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: 79
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • PTE: 53
  • Duolingo: 105

If an applicant is a citizen of or has completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the US, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, or New Zealand, they are exempt from the language exam. Upon receipt of official transcript(s) showing conferred or final courses in progress of a relevant bachelor’s degree or master’s 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. 

Transcript Evaluation

Applicants who completed post-secondary education abroad are required to submit all non-U.S. transcripts to an evaluation service for an evaluation of academic credentials. The evaluation report must show that your non-U.S. education is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree to be considered for admission. 

Loyola traditionally accepts evaluations from two companies: Educational Perspectives and Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE). We recommend that applicants who attended seminaries or similar religious institutions use Educational Perspectives. Applicants who attended non-religious institutions may use either company. At this time, Loyola has extended the acceptable evaluation sites and now permits transcript evaluations from any NACES affiliate, including WES. To be considered for admission, reports must be sent from the evaluation company to gradapp@luc.edu

The evaluation is waived for applicants who have completed a master’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution. Please see details for our recommended providers below:

1. Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE)

    Please request a General Evaluation with Grade Average.

2. Educational Perspectives

    Please request a General Evaluation. You may apply online or print and submit this  form directly to Educational Perspectives: EP Application

Request the "General Evaluation with Grade Average."
Please request that the evaluation be sent directly to:
Graduate & Professional Enrollment Management
820 N. Michigan Avenue, 12th Floor,
Chicago, IL 60611 or electronically at gradapp@luc.edu.

We will receive an e-mail from the evaluator upon the completion of the evaluation and an online copy will be made available to us. You will not need to mail a separate copy.

Copies and faxes are not accepted as official documents; we must receive the report directly. Applicants currently enrolled in a program should not request the evaluation until the last term of enrollment, or until after graduation. If an evaluation is requested prior to the last term of enrollment, the equivalency of a U.S. bachelor's degree cannot be established or verified.

The evaluation is waived for applicants who have completed a master's degree from an accredited U.S. institution.

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.