Admission Requirements

To enter Undergraduate ISSP students must meet both the academic and English language requirements.  

Please visit the relevant "Program" page for additional and/or specific entry criteria relevant to your application.

Academic Requirements

Entry to the Undergraduate ISSP requires the successful completion of Year 12 or equivalent.

Specific academic entry requirements by country are listed below. Students with qualifications that are not listed should forward their application and academic results to UMass Boston ISSP for assessment. Students are required to submit official transcripts from all postsecondary higher education institutions they have attended beyond high school whether they are seeking to transfer credit or not.

Students with a GPA higher than 2.0 AND an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher/TOEFL of 76 or higher are encouraged to apply directly to UMass Boston:

Country Undergraduate ISSP requirements


Successful completion of Year 12 with GPA of 2.0


Bachiller with a 6/10


Year 12 with a C or 50% average or higher


Tawjahiya Secondary School Certificate with a 50% average or higher


Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) with a 40% average


Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education with a 2nd Class, 2nd Division or C average


Brazilian Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Certificado de Ensino Médio) with a 5/10


Third class honors (C) or see GCE 'O' Level criteria


Successful completion of Diploma of Upper Secondary with a minimum of 5 passes and an overall grade C average.


Successful completion of grade 12 with 60% average


Licencia de Educación Media (academic) with 4 or higher


Upper Middle School Graduation Certificate with a 70% average or higher


Título de Bachiller 6 or higher


Bachiller with a 6/10


General Secondary Education Certificate with a 65% average or good


Fiji School Leaving Certificate (Form 6) with a 6 average


Baccalauréat Général with an overall score of 10 OR see IB Curriculum

GCE - O Level

Completion with an D or 7 in a minimum 5 subjects


Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination with D average or Credit

Hong Kong

HKDSE- Overall average at a minimum of level 2.  For HKDSE, a student must meet a minimum level of 2 in English and if they are at  level 2, they will be placed in Mixed English.


All India Senior Secondary Certificate (CSBE/CISCE) with C2 (6 pass with credit) or higher in 3 academic subjects


SMU3 with an average grade of 5 or higher in 4 academic subjects

IB Curriculum

Completion with an overall 22 or IB Score 3.5


High School Diploma (Diploma) with 12 average or higher


Teudat Bagrut with 55% average or better


Kotogakko Sotsugyo Shosho (Upper Secondary School Leaving Certificate) with a 3 GPA


Tawjihi (Academic) with 60% average grade


Successful completion of Attestat with 3.5 GPA


Successful completion of KCSE with a minimum of 5 passes and an overall grade C average, including a D in English (for approved English entry)

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Inmungye Kodung Hakkyo (High School Certificate) with a 70% average (Mi) or higher or Rank 6 or less


Completion of Tawjihiyah with a 60% average grade


Baccalaureat II with a score of 10


See criteria for China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or GCE


SPM with C6 or higher in 5 subjects


See GCE criteria


Certificado de Bachillerato with a 6.0 average or better


School Leaving Certificate (Gerchilgee) with 4.0 (C) average or higher


Basic Education Standard Exam Diploma (Academic & Vocational) with a 3 or 40% average or higher


Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) with 35% (third division) or higher


Completion of SSCE (WAEC/NECO) minimum of 5 passes and an overall average of C6 or equivalent, including a D7 at English (for English entry) OR see GCE/O Level 


Thanawiya Amma (General Secondary School Certificate) with 65% average or better


Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) with 55% minimum overall score


Diploma de Bachiller with a 71% or better


Bachillerato Académic with 11 or better


High School Diploma with 75% (Grade C) or better


Al - Thanawiya Aama Qatari with 60% average or better


Attestat o srednem (polnom) obschem obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) with a 3.5 average or higher

Saudi Arabia

Senior Certificate with Matriculation with D average or matriculation endorsement with 50-59%


GCE O Level - 5 academic subjects with 7 or lower or GCE A Level D (pass) or higher

South Africa

Senior Certificate with Matriculation with 'D' average or matriculation endorsement with 50-59%

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka A Levels with S grade (Ordinary Pass) in 3 subjects or 45% and above.


Avgångsbetyg with 'G' grade (Godkand) in 3 subjects


Senior High School Graduation Certificate with a C (60%) average or higher


Certificate of Secondary Education with minimum E/5 average


Matayom 6 with 60% average or higher


Lise Diplomasi with a minimum 3 points (orta) or 60% average


Tawjihiyya (General Secondary Education Certificate) with a 70% average or higher


Uganda Certificate of Education with a C (7,8) average or higher


Attestat with Grade 4 or higher on the 12 point scale or Attestat with Grade 3 or higher on the 5 point scale

United Kingdom

See GCE criteria


Completion of Bàng Tốt Nghiệp Phố Thông Trung Học with a minimum score of 5.

West African School Certificate

Completion with a 6 or better in a minimum 5 subjects


Zambian School Certificate Examination with 6 or higher average or see GCE/O Level requirements


5 passes and an overall grade C average in Zimsec O Level/Cambridge School Certificate (CSC) or SEE GCE/ O Level requirements

**US passport / green card holders are not eligible for UMass Boston ISSP.
*** UMass Boston ISSP programs are not available to some ESL students in the greater Boston area.
****Engineering programs (Computer Engineering, Engineering Physics, Electrical Engineering) have the following requirements:

  • Minimum B average in math subjects
  • Minimum B in Calculus (or equivalent course)
  • Overall GPA of 2.75

English Language Requirements

International students must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency before being admitted to a course. This can be done by obtaining one of the results shown in the table below.

English Language Requirements by program
English language qualification* Undergraduate ISSP: 2 Semesters Undergraduate ISSP: 3 Semesters Undergraduate ISSP: 3 Semesters with Academic English ESL Graduate International Student Success Program (ISSP)***





4.5 or lower

5.5 IELTS for Computer Science, International Relations, Conflict Resolution and Applied Physics / 6.0 IELTS for MBA, IT, Finance and Accounting





49 or lower

69 (Computer Science, International Relations, Conflict Resolution and Applied Physics) / 80 (MBA, IT, Finance and Accounting)

Versant **






* English test results must be no more than two years old for entry to the ISSP.

** Students can retake the test not earlier than 4 weeks after the last test. Students can be exempt from submission of English proficiency test for undergraduate degree if they completed at least 1 year at school where the language of instruction is English or completed school with an American, Canadian or British International curriculum.

*** Pearson Versant Test score is not accepted for Graduate ISSP. Students with 5.5 IELTS or 75 TOEFL for MBA, INTL management, finance, accounting and IT can do one semester of ESL before starting Graduate ISSP. Students with 5.0 IELTS or 59 TOEFL can do one semester of ESL before starting in Computer Science, International Relations, Conflict Resolution or Applied Physics.

****Students can be exempt from submission of an English proficiency test for postgraduate degree if they completed at least 4 years of education in in the United States, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada (except Quebec), Dominica, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, New Zealand, Trinidad/Tobago, Singapore, or the United Kingdom. The requirement may also be waived if the applicant has completed at least two (2) academic years of study, full-time, at an English-speaking college or university in the U.S.

Undergraduate ISSP: 3 Semesters with Academic English

If your English test scores meet the requirements for the Undergraduate ISSP: 3 Semesters with Academic English you may begin yourUndergraduate ISSP with the addition of Intensive English in the first semester of study.

Do not meet the English requirements?

If you don't meet the minimum English language requirement for Undergraduate ISSP: 3 Semesters with Academic English or for Undergraduate ISSP, you can enroll in a preparation course at UMass Boston to improve your language proficiency. The University Preparation English Program will assist you in improving your English language proficiency prior to starting at UMass Boston ISSP.

Intensive English Program

Coursework will include intensive practice of the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In addition to assigned readings and exercises, oral presentation and writing projects will be used to enhance the learning. Computer lab time is scheduled, and students are offered basic instruction in creating presentations and research.

University Preparation Program

The University Preparation Program prepares students for successful study at American colleges and universities.

Participants experience an integrated program focused on instruction in university study skills, academic writing, and content-based course work typical of an American university classroom. Computer lab time is scheduled, and students are offered instruction in creating presentations and research.

Students continuing studies with UMass Boston ISSP will not be required to take a TOEFL or English test.

Graduate International Student Success Program (ISSP)

The Graduate ISSP is a two-semester program designed for students who have completed a bachelor's degree but who need or wish to have additional support to gain entry into a UMass Boston graduate degree program. The UMass Boston Graduate ISSP helps to bridge the gap in academic or English skills by offering a range of courses such as research methods and academic communication to better prepare students for graduate-level coursework and success in their master's degree programs.

Required documents for ISSP admission:

  • Complete UMass Boston application
  • IELTS or TOEFL scores
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters or recommendation
  • Resume
  • Bank statement showing US $50,000
  • Declaration and Certification of Finances form
  • Copies of academic undergraduate transcripts and diploma

Class Meetings

Undergraduate ISSP classes take place Monday through Friday between 8:00am and 8:00pm, for a total of 20-24 hours per week. Participants are placed in classes appropriate to their level of proficiency after initial assessment and orientation sessions.

Assessment and Course Placement Testing

To ensure that students are placed in appropriate courses and levels, they must attend an assessment session. The session consists of several types of tests: grammar, listening and reading comprehension, and a writing sample. There is also an interview with a program instructor.

The assessment process is comprehensive. Tests are completed over the first few days of the semester, and take place in conjunction with a variety of classroom and orientation activities. Formal classes begin only after the orientation period.

Age requirements

UMass Boston ISSP accepts students 17 years of age at the start of the program and on a case by case basis we can consider a student that is 16 years of age.

Students under 18 years of age must have parental/guardian consent to attend UMass Boston ISSP. Application forms must be signed by a parent/guardian.

Students under 18 years of age must be in accommodation that is deemed acceptable by their parent/guardian and UMass Boston ISSP. All students under age 18 who come to study and who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian must be cared for by a responsible adult. UMass Boston ISSP strongly recommends homestay for underage students.

Credit transfer

Students with academic credits earned from postsecondary study outside of UMass Boston may transfer up to 18 credits towards their UMass Boston undergraduate degree, as determined by UMass Boston on a case-by-case basis. Students with more than 18 transferrable credits are not eligible for UMass Boston ISSP.

This school is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

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