International Students

SPU welcomes international student applications, and values the opportunity to provide educational opportunities for qualified students from a variety of cultural backgrounds. SPU also seeks to admit students who would most benefit from the distinctives of the institution. 

International students are non-immigrants to the United States and are here on a temporary U.S. visa. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and naturalized citizens are not considered international students, even if they are living outside the U.S.

Transferring International Credits

If you completed college or university-level coursework from institution(s) outside the U.S., you must have your college or university transcripts evaluated by a professional credential evaluation service.

SPU accepts professional credential evaluations from agencies recognized by NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services), such as World Education Services and the Foundation for International Services.

Students who attended high school outside the U.S. and Canada may be awarded credit for external examinations for advanced high school work equivalent to a thirteenth year. The decision to award credit is dependent on examination scores and will require faculty review of course syllabi and subjects taken. SPU requires an officially certified copy of exam results showing scores for each exam subject, with an official English translation.  Combined credit for all test programs cannot exceed 45 quarter credits.

Academic Qualifications

Successful applicants who have completed their secondary education outside the U.S. usually present a grade point average equivalent to a U.S. 3.0 (“B”) or higher. Transfer applicants should have the equivalent of at least a U.S. 2.5 college-level transfer GPA to be successful in their application for transfer admission to SPU.

University Student Medical Insurance Plan

All students studying at SPU on a visa, as well as undocumented students, are required to enroll in the University student medical insurance plan year-round (including vacation periods). Exceptions to this policy require documentation of a comparable health care plan. Waivers may be obtained only at Health Services and must be completed by the fifth day of the quarter. Students who have not received a waiver automatically will be charged the health insurance premium fee. Though health insurance for students' dependents is not required, it is strongly recommended. 

Non-Matriculated International Students 

Non-matriculated students (those who have not been formally admitted to the University) are expected to submit an acceptable official English proficiency test score (refer to the “English Language Proficiency” information below) to Student Academic Services, and must pay for their courses at the point of registration. In addition, non-matriculated students are required to submit required government documentation to the International Student Records Office no later than the first day of the quarter.

Undergraduate international students may take no more than 45 quarter credits toward a degree without being formally admitted to Seattle Pacific University, and post-baccalaureate students are limited to 15 such credits. 

Procedure to Apply for Admission

  • Complete the Common Application First-Year or Transfer Application, including the SPU member section, and submit it to Undergraduate Admissions along with the $50 nonrefundable application fee.
  • SPU requires certified, official transcripts and (when you have completed a degree) diplomas or leaving certificates from all secondary schools, colleges, and universities attended. All documents must have the official stamp or seal from the issuing institution and must be sent directly by the school or authority (depending on the country) to SPU in a sealed envelope. Documents must be in English or accompanied by official English translations. Applicants should consult with Admissions staff for information about the required documents and procedures for their specific country. Students who, at the time of application, have completed more than 45 university-level/transferable quarter credits or 30 transferable semester units after completing secondary school are not required to submit secondary school records.
  • SPU does not require financial documentation as part of the application process. However, if you are offered admission and to satisfy visa-application requirements, you will be required to document adequate funds to cover your educational and living expenses for your intended period of study at SPU. Note: While international students are eligible to be awarded SPU merit scholarships, federal financial assistance is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
  • International students are not required to submit scores from SAT/ACT exams. However, scores do enhance an application and students presenting sufficiently high reading and writing scores may be exempted from the English proficiency test requirement.

English Proficiency

If you are a non-native English speaker,* you must demonstrate English proficiency. You can accomplish this in several ways:

  • Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The required minimum score is 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 550 on the paper-based test (pBT).
  • Take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. The minimum score requirement is an overall band score of 6.5.
  • Take the Pearson’s Test of English (PTE Academic). The minimum score is 56.
  • Native Japanese speakers may take the EIKEN exam. SPU’s score requirement is pre-level 1 or higher.

The English proficiency test requirement will be waived for the following applicants:

  • Students who complete the ESL program at either the Associates in Cultural Exchange (ACE) Language Institute, which is housed adjacent to the SPU campus, or the Washington Academy of Languages (WAL), located nearby. Students must receive a full recommendation from ACE or WAL for admission to the University. Students who receive a full recommendation are not required to submit a proficiency test score.
  • Post-baccalaureate applicants who earned a bachelor’s degree or higher at a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S., or recognized university in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, or New Zealand.

*SPU considers an international student to be a native English speaker if both their primary and secondary education took place in Australia, Canada (other than Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, or the U.S. (other than Puerto Rico).

International Student Orientation

All students attending SPU on a visa are required to attend international student orientation. This orientation is typically held the week prior to the beginning of the new quarter. New students will be notified via their SPU email of the date and time of this orientation.

Undergraduate International students new to SPU are required to attend the all-student orientation in addition to international student orientation. Information will be provided to new students by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership regarding the date, time, and location of all-student orientation.