PLU Office of AdmissionGraduate Programs

International Students

PLU is pleased to welcome international students to our graduate programs.  Our goal is to make the admission process easy to understand, and to support our international applicants every step of the way. 

International Student Application Requirements

To allow ample time for visa and other departure procedures, international applicants should have their application and all supporting documents on file in the Office of Admission, Graduate Programs no less than four months before a proposed date of entry. The following documents are necessary before an application can be processed.

  •  Graduate application for admission with the $40.00 non-refundable application fee (which cannot be waived for any reason) accompanied by required pre-requisites and submissions for the program to which you are applying.  Online / Print
  • Official transcripts in the original language with a certified English translation from each college or university attended in the United States, home country, or other country.  All transcripts must be sent directly to the PLU Office of Admission, Graduate Programs from the institution providing the transcript or from an agency translating the transcript.
  • Degree evaluation:  All degrees attained from foreign institutions must be evaluated for US degree equivalency either on a document-by-document level, or course-by-course level (depending on the program applied for). Links for selected evaluation services can be found at the left.  
  • Two letters of recommendation from school officials or persons of recognized standing. Applicants transferring from a U.S. college or university should request their international student advisor to send a recommendation.
  • Official scores from specific tests (GRE or WEST, for example) as required for certain programs or concentrations.
  • Demonstrated university level proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS exams) in the English language. Minimum requirements are as follows:
    • Master of Business Administration:  Minimum TOEFL-IBT score of 88. Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 accepted in place of TOEFL scores.  TOEFL or IELTS waived for students who graduate from a US college or university with a Bachelors or Masters degree.
    • Master of Science in Finance: Minimum TOEFL-IBT score of 88. Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 accepted in place of TOEFL scores.
    • Master of Science in Marketing Research: Minimum TOEFL-IBT score of 88. Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 accepted in place of TOEFL scores.
    • Master of Arts in Education, Non-Certification Program for International Students:  Minimum TOEFL-IBT score of 88.  Minimum IELTS score of 6.5.   For all other MAE programs, minimum TOEFL-IBT score of 80 or IELTS 6.5.
    • Master of Science in Nursing:  Minimum combined TOEFL-IBT score of 86, with minimum individual scores of 26 in speaking, 20 in writing, 20 in reading, and 20 in listening. IELTS is not accepted.
    • All other programs:  Minimum TOEFL-IBT score of 80. Minimum IELTS score of 6.5.
  • Any other application requirement by department.  You can download the appropriate paper application to see the list of required application materials for your program.

How to Apply

You may apply in two ways:

Send Graduate Application form and all application materials to:

PLU Office of Admission--Graduate Programs
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003


  • MBA:  The PLU MBA offers rolling admission. Our MBA Admissions Committee reviews all application as they are received. However, in order to have sufficient time to prepare for the start of the term, it is highly recommended that you submit your application by the following dates:
    • March 1 for a summer entry
    • June 1 for a fall entry
    • November 15 for a spring entry
  • MSF:  The Master of Science in Finance Program begins each September (fall entry only). Our MSF Admissions Committee reviews applications and makes admissions decisions monthly.  To help you prepare for the start of the program, we recommend you submit your application as early as possible.
    Application review dates:
    • March 15
    • April 15
    • May 15
  • MAE:  All Master of Arts in Education programs begin in the summer (summer entry only).  The deadline to apply is:
    • April 1
  • MFA:  Prospective participants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Applicants will be considered on a year-round basis, with the following cycle:
    • Early Action--November 30
    • Regular Admission--February 15
  • MFT:  The Master of Arts, Marriage and Family Therapy program begins in the fall (fall entry only). The deadline to apply is:
    • January 31
  • MSN:  The Master of Science in Nursing programs begin each summer (summer entry only, with a couple of exceptions for MSN/MBA and MSN COM which may start in the fall).  The deadline to apply is:
    • November 15

I-20 Processing

An I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status) will be issued only after all application documents have been received, the application has been reviewed, the student has been offered admission, and the student has accepted the offer of admission by returning all required forms, and making the $300.00 non-refundable advance tuition deposit. 

For the PLU Office of Admission to issue an I-20 form, international graduate students must:

  • Make the $300 non-refundable advance tuition deposit and return acceptance forms
  • Fill out the Declaration of Finance Form and provide supporting documentation
  • Provide a copy of the student’s passport picture page
  • Provide the address to which the I-20 should be mailed (no PO Boxes)
  • Provide phone number associated with the address, to assist the courier service

The documents noted above (the Declaration of Finance, passport picture page, I-20 mailing address and associated phone number) are not required for the application to be considered for admission, but will be required prior to issuance of an I-20. To expedite admission processing, applicants should consider submitting them at the time that they apply. 

The Declaration of Finances Form

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that Pacific Lutheran University verifies the financial resources of all international student applicants.  The Declaration of finance form is for that purpose.  Below are some sample forms, but the form will be customized to the applicant: 

The Student Visa Process

General Application Process for F-1 Student Visa 

  • Pay SEVIS I-901 fee online.  Be sure to print out your payment receipt!
  • Pay the visa application fee as instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s web site
  • Make an appointment for a visa interview at local U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country
  • Complete following forms

General Items to Bring to Your Interview

  • Valid Passport (valid for at least 6 months after the proposed date of entry into the US)
  • I-20 issued by PLU
  • Letter of Acceptance from PLU
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
  • Visa fee payment receipt
  • Completed Form DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • One 2 x 2 (5.1 cm x 5.1cm) photograph in prescribed format
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended if available (college, university)
  • Scores from standardized tests such as the TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, etc (if available).
  • Financial documents showing source and amount of funding available to pay for your education in the U.S.
  • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the US. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

If you are successful at the interview and granted for a student visa, you should be able to receive your visa within the wait time set by the U.S. Embassy. Check the regular visa wait time here. 

After receiving your student visa, please contact the PLU Office of Admissions, Graduate Programs( ) for notification and further assistance.

International Student Housing

International students may choose to live on-campus or off-campus.  Those who do choose to live on-campus may choose South Hall, our apartment-style housing.   For more information, contact the PLU Residential Life department. 

International Student Health Insurance

International Students are automatically enrolled to PLU International Student Health Insurance. The cost for the PLU plan (around $1,600.00 per year) will be billed directly to your student account.

The PLU Health Center will be your primary care office where you can go for any health concerns. The Health Center is located on campus and houses a very friendly, knowledgeable staff.

If you would like to waive-out from PLU International Student Health Insurance, the PLU International Student Insurance Plan waiver form must be received by the PLU Finance & Operations Office by an established deadline (normally the 10th day of classes). Your primarily insurance coverage needs to be equivalent or better than PLU International Student Health Insurance.

For more information, visit the International Student Services Heath Insurance and Medical Information page.

International Student Orientation

The International Student Services office leads a mandatory international student orientation each year for both graduate and undergraduate students.  Please look up their website for information on:  

    Orientation Schedule/Date
    New Student To Do List
    What to Bring to PLU
    Arriving to the US
    International Peer Advisors

Take some time to check out the ISS website--it has so much great information for all international students!

International Student Arrival and Enrollment Requirements

Upon arrival, international students must report to the International Student Services office for purposes of immigration.
International students are required by immigration regulations to enroll as full-time students (a minimum of 8 credit hours per semester for graduate studies). Students are also required to submit the appropriate medical forms to the university’s Health Services. Students may also be required to have a physical exam. Before enrolling for classes, all international students are required to have health and medical insurance, which is obtained through the university after arrival on campus.


Please contact the Office of Admission, Graduate Programs, at + 1-253-535-7151 or