Applicants who are citizens of countries other than the United States are welcome at The University of Alabama. Highly qualified students from around the world have been extremely successful in our graduate programs, and the contributions made by our international students in the areas of teaching, research, and general cultural enrichment have been great. Standards for admission and financial aid are extremely competitive, ensuring academic excellence.

Interested students should visit the application portion of the Graduate Catalog to learn more about requirement and applying electronically. Applicants with restrictions that prevent the use of our online application should contact the Graduate School, Box 870118, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0118, U.S.A, e-mail gradschool@ua.edu. The request should contain information on the student’s citizenship, formal academic preparation, English language ability, standardized test scores, financial situation, proposed major, and date of entry. Requests for application materials receive initial reviews from the Graduate School dean’s office.

The fall semester begins in August and is considered the beginning of the academic year, and international students are strongly advised to plan to begin their studies then. Many of our departments and programs will consider applications for the spring semester, which starts in January, but fewer openings for new students are available at that time.

Each international application must hold the equivalent of a U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to be eligible for graduate admission. While individual departments may have more stringent requirements, bachelor degrees from Bologna Accord certified institutions are considered to meet this criterion.

Students whose applications to the Graduate School are approved will receive housing and health-service information, a letter of admission, and an immigration document (usually Form I-20 or DS-2019).

Upon arrival in Tuscaloosa, students should report to Capstone International Programs and Services in order to obtain registration materials and information on the special orientation session for international students that is held prior to the beginning of each semester.

Nonresident foreign students who are offered graduate assistantships are limited to a maximum.50 FTE (half-time) assistantship. Additional employment outside the University is not permitted.

Students are encouraged to direct any questions they may have concerning immigration, housing, or the health service to the Director, Office of International Student and Scholar Services, Box 870304, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0304, U.S.A. Questions concerning admission procedures should be directed to the Graduate School.

Requirements and deadlines for submitting applications are subject to change; applicants should review the specific instructions on the application forms for current requirements and deadlines.

Conditional Language Admission

An international graduate applicant to The University of Alabama may be considered for conditional language admission if he or she does not meet the minimum TOEFL score requirement of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 79 on the iBT, 6.5 on the IELTS or 59 on the PTE and/or does not have an admission test score (e.g. GRE/GMAT/MAT). The applicant must meet all other admission criteria as stated for regular or conditional admission earlier in this Catalog, meet all financial and immigration requirements, and be recommended by the individual University of Alabama graduate department to receive conditional language admission. A student holding conditional language admission may not hold an internally funded graduate assistantship.

Students who have conditional language admission are accepted to the Graduate School but must attend full-time intensive English language instruction at the English Language Institute (ELI). If the student does not hold an admission test score, the admission test must be taken while the student is enrolled in ELI classes. A score that meets admission requirements for regular admission must be submitted to the Graduate School prior to enrolling full time in regular graduate classes. The student must complete the ELI’s Intensive English Program with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the advanced levels (levels 4, 5, and 6) or earn a score of at least 550 on the paper- based TOEFL or 79 on the iBT, or 6.5 on the IELTS before he or she will be allowed to enroll in graduate courses, hold teaching assistantships, or hold internally funded research assistantships. Students who have conditional language admission are eligible to hold only externally funded research assistantships.

NOTE: In special circumstances, a student may initiate the following requests to his or her department chair. The student’s request and the specific course to be taken must be approved by the student’s department, advisor, course instructor, ELI, and the Graduate School:

  1. if a student has a TOEFL score of at least 500 on the paper-based TOEFL or 61 on the iBT, an IELTS score of at least 6.0, PTE score of at least 52 or initially places in ELI level 5 or 6, then after official evaluation by ELI staff, he or she can be considered for approval to take one carefully selected graduate level course per semester for a maximum of two semesters while completing ELI, or
  2. if student has enrolled in and completed ELI Level 4, 5, or 6 with a 3.5 GPA, he or she can be considered for approval to take one carefully selected graduate level course per semester for a maximum of two semesters while completing ELI.
  3. If a student has a UA institutional TOEFL score of 500 and either has completed ELI Level 4, 5, or 6 with a 3.0 GPA or has placement into ELI Level 5 or 6, he or she can be considered for approval to take one carefully selected graduate level course per semester for a maximum of two semesters while completing ELI.

When a student with conditional language admission begins enrollment in graduate courses, he or she must meet all other requirements for conditional admission, as in the Admission Criteria section of this Catalog.

International graduate applicants should inform the Graduate School that they wish to be considered for conditional language admission when they submit their graduate application forms

International Bridge Program

According to current University of Alabama graduate policy, “each international applicant must hold the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to be eligible for graduate admission.” The University of Alabama International Bridge Program is intended for the international graduate applicant who holds a three-year bachelor’s degree from a country where that credential is not deemed equivalent to the four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree. By completing a fourth year, or bridge year of undergraduate study at The University of Alabama, an international student from a recognized foreign institution with a three-year bachelor’s degree will have the opportunity to enter graduate study without completing a separate four-year bachelor’s degree. The student will complete a “bridge year” of University of Alabama undergraduate coursework and then begin the graduate degree program.

International applicants interested in the International Bridge Program should consult the list of participating departments that are approved to accept applications for the bridge program. If the intended major is listed as participating, then the international applicant will apply for the International Bridge Program following the same graduate application process as other international graduate applicants to the degree program. International applicants may apply electronically using the Graduate School ‘s website or the print application forms. International applicants meeting the Graduate School ‘s and department’s minimum GPA, GRE, and TOEFL requirements for regular admission to a graduate degree program and who receive the department’s recommendation will be considered for admission in the International Bridge Program. Students admitted into the International Bridge Program will hold a regular graduate admission for a degree program, but will first complete the bridge year of University of Alabama undergraduate coursework and then begin graduate study to complete their graduate degree program.

Each department that participates in the International Bridge Program will provide a written description and specific departmental requirements for their bridge students. Bridge year requirements include the following, at a minimum:

  • A student in the International Bridge Program will be classified as an international bridge student while he or she completes the bridge year. The bridge year is defined as a 30 semester hour undergraduate curriculum designed to meet basic core curriculum requirements missing from the three-year international degree. A student’s course load during the bridge year may not exceed a total of 15 hours per semester.
  • Each graduate program participating in the bridge year program will provide a list of specific undergraduate courses required for their international bridge students. Each department’s program will include 6 undergraduate credits of specific courses in each of the following five general curriculum areas:
    1. written English proficiency,
    2. information technology or mathematics,
    3. humanities and fine arts,
    4. history and social-behavioral sciences, and (e) natural sciences.
  • During the time the student is classified as an international bridge student, he or she will be eligible to hold only externally funded research assistantships, and departments will provide careful review of the student’s course load and academic progress before granting assistantships. An international bridge student may not hold an internally funded graduate assistantship or fellowship.
  • International bridge students must complete the bridge year and earn at least a 3.0 GPA for all coursework completed during the bridge year before progressing into the graduate degree program.
  • All courses for the bridge program must be completed through The University of Alabama (no transfer credit). Courses completed as part of the student’s three-year international degree may not be repeated for credit in the bridge program at the University.
  • Upon successful completion of all bridge year coursework and other department requirements, the department will consider the student for approval to take coursework in the graduate degree program and for possible graduate assistantships and fellowships. The graduate degree will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the graduate degree requirements.

A student, whether an international or a permanent resident, whose first language is not English, must submit an official score report from one of the following proficiency examinations:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): The minimum score for admission to a degree program or for non-degree admission is 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 79 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT).
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): The minimum score for admission to a degree program or for non-degree admission is 6.5.
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): The minimum score of admission to a degree program or for non-degree admission is 59.
  • The TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores must be less than two years old at the time of the student’s intended enrollment at The University of Alabama.
  • The TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE will not be required from any applicant who has earned a degree from an accredited U.S. college or university within the past three years.
  • The Test of Spoken English (TSE) is recommended for international students who wish to be considered for teaching assistantships. Information on registering for the TOEFL or TSE, IELTS and for the PTE is available worldwide on the web or at U.S. embassies, consulates, USIS offices, Institute of International Education offices, AMIDEAST offices, and other organizations concerned with international education.
  • International applicants must submit one certified copy in the native language along with certified precise word – for – word English translations of all transcripts, diplomas, and certificates of degree. To be acceptable, transcript and diploma copies must be certified by the issuing institution. Notary copies are NOT acceptable. Documents should be received in official sealed university envelopes.

The University of Alabama offers intensive English language instruction to prepare students for further academic study at colleges and universities in the United States. In addition, the University maintains (through the English Language Institute) the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP), a program that all graduate assistants with any teaching or instructional activities who are non-native speakers of English must successfully complete before they are allowed to teach. Students are recommended for ITAP by their departments. For information about these programs write to the Director, English Language Institute, Box 870250, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0250, U.S.A. Admission to the English Language Institute does not constitute admission to a graduate program at The University of Alabama.

For information on registering for the TOEFL, or TSE available worldwide, IELTS and PTE visit the testing center websites or contact U.S. embassies, consulates, USIS offices, Institute of International Education offices, AMIDEAST offices, and other organizations concerned with international education.

The University of Alabama recognizes that, to be accurately evaluated, applications from international students require more time and more supporting information than do domestic applications. For this reason, international applicants applying from outside the U.S. are encouraged to have complete applications, with all supporting documents, at least 180 days before the beginning of the semester for which application is made. All applications must be complete at least 120 days before the beginning of the semester for which application is made. Some departments have earlier deadlines; applicants should contact the departments in which they are interested to obtain information about department deadlines and other requirements. Applications completed after the deadline will automatically be considered for the following semester. The student whose application is completed well in advance of our deadlines is more likely to be admitted and to receive admission and immigration materials in time to make travel arrangements.

Regular Delivery

Graduate admission documents are normally sent through regular mail. This can take 7-10 days for domestic mail and  4-6 weeks for international mail. Tracking is not an option.

In-Person Pick Up

Students  who can easily get to Tuscaloosa at the time of admission may pick up their graduate admission documents  (I-20/DS-2019) from Capstone International Services in 105 B.B. Comer Hall.  Capstone International Services normally will contact the student when their documents are ready to be picked up. Capstone International Services will allow friends or family members to pick up documents for you only if you provide specific instructions and tell us the name and CWID of the friend or family who will pick up the document. Student ID is required when picking up a document from Capstone International Services.

University Express Mail Services (recommended for overseas shipments)

  1. The University of Alabama’s Graduate School uses an express mail service provided by University Express Mail Services – https://study.eshipglobal.com/ to deliver documents through DHL or FedEx in 3-5 days. You may request document delivery through this service at your expense. If you wish to use this service, please follow the instructions below.
  2. Register and activate your account at University Express Mail Services. Do not go through the DHL or FedEx website directly.
  3. Click the “Receive” option.
  4. Type “Alabama” in the search box, or select it from the drop down list.
  5. Select “The University of Alabama” and then “Continue.”
  6. Select the “Office of the Graduate School” and then “Continue.”
  7. Complete the shipping form, use your University of Alabama CWID number, and select “Ship/Quote.” Note: PO Box addresses are generally not preferred by express carriers. If entering a PO Box address, be sure you provide the complete physical address where the PO Box is located in order to avoid delays or misdeliveries.
  8. On the confirmation page, check your shipment details.
  9. On the same page, complete the credit card information form.
  10. Select “Confirm” to advance to the shipment summary page. Note: Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your documents. If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link in the site for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please e-mail support@eshipglobal.com.
  11. Graduate School will automatically be notified by University Express Mail Services (eShipGlobal) that you have requested your documents via express mail. You can track the shipment using the tracking number provided.
  12. You will receive your documents in 3-5 business days from the date of mailing.
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