English Proficiency


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In order to insure success in our degree programs, the Seminary requires that students for whom English is a second language must have their English skills evaluated prior to full matriculation in its Masters or Doctor of Ministry programs. This evaluation will determine whether additional language studies are needed to achieve the proficiency levels described below. Note, this policy does not apply to students who have graduated from a four year college or university where the instruction was in English.

There are several paths to full matriculation into the Seminary’s degree programs:

1) A completed application and a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) paper score of at least 550 with an essay score of at least 4 OR an Internet TOEFL score of at least 79-80. New Brunswick Theological Seminary's TOEFL school code is 8937. Following admission, if it appears that the student’s English skills need improvement, the faculty may require the student to complete a language evaluation through the Rutgers PALS (Program in American Language Studies) program which may result in further language study.

2) A completed application and an IELTS score of at least 6.0. Students with this score can be admitted to NBTS. Following admission, if it appears that the student’s English skills need improvement, the faculty may require the student to complete a language evaluation through the Rutgers PALS (ESL) program which may result in further language study.

3) A completed application without a TOEFL or IELTS exam. Students may be provisionally admitted to the Seminary based on their prior academic record. Before matriculating at the Seminary, students will enroll in the Rutgers PALS (ESL). In this case, the Rutgers PALS program will issue the I20 visa. Students will continue in the PALS program until they have achieved proficiency at the highest level of PALS in all categories. Students enrolled in PALS can audit one course at the Seminary each semester, at no charge, to enhance their English listening and conversational skills.

Students who have completed, or are enrolled in, an accredited ESL program other than PALS, may submit detailed information concerning the program with their NBTS application. The Admissions Committee will evaluate the program, and where warranted, grant it the same standing as the Rutgers PALS program. Where not warranted, students will be required to be evaluated through PALS for English proficiency.

For further information contact Betty Rucker at 732-247-5241 ext. 311 or email brucker@nbts.edu.

New Brunswick, NJ campus * 17 Seminary Place * New Brunswick, NJ 08901
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