English requirements

If English is not your native language, you are required to take an English proficiency test. You will be eligible only if your test score is sufficient. Please note that Dutch students and PhD candidates at a Dutch university are not required to take such a test.

Only the scores of the following three official English proficiency tests are accepted. We do not accept other proficiency tests as sufficient proof of competence in the English language.

1. IELTS (International English Testing System)

  • The minimum IELTS score is 6.5 (minimum score subsection: 6.0).
  • Your IELTS score needs to have been attained within the last two years. Older scores will not be accepted.

2. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

  • The minimum TOEFL scores are:
    • 575 for the paper based test (minimum score subsection: 57);
    • 232 for the computer based test (minimum score subsection: 23);
    • 90 for the internet based test (minimum score subsection: 22).
  • NIHES accepts TOEFL MyBest certificates as proof of English proficiency. Make sure to enter the TOEFL Institutional Code 8462 when taking your test.
  • Your TOEFL score needs to have been attained within the last two years. Older scores will not be accepted.

3. Cambridge Proficiency

  • The minimum Cambridge Proficiency score is C1.
  • Cambridge Proficiency scores have no expiration date.

An English proficiency test is not required if you can prove through written, official certificates that English was the language of instruction at your secondary school and at your university.

If you have the Chinese nationality, you need to have your diplomas (and IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge test score) assessed by the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic). If your documents have been approved, you will receive a confirmation from Nuffic. NIHES needs this confirmation email to start the application procedure for your visa. For up-to-date information, please visit the Nuffic website. Note that you need to reapply for a Nuffic certificate for every higher education institute you apply to.