Office: International Student and Scholar Services
Location: University Center 305
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Address: http://nku.edu/international
Director: François Le Roy
Other Key Personnel:
Assistant Director of Immigration Services: Adam Widanski
Assistant Director of International Admissions: Rebecca D. Hansen
Manager of International Admissions and Credential Evaluation: Jane Bratton
Immigration Advisor: Sarah Mackey
Intercultural Programs Coordinator: Fatimata Ndiaye
International Student Specialist: Hoon Kang
International Student and Scholar Services supports all prospective and current international students (non-immigrants). The office issues the required documentation (Form I-20 and DS-2019) for all newly admitted undergraduate students, granting them the opportunity to apply for a student visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. The office handles all recruitment and admission of international undergraduate students including admission policies and standards. In addition, ISSS offers various programs to educate students about American life and culture and expose the greater NKU community to international students on campus. Members of the office staff serve as advisors to the International Student Union, a group that sponsors an international dinner and fashion show each spring.
International students (all non-immigrants) should apply to Northern Kentucky University at least four months before the beginning of the semester for which they wish to enroll. In general, applicants will be admitted only after they have documented that they have acceptable academic credentials. Students may be conditionally admitted to a degree program contingent upon submitting proof of English proficiency at a later date. Conditionally admitted students will remain in the American English Language Program or the Bridge program until a full-time course load is available (if necessary for visa status) and proof of English proficiency is submitted. International applicants are required to submit the following credentials:
- International online application for undergraduate admission* (http://www.nku.edu/apply.html).
- A $40 nonrefundable application fee.
- Declaration and certification of finances (Financial Certification Form).
- Official or certified copies of transcripts of secondary school coursework in the original language, appropriate certificates of examination (if applicable), AND certified English translations (if applicable).
- An official transcript from each college or university attended, certified English translations (if applicable), AND a professional course-by-course evaluation from a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (http://naces.org/).
- Evidence of English proficiency.
*Students wishing to apply for conditional admission through NKU’s American English Language Program should use the International online application for undergraduate international student admission.
The SAT exam may be required of students from certain countries depending on U.S. consulate procedures, the first language of the student’s home country and/or language proficiency. Those individuals will be so advised by the university or U.S. consulate.
||For Fall Semester
||For Spring Semester
Summer term admission is typically not available for fully admitted international students who wish to take degree classes. If a transfer student must apply for summer admission because of immigration constraints, the student must contact International Student and Scholar Services.
English proficiency required for admission can be satisfied by any one of the following:
An official and satisfactory score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) taken within the last two years. The minimum TOEFL scores to be considered for admission are a 500 on the paper-based exam or a 61 on the internet-based (iBT) exam. Students interested in applying for a post baccalaureate program must submit a 550 or above on the paper-based TOEFL or an iBT score of 79 or above.
Documentation of having satisfactorily completed freshman-level English composition at an American regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. and an overall acceptable GPA. Non-native speakers of English may still be asked to take the TOEFL if it has been several years since taking the English courses or if the student has returned to his or her home country for several years since taking the course.
A satisfactory score on the verbal portion of the ACT or SAT taken within the last two years. The minimum scores to be considered for admission are an ACT of 18 or SAT of 430 (through 3/15/16) or 25 (effective 3/16/16).
An official and satisfactory score from the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) taken within the last two years. The minimum IELTS scores to be considered for admission must include a cumulative band of 5.5 and sub-scores in reading and writing of 5.0 or better. Students interested in applying for a post baccalaureate program must submit an IELTS score of 6.5 band or above.
- Successful completion of NKU’s American English Language Program with at least an 80% in each AELP class.
International students educated in countries where English is the primary spoken language will be exempt from the English proficiency requirements. Please contact International Student and Scholar Services for a list of NKU approved countries where English is considered the primary language. International students from countries where English is considered the primary language are still required to take the SAT or ACT to be considered for admission. Some departments, such as nursing, may have selective admission requirements.
Note: Students wishing to declare pre-nursing as a major must obtain a minimum cumulative TOEFL paper-based score of 550, internet-based (iBT) score of 79, or IELTS score of 6.5 unless exempted by another language proficiency standard as noted above. To be considered for admission to the nursing program, international students must submit a cumulative total iBT of at least 90. The paper-based TOEFL and the IELTS exams are not acceptable for admission to the nursing program. An interview with the program director may also be required.
Placement Testing Requirements for International Students
Once admitted, all undergraduate international students (including transfer students) may be required to take one or more placement tests in order to determine placement in mathematics, English, and/or reading, unless specifically exempted by the university. All placement tests may be taken only once and must be taken within a student’s first semester at NKU. A student may re-test one time for a fee (must wait 30 days in between testing sessions). If international students do not place into a college-level course, they will be placed into the appropriate developmental course. For more information, please refer to the Placement Testing office’s website (http://testing.nku.edu).
NKU College-Readiness Standards
|TOEFL Paper-Based Scores
||Composite 550 or higher
||Reading 48 or higher
|TOEFL Internet-Based Scores
||Composite 79 or higher
||Reading 14 or higher
||Composite 6.5 or higher
||Reading 5.5 or higher
International students who are admitted based on college-ready TOEFL or IELTS scores may not be required to take English or reading placement tests, but may do so in an attempt to place into a college-level course. However, they are required to take a mathematics placement test, unless they produce a transcript showing completion of the NKU equivalent of college-level mathematics.
All placement exams are administered by The Office of Testing Services at NKU. Each placement test can be taken only once. Students register for placement tests online (http://testing.nku.edu). Placement tests cannot be taken for admission purposes.
Writing Placement Test
Students will automatically be enrolled in English writing developmental courses based on either the results of their TOEFL or IELTS exam. Undergraduate international students may be exempt from enrolling in these English language developmental courses (such as “ENGI 099 ”) if one of the following criteria are met at the time of admission:
- A paper-based TOEFL cumulative score of 550 or higher, or internet-based (iBT) TOEFL cumulative score of 79 or higher.
- An IELTS cumulative score of 6.5 or higher.
- An SAT writing score of 25 or 430
- A minimum ACT writing score of 18.
- A transcript showing completion of the NKU equivalent of college writing from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
- Proof of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
No transfer credit is given for English writing for any student who studied in a country where English is not the official or primary language of instruction as determined by International Student and Scholar Services.
Reading Placement Test
The reading exam is not required unless the international student’s TOEFL reading sub-score is below 48 (paper-based), 14 (Internet-based), or an IELTS reading sub-score below 5.5. Reading comprehension is a critical component already assessed with the TOEFL and IELTS examinations. An exemption may be possible for any student with an eligible SAT or ACT on file at the time of admission. No transfer credit is given for English reading for any student who studied in a country where English is not the official or primary language as determined by International Student and Scholar Services.
Mathematics Placement Test
All international students without an eligible SAT or ACT score will be required to take the mathematics placement exam unless they receive transfer credit for mathematics. International students who submit ACT or SAT scores will be required to take the mathematics placement exam if their test scores fall below the CPE standards. See minimum scores on the testing and placement website (http://testing.nku.edu).
Generally, admitted international students with college-ready test scores on the TOEFL, IELTS or other NKU placement test will not be required to take any additional developmental literacy courses, but an individual department may request that the student do so. Students must enroll in all required developmental courses within the first two semesters of enrollment. Students must continue to enroll in developmental classes until they have passed all of the classes that the university requires them to take. Developmental courses do not contribute to the credits required for graduation and will not be calculated in the GPA.
Developmental Literacy Courses
Developmental Mathematics Courses
English Transfer Credit Policy for International Students
Generally, international students are not permitted to receive English transfer credit or be considered for re-evaluation of English transfer credit for any English language courses taken prior to initial admission to NKU. English language coursework will be considered for transfer credit only if the student is from a country where English is the official language of instruction. Otherwise, there are no exceptions to this policy.
Every international student must enroll in “ENGI 099 Writing Workshop for International Students (3 credits) ” during the student’s first semester of study at NKU unless otherwise exempted by meeting one of the following criteria:
- A paper-based TOEFL score above 550.
- An Internet-based TOEFL score above 79.
- An IELTS score above 6.5.
- Completion of the equivalence of “ENG 101 College Writing - WC (3 credits) ” at a regionally accredited U.S. university or college.
- Passing score on the COMPASS placement test (given only once during the life of a student).
International students will not receive transfer credit or be exempt from taking “ENGI 099 Writing Workshop for International Students (3 credits) ,” “ENGI 080 Writing Laboratory for International Students (1 credit) ,” “ENG 101 College Writing - WC (3 credits) ,” “ENG 102 Advanced College Writing - WC (3 credits) ,” or any other English language course after initial admission to NKU. Articulation agreements do not include credit for English language coursework unless the university is located in a country where English is the official language. Please contact International Student and Scholar Services for a list of NKU-approved countries where English is the official language.
International Student Transfer Applicants
Students must submit certified English translations (if applicable) along with original foreign language transcripts for all university and/or postsecondary coursework completed overseas or in the U.S. Also, students must submit detailed course descriptions and/or syllabi of all completed coursework in order to receive NKU transfer credit. This documentation, including the transfer credit evaluation form, must be received by International Student and Scholar Services within 30 days of the student’s acceptance to NKU and no later than 30 days after the start of the student’s first enrolled semester at NKU.
In addition, all students wishing to receive international transfer credit must submit certified copies of all post-secondary transcripts to an official evaluation company for a course-by-course evaluation of credentials. NKU only accepts evaluations from companies that maintain active membership in the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (http://www.naces.org). ISSS does not guarantee NKU course equivalents but will work with departments to evaluate coursework as appropriate.
Students are required to submit all required credentials to be considered for admission, regardless of whether or not they wish to receive transfer credit. Any student who fails to provide accurate and complete, certified copies of all educational credentials prior to being admitted to NKU may be dismissed from the university and/or denied transfer credit.
The first professional transcript evaluation submitted by a student will be evaluated for transfer credit. If a student later takes courses at another school, the coursework that has already been evaluated by NKU will not be re-evaluated; the additional courses will be evaluated separately. Credits from a university which has a standing articulation agreement with NKU will not be submitted for professional transcript evaluation.
Overseas Articulation Agreements
NKU has established agreements with overseas universities for the purpose of degree completion. Each articulation is unique, so students who are studying at the following universities and are interested in further details should contact their academic advisor, or reach out to NKU at email@example.com:
Hansung University (South Korea)
Jubail Industrial College (Saudi Arabia)
Sichuan Normal University (China)
Thu Dao Mot University (Vietnam)
University of Ulsan (South Korea)
American English Language Program (AELP)
Location: University Center 300
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Address: http://nku.edu/aelp
Coordinators: Dana Linville and Melissa Napier
The American English Language Program is an intensive English program that serves to develop students’ reading, writing, listening, speaking, and grammar skills in order to participate successfully in university study or for personal growth. Emphasis is placed on acclimating students to American culture, campus life, and the local community. The primary goals of the program are: (1) student achievement at an advanced level of English proficiency to be successful in university undergraduate and graduate settings, and (2) student ability to speak fluently on topics related to university study and engage in conversation using everyday English.
AELP offers an intensive program (required of all F-1 or J-1 students) of 25 hours of instruction each week, a semi-intensive program of 15 hours of instruction each week, or a bridge program that allows students who have received the required exam score (TOEFL ITP of 485 or higher) to take intensive English and university-level classes concurrently.
New sessions begin in August (Fall Semester), January (Spring Semester), and May (Summer Session) for 15 weeks each session, with the exception of the summer term which is eight weeks. All instructors have degrees and experience related to teaching English to international students. The application and additional information are available on the web (http://isss.nku.edu/aelp.html).
Students seeking to enroll only in AELP must submit an AELP application and pay a $50 application fee. Students seeking conditional admission to NKU should apply to NKU using the regular international online application and follow the instructions outlined by the Office of International Students and Scholars for admission to NKU as an international student. Email inquiries may be sent to email@example.com.
To be considered for the bridge program, an intensive English program student should have a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 485, an Internet-based TOEFL score of at least 59, or a 5.0 on the International English Language Testing Service exam. The student must also have been enrolled in the intensive English program for at least one 16-week term and must have demonstrated good progress with conscientious preparation and regular attendance. Students must receive permission from the AELP director and the chair of the chosen academic department. Bridge students are limited to six semester credit hours of university-level coursework.
Undergraduate students who are unable to show proof of English proficiency may still apply and be conditionally admitted to a degree program at NKU. Conditionally admitted students must first enroll in the AELP and achieve a minimum passing score of 500 on the institutional TOEFL, 5.5 on the IELTS (with minimum sub-scores of a 5.0 in reading and a 5.0 in writing), a 61 on the TOEFL iBT, or successful completion of level 6 of AELP with a minimum of 80% in each of the four AELP subject areas of Grammar, Writing, Reading, and University Preparation.
Note: Students who achieve a paper-based TOEFL score below 550, internet-based TOEFL below 79 or an IELTS score below 6.5 will also be required to enroll in “ENGI 099 Writing Workshop for International Students (3 credits) ” and “ENGI 080 Writing Laboratory for International Students (1 credit) ” before moving into freshman composition (“ENG 101 College Writing - WC (3 credits) ”).
Admitted students who wish to be considered for an exemption from ENGI 099 , may choose to take the NKU writing placement test during or before orientation. Students must receive a passing score on this writing placement test to be eligible for an exemption. Each placement test can be taken only once. Placement testing is for NKU admitted students only and cannot be taken for admission purposes to NKU. Students register for placement tests online (http://testing.nku.edu).
Exchange Students (Non-Immigrant J-1)
Location: University Center 330
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Address: http://international.nku.edu/studyabroad.html
Coordinator: Anne Perry
The Office of Education Abroad works in partnership with International Student and Scholar Services to receive a select group of exchange students each semester. OEA receives notification of an NKU exchange student from the student’s home institution, and these students typically arrive as J-1 exchange visitors. International Student and Scholar Services staff create the required Form DS-2019 in SEVIS in order for the student to arrive in the United States with a J-1 exchange visitor’s visa status. SEVIS reporting is managed by ISSS while orientation and programming are a joint effort of both OEA and ISSS.
Health Insurance Requirement for all F-1 and J-1 Students
NKU requires all international students to maintain medical insurance that provides coverage in the U.S. and meets certain minimum benefit requirements. To ensure this, NKU will automatically enroll all NKU international students, scholars, and their dependents with F-1/F-2 and J-1/J-2 status in an international student health plan available through the university. Information about the international student health insurance plan is available through International Student and Scholar Services at 859-572-6517. Certain international students may be eligible to request a waiver by completing a waiver petition form and submitting it to ISSS. Students must submit a waiver petition form request every academic year to remain eligible for the waiver.