Freshman Admissions Criteria

The University at Buffalo welcomes international first-year students (freshmen) who are prepared to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a top-quality public research university.

What is required for freshman admission?

Admission to the freshman class at the University at Buffalo is based on more than just your grades. We perform a holistic review of your application that considers your academic marks, test scores, essay and recommendations.

We are looking for students who excel academically, engage in extracurricular activities, and maintain a good school-life balance.

Am I a freshman or transfer applicant?

Freshman or transfer status has a strict definition which is based upon the facts of your educational background.

What is a freshman?

  • You have never studied or enrolled in any college / university or postsecondary studies after completing secondary school.
  • You are a freshman even if you have “advanced standing” for which you may receive university credits. This includes A Levels, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP).

What is a transfer?

  • You have completed secondary school and you subsequently enrolled or studied one or more subjects in a college or university.
  • You may or may not have passed the class(es); you may or may not have earned university credit for the class(es); you may or may not have changed your major or stopped studying because you did not like your major.
  • If you engaged in any study in a college or university, you must apply as a transfer applicant; you cannot “choose” to be a freshman.
Still not sure if you are a freshman or transfer? Take this test.

If a minimum of one item in statement 1 and all of statement 2 is true, then you are a freshman applicant. Otherwise you are a transfer applicant.


STATEMENT 1:   A minimum of one item must be true.

A.  I am currently studying in high school (secondary school).

B.  Even though I am not in high school, I am studying a secondary school curriculum.

C.  I have completed high school.




STATEMENT 2:   This statement must also be true.

I have never enrolled in or studied at a postsecondary institution after completing secondary school.


Both are true?  You will apply as a Freshman.

Any part not true?  You will apply as a Transfer.

What do admissions counselors consider?


You must demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways:

Are you unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL?

If you are not able to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL tests because they are cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University at Buffalo will accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for proof of English proficiency. This test can be taken online, in your own home.



TOEFL (IBT) (including MyBest scores) 70



PTE Academic


ACT (English AND reading sections)

CanTEST 4.5
Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE)



Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)
IB Higher Level English A Literature 4
IB Higher Level English A Language and Literature 4
AS Level or A Level English
or English Language Subject
Duolingo English Test (DET) 
for students currently living in China
105 **
  • The minimum scores indicated above do not guarantee admission; these are minimum scores for admission consideration
  • UB accepts the TOEFL MyBest score. Official MyBest scores must be sent directly from ETS to UB (UB's institutional TOEFL code is 2925). Self-reported MyBest scores cannot be used. 
  • Scores must be less than two years old at the time of admission; older scores will not be accepted.
  • Official scores must be sent directly to UB from the testing agency.
  • Photocopies and scanned documents may be submitted for initial review.

     **  Scores below 105 on the Duolingo English Test (DET) may be considered on a case-by-case basis as part of our holistic review process    

Undergraduate English Language Proficiency Test Exemption

English proficiency can be demonstrated without a test in one of the following ways:

1. Native Speaker

Applicants who meet all three criteria listed below may be exempted from the requirement of submitting an English proficiency test score.
The applicant is:
  • A citizen from: Australia, The Bahamas, Canada, Guam, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore or the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland); and    
  • A native speaker of English; and
  • Was educated entirely in English.

2. U.S. Post-Secondary Education

Transfer applicants currently enrolled in a U.S. college who have:

  • Completed at least one term (quarter or semester) of a U.S. college English composition class with an earned grade of "B" or better, and an overall college GPA of at lease 3.0 (out of 4.0) and strong grades in classes that typically require significant reading and writing. 


  • Completed at least two terms (quarters or semesters) of a U.S. college English composition classes with an earned grade of "C" or better in each class, and good grades in classes that typically require significant reading and writing. 

NOTE: ESL classes, remedial English classes, and foundation English classes (for example, non-credit intensive English classes/programs) are not recognized for this waiver.