for the exemption.
- Only full-time coursework in a degree program at a college or university in one of these countries or territories qualifies. Remote study, lab or research work, non-degree programs, intensive English language courses without an earned certificate, or high school/secondary school do not qualify. The qualifying academic year must be completed – i.e., if you are now in a program and are planning to have completed a year by the time you attend the MBL, it will not meet the requirement.