Second-language proficiency graduation requirement for native English speakers
Second language proficiency is a graduation requirement for all students in full-time degree programs. International students typically meet this requirement by entering the program with a proficiency in English (as required for admissions). You can meet this graduation requirement in several ways:
- Enter the program already having achieved the required standard by speaking a second language. An Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) determines language level and must be taken during the first term for those choosing this option.
- Enroll in a Thunderbird Intensive Summer Language Program Abroad and complete your 6 credits of language the summer prior to beginning your degree studies.
- Successfully complete six credits of Thunderbird language courses during your degree program.
- Submit your Foreign Service Institute or Peace Corps language certificate dated within 12 months of starting a degree program at Thunderbird. The scores must be equivalent to Thunderbird's requirement.
Thunderbird language courses
If you have not met your second-language proficiency requirement prior to starting your degree program, you may select from these language options offered at Thunderbird:
Second-language proficiency testing for native English speakers
Second-language proficiency for native English-speaking students is tested via the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) exam. An OPI rating of intermediate high (Group 1) or intermediate low (Group 2), depending on the language, satisfies Thunderbird's second-language proficiency graduation requirement. (Visit the LTI website for additional languages.)
English proficiency admissions requirement for non-native English speakers
Proficiency in English is required for admission. Applicants whose native language is not English, and who received their qualifying degree in a country where English is not the native language, are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic exam. Thunderbird courses require that students have an excellent proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English. Waivers are not granted.
Business English Communications
Students whose TOEFL score falls below 100 - or the equivalent on the PTE or IELTS examination - will be required to take “Business English Communications” (BEC) courses. The chart below details the corresponding scores with the course requirements. Students will be awarded 3 hours of academic credit for each of the courses.
Note: Exam scores are valid for up to two years (from program start), and must be sent directly to Thunderbird from the exam administrator.
If you have any questions about Thunderbird’s English proficiency admissions requirement or second-language proficiency graduation requirement, contact Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 602 978-7100 or 800 457-6966.