USC Price School of Public Policy

English Language and American Language Institute

Academic success at USC is strongly dependent upon the ability to communicate in English. Admitted international students whose first language is not English are required to take the International Student English Examination (ISE) administered by the USC Testing Bureau at the beginning of the first term of study. The results of the examination determine whether or not a student must take special courses in English.

Exemptions for ISE
Students who score 600 or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (250 or higher on the computer based TOEFL or 100 or higher on the new Internet-based TOEFL) and international students who hold a bachelor’s degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the native language are exempt from having to take the ISE.

American Language Institute (ALI)
Any student not demonstrating adequate English proficiency on the ISE will be required to enroll in the American Language Institute at USC. ALI provides courses designed to improve an international student’s oral and written communication skills in English. The extent to which a student may be required to take courses at ALI is determined by his or her performance on the ISE.

For additional information, go to the Admission of International Students page in the USC Catalogue.