Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

International Student Hub

Stepping across Borders: Resources for International Students

Welcome to IPS at Loyola University Chicago! Pursuing graduate education in a new country requires courage and perseverance.  We are pleased that many international students choose to study at the IPS.  In order to facilitate your transition to the U.S. educational system, Loyola provides many important services.

In addition to this page, please also be sure to review the steps outlined for admitted students on the New Student Hub webpage or the Continuing Student Hub webpage to assist with answers to commonly asked questions.

Language Proficiency

International applicants are required to provide official TOEFL or IELTS scores as part of the admission requirements.  The minimum requirements for University and IPS admission are:

  • TOEFL Paper based test: 550
  • TOEFL Computer based test: 213
  • TOEFL Internet based test: 79
  • IELTS: 6.5

US Citizens as well as citizens of Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand are exempt from the above requirements. The English Language Proficiency Test requirement is waived for international applicants who have completed or are in progress to complete, prior to starting at Loyola, a four-year bachelor’s or a master’s degree program in the United States. Upon receipt of official transcript(s) showing conferred or final courses in progress of a U.S. bachelor’s degree or masters degree, the TOEFL/IELTS requirement will be waived. 

Official test scores must be received directly from the testing agency. Tests must have been administered within the past two years.  Scores older than two years are not valid. We do not exempt for degrees from other countries, whether in Europe, Latin America, Asia, or Africa even if the language of instruction was English. 

Individuals who cannot take the TOEFL or IELTS exams are welcome to participate in the Accuplacer_Test_Information_for_Students exam offered through the English Language Learning Program (ELLP) at Loyola University Chicago.  The self-paced exam consists of four sections in listening, reading, sentence/language skills, and a writing section.  Students must be physically present in Chicago to take the ACCUPLACER exam.

International Conditional Admission Program

International Students who score between 70-78 on the TOEFL or 6 on the IELTS exams may still be considered for admission via Loyola’s Graduate International Conditional Admission Program (G-ICAP). Prior to registering for coursework, a Dean’s Block will be placed on the account of the student and the student will be asked to participate in the ACCUPLACER exam offered through the English Language Learning Program (ELLP).  Your timely participation is strongly encouraged.  The sooner we can identify what English Language coursework is need, if any, the sooner you will be able to register for appropriate coursework. 

Students must successfully test out of or pass the first 6 levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) courses with a B- (80%) or better before advancing to Level 7, the Bridge Level.  Students must pass the Bridge Level courses with an 87% and complete an exit exam.  Only during the Bridge Level coursework (ESL101: Graduate Reading, & Critical Thinking and ESL 102: Graduate Writing & Research), it is possible for students to begin taking IPS graduate coursework toward their degree with the permission of their IPS faculty advisor and Director of ESL.

IPS Scholarships and Sponsored Matching Grant contracts are not applicable toward tuition expenses for ESL coursework. To review current tuition and fees for ESL coursework please visit their webpage here.

Immigration and Transition Services

You should be in touch early with Loyola’s Office of International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) as the visa process can be lengthy and often requires several weeks or months to process and acquire.

Once you have been admitted to IPS, ISSS Advisors provide advising services to international students regarding immigration, transition and cross-cultural services, and some academic issues.  You will work with your ISSS Advisor from the point of admission for issuance of the I-20 form which will be mailed to you.  With this document, you will apply for an F-1 Visa in your home country at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Once the U.S. Embassy or Consulate approves your F-1 Visa, you are welcome to make travel arrangements to Chicago.  Once you arrive in Chicago, notify the ISSS Office immediately so that the ISSS Advisor can register you in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SEVIS system.  This is a requirement of all international students.

In addition to attending all IPS Orientation requirements, you are also required to participate in the ISSS Orientation.  Information about this mandatory Orientation will be sent to your LUC email address provided when you were first admitted.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance from IPS is available to all students studying in IPS coursework. International students are eligible to receive IPS scholarship and grants to help with tuition expenses. Please visit our website for more information.  Due to federal law, international students are not eligible to apply for or receive funding through the U.S. Government.

Housing and Transportation

We encourage you to coordinate your housing arrangement well before you arrive on campus.  Ideally, you will begin seeking housing opportunities as soon as you receive your student visa from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Graduate students may live on or off campus.  The Office of Residence Life provides some housing options on-campus and they can refer you to off-campus housing resources. The Office of Off-Campus Student Life has also put together an interactive guide to educate you on the process of finding an apartment, signing a lease, and addressing frequently asked questions.  If you have been admitted to IPS, please log into Option 1 with your UVID and login.  If you have not been admitted to the university, please request Option 2 for guest access.

When you arrive to Chicago you are responsible for finding your own transportation to campus.  Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport have taxis available as well as access to Chicago’s CTA train system. American Taxis accept cash fares or you can pay by credit or debit card. If you decide to ride the train, you will be required to purchase a Ventra card at the CTA station prior to boarding the train.

ISSS provides other valuable resources and information pertaining to transportation resources and local news prior to your arrival on campus. 

Campus Life

Since all in-person classes meet at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, the Office of Water Tower Campus Life is a great resource to discover more about your new community, social events, student organizations, information on housing, a listing of services and study areas on campus, and much more! Located in the Terry Student Center (26 E. Pearson), Water Tower Campus Life programs are developed with graduate, professional, and adult learners in mind. Campus Life also works closely with Water Tower Campus Ministries and the Wellness Center located in the Terry Student Center.

Loyola University Chicago is located in beautiful Chicago a vast and diverse city rich in cultural experiences and economic resources.  We encourage you to get out and explore your new neighborhood and city.  While you’re exploring, here are some other fun Chicago facts.