International Students


Mills College is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students and encourages applications from graduates of colleges and universities abroad that have the equivalent of a regionally accredited four-year US bachelor's degree, and international students who have graduated from US universities. Admission of international students is highly competitive and is based on a close examination of a variety of credentials.

International applicants must submit the same application materials as domestic applicants as well as provide proof of English language proficiency, and meet the requirements found in the Certification of Finances. Please refer to Graduate Admissions for application requirements and deadlines.


Mills College requires all applicants who hold a bachelor's degree from outside of the US to submit an official transcript evaluation from a member organization of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). The official transcript evaluation should be a course-by-course evaluation, which assesses whether a student’s undergraduate degree is equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree, the student’s undergraduate grade point average (GPA), and the grades the student received in all courses taken towards completion of the bachelor’s degree. Students also have the option of sending us a general transcript evaluation, which only assesses equivalency to a US bachelor’s degree, as long as the evaluation is also accompanied by an official transcript sent to us directly from their institution and a certified translation of the official transcript if it is not originally in English. The Office of Admissions advises students to request transcript evaluations as early as possible in the application process.

Proof of English Language Proficiency

Non-native English speakers or students who have been in a non-English speaking culture for three or more years must show proof of English language proficiency. Mills College accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the English Language School (ELS) Certificate, or the Education First (EF) level C21 completion certificate to satisfy the language proficiency requirement.

Mills College accepts certain conditions to fulfill the English Language Proficiency Requirement:

  1. Minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test (600 minimum for English programs), or 80 IBT (100 minimum for English programs)
  2. Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (7.0 minimum for English programs)
  3. English Language School (ELS) Certificate for Level 112
  4. Bachelor’s degrees from an accredited university of college located in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Great Britain.
  5. Minimum of one year of recent US college or university attendance

More information about the exams are available online at the ETS website, the IELTS website, and the ELS website.

The College makes every effort to determine if a candidate is able to do successful college-level work in English. If, after the student arrives, it appears that they need additional help in English, they may have to obtain the services of a tutor at their own expense.

Certification of Finances

The Certificate of Finances form and official supporting bank documents must be submitted prior to enrollment. Per US government regulations, an international applicant should have sufficient funds for two years of tuition, fees, and living expenses in the United States. Original documents may be mailed or emailed to Mills College’s Office of Admissions as scanned copies. Faxes are not accepted. International applicants should be aware that financial assistance is very limited. Even applicants who receive financial aid must be prepared to contribute significantly to the cost of their education. Failure to pay outstanding fees prevents students from registering for classes and endangers their valid nonimmigrant student status.

US government regulations prohibit students with an F-1 student visa from off-campus employment, unless 1) the student receives advanced approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Optional Practical Training (OPT), or 2) employment is an integral part of the established curriculum, which would qualify students for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Some academic departments are also able to offer graduate assistantships to international students, and there are also opportunities for on-campus employment, though limited. However, international students should not rely on employment, either on or off campus, as the primary means of financing their graduate education.

Conditional Admission

Conditional admission may be granted to students who have met the program academic requirements but have not yet satisfied the English language proficiency requirement. Students admitted under conditional admission must enroll in an English for Academic Programs course at an ELS Language Center and complete the ELS Level 112 Certificate, or meet the minimum TOEFL, or IELTS requirements for their program prior to enrolling at Mills. Conditional admission is valid for up to one year. Students who do not complete the language requirement in that time are required to re-apply.

Conditionally admitted students may not submit an enrollment deposit until they have met the terms of their conditional admission. Students must complete their conditional requirements by July 15 for fall, or November 1 for spring enrollment.

To learn more, please visit the ELS Language Center.

Obtaining an I-20 Form

An I-20 form will be provided only after the admitted student has submitted the $300 nonrefundable tuition deposit to the Office of Admissions. This deposit will be credited to the student's first-semester tuition.

The I-20 form will allow international applicants to apply for an F-1 student visa to study in the United States. Students should make an appointment at the nearest US consulate in their country and take the I-20 form, their passport, proof of their financial ability, proof of payment of the SEVIS fee, English proficiency test score reports, and their Mills College acceptance letter to their appointment. Upon consulate approval, an official at the consulate will affix an F-1 visa inside the passport. Together with the I-20 form, this student visa will enable the student to enter the United States.

If the student has attended another US university or college just prior to enrolling at Mills, their SEVIS record will be transferred to Mills. The student must request their previous institution to complete an I-20 Transfer Request form to be mailed or emailed to Mills College’s Office of Admissions.

It is important for international students to follow US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations. A prospective student may not obtain an I-20 from one institution and use it to attend another. International students must be in continuous full-time enrollment in order to maintain their valid student status.

The College advises international applicants to communicate clearly with the US Consulate or Embassy in their country to receive the most accurate information and guidance in seeking opportunities for study abroad.


On-campus housing is available for graduate students. Please see the Housing section of the website for more information about on-campus housing.

If international students plan to live on campus, the College recommends they apply for on-campus housing as early as possible. If international students plan to live off campus, students may contact the Office of Admissions for additional information and should conduct personal research on commuting and neighborhood options.