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International Admissions

Admission Eligibility

The Naval Postgraduate School is an accredited graduate degree university established for the advanced education of selected United States and Allied military officers on active duty. The only civilian students accepted must be employees of an agency within the United States Government, or of sponsoring allied governments. 

Admission Procedures

Unlike civilian schools, we do not accept an application for admission directly from a prospective student. All international students must be formally sponsored and nominated by their respective governments. There is no formal application form. Requests for evaluation of academic records for admission into a specified curriculum should be made through appropriate channels in your Ministry of Defense. Your authorities will coordinate your application with the Security Cooperation Office of the U.S. Embassy in your country and that office will forward your records to NPS for formal evaluation for the specified curriculum. The academic records that you need to provide for forwarding to NPS should consist of a legible copy, in English, of the official transcript from each college and university that you attended. Transcripts should include the title or subject area of each course studied, the number of credit hours and the grade or score you received in each course, and the date and name of each degree and certificate that you have been awarded. Grading scale in use, as well as lowest passing marks, should also be shown. Ideally, transcripts should be received by NPS four to six months prior to the requested start date. For programs that lead to the Ph.D., current results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required. Please note that the GRE is not required for Masters Degree programs. After your records are received by NPS, four to six weeks are required for our evaluation process.


Academic Requirements

Academic requirements are straightforward and simple. All students accepted for admission must possess, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree or equivalent. This course work must have been completed at a recognized university or college with a grade point average of at least C+ (2.20 on a 4.0 scale). For candidates applying for entry into the Department of National Security Affairs, a grade point average of 2.6 is required. For technical or engineering programs, successful completion of calculus and calculus-based physics must be documented as well. The Business School degree programs (MBA’s) and Special Operations curricula require successful completion of college level algebra.


International candidates from non-English speaking countries will be required to validate their fluency in English through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The minimum TOEFL score required for direct entry to NPS is 83 IBT (Internet Based Test) or 560 (written test). Additionally, the IGPO requires that a candidate achieve a minimum of 18 in each of the four testing sections of the IBT (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Candidates applying for entry into the Department of National Security Affairs (curricula 681-693) and to the International Master’s in Public Administration program are required to score 90 or higher on the IBT. Waiver requests for scores between 83 and 90 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Candidates for PhD programs or accelerated programs are required to score a minimum of 100 on the IBT. Waiver requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis for scores between 90 and 100 and on the overall application package.

When applying for a TOEFL exam, the NPS identification code is 4831. This should be included on the registration application so a copy of the results can be sent directly to NPS. TOEFL test results are valid for two years from the test date and must be valid when the student reports to NPS.

A candidate who fails to achieve the 83 IBT score but who does achieve a 70 IBT score is eligible to attend the 16-week TOEFL Preparatory Academic Writing Course (Advanced Language Proficiency III), MASL P177022 (16 weeks) at the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio, Texas. DLI will also accept a score of 85 on the English Comprehension Level (ECL) test if it is achieved within 30 days prior to arrival at DLI. For admission to NPS, the minimum requirement upon completion of the TOEFL Prep course is 78 (IBT) with a minimum of 16 in each of the four testing sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing).

The only countries exempted from TOEFL testing are those countries who are exempted from all ECL testing requirements as determined by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) memorandum published in January 2019 (Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom). (Note: Students from Austria, Germany, Kenya, Pakistan, Sweden, and Switzerland scheduled for senior PME courses, including NPS, are also exempt from all in-country and CONUS ECL, TOEFL, and OPI testing.)
Information regarding TOEFL testing can be obtained at the following addresses:

TOEFL Website:

Mailing Address:
TOEFL/TSE Services
Test of English as a Foreign Language
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA

Telephone: 609-771-7100

Most countries have in-country testing locations where test applications/test bulletins may be obtained.  Generally, testing sites are located at local colleges and universities.  When applying for a TOEFL exam, remember to identify NPS on your application with Code 4831.  This will ensure that your test score results will be sent directly to us.

The following country does not have CBT and will continue to offer the paper-based exam (Bhutan). (Direct entry score of 560 required.

Test dates for the paper-based exam are scheduled periodically throughout the year.  Check with TOEFL Services for actual dates and registration deadlines.  Be sure and allow at least 3 months from time of application to our receiving your test results.

International English Learning Testing System (IELTS)  

The IELTS may be substituted for the TOEFL test in those cases where the TOEFL Test is not available.  A score of 6.5 is required for direct entry to NPS.  A score of 5.0 will be required for entry to the TOEFL Prep course.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

The Naval Postgraduate School has an established on-campus English as a Second Language (ESL) program.  We continue to utilize an ESL instructor on staff from DLI (ELC).  The ESL Instructor on staff will teach both a speaking and writing course (see course descriptions below).

IT1600 Communications Skills for International Officers (3 credit hours).

A first-quarter course that provides the opportunity to enhance English speaking and listening skills for professional and academic environments through exercises, group discussions, and instructional briefings on a variety of subjects. The course addresses pronunciation, fluency, idiomatic usage, cultural conventions, and language functions by incorporating texts, videos, and realia to improve collaborative interaction. Building reading and writing skills is part of the course but not the main focus. Enrollment for students who are required to take the TOEFL for admission to NPS is determined by individual interviews conducted during Orientation Week.

IT1700 Academic Writing for International Officers (3 credit hours).

Prepares international students for the task of writing research papers and/or a thesis for an American institution of higher-education. A vigorous dedication to the writing process (pre-writing, writing, revision, and proofing) is required. The course covers the rhetorical considerations and styles of academic writing by examining appropriate organization, content, audience consideration, voice, and source citation in anticipation of degree coursework. Analysis and discussion of sample articles and essays from a variety of sources are important elements supporting skills development. Students should expect to devote up to six (6) non-instruction hours each week for completing assignments. This course is required for students with TOEFL writing scores lower than 23 (others can be considered on a case-by-case basis) and must be completed before thesis writing commences.

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