International Students

International students applying for a graduate program at the Cook School of Intercultural Studies must meet the admissions requirements for their program of choice, in addition to the international student admissions requirements found below. These requirements detail varying application deadlines, required documents and more.

Our International Student Admissions office is here to help you navigate the application process. Contact us with your questions!

Whitney Spradley
Assistant Director, International Admissions


Admission Deadline: June 1 *

* Please note that some programs have earlier application deadlines. Check here for the specific application deadline for your program.

Admission Requirements

International students must follow the requirements listed below. All documents must be received before your application will be considered.

  1. Submit an application
    Follow the steps to apply provided on the Cook School of Intercultural Studies graduate admissions page. Application deadlines vary based on program of choice and semester of entry.

  2. Provide proof of English proficiency
    Cook requires all students whose first language is not English to provide proof of English proficiency. Ways to provide proof of English proficiency includes one of the following:
    • Meet minimum TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo test score (see specific program requirements). Due to limited testing availability during the Covid-19 season, Biola is currently accepting Duolingo test scores as an alternative to TOEFL or IELTS scores. Submitting Duolingo scores may also result in a brief internal English proficiency assessment as part of the admissions process.
    • Provide official transcript showing accredited degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) completed/taught fully in English
    • Successfully complete Biola’s English Language Program with passing status on the ELP Exit Exam 
  3. Submit official transcripts
    • All International transcripts need U.S. grade equivalencies noted (e.g. GPA on a 4.0 scale). If your transcripts do not show U.S. grade equivalencies, you must have them evaluated by the a credential evaluation agency like SpanTran (Biola Discount), World Education Services (WES) or Foundation for International Services (FIS).
    • Be sure to choose "course by course report" and have SpanTran/WES/FIS send them directly to Biola University via online portal or post (13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639) in order to be considered official.
    • Official transcripts can also be physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution.  
  4. F-1 Student Visa Required Documents
    • The following are the required I-20 documents needed to create a Form I-20, which is needed to apply for your F-1 student visa. Please note that if you will be coming with dependents (spouse and/or children), you will need to provide additional documents and funding.
      1. Submit a copy of your passport
        Submit a copy of valid passport, which should be valid after 6 months of the program start date. Upload passport(s) in the Online Application Portal.

      2. Submit an Affidavit of Support(s)
        • An Affidavit of Support is a document that shows your financial sponsor’s support for your study in the U.S. Before we issue you a Form I-20, you must demonstrate full financial support for at least the first year of study on-campus.
        • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not allow us to issue I-20 forms (used to obtain student visas) without documented proof that the student has sufficient funds to study in this country.
        • This Affidavit of Support form assures us that you will receive continued financial support from your sponsor(s) for your education at Biola University.
        • Download and upload the Affidavit of Support in the Online Application Portal.
      3. Bank Statement
        For each Affidavit of Support submitted, a bank statement must be sent in from each sponsor. Each bank statement must match the level of support pledged by the sponsor. Many students choose to send Certificates of Deposit as bank statements. Upload bank statement(s) in the Online Application Portal

      4. Apply for the F-1 Student Visa (hybrid/on-campus students only).
        • Once the required I-20 documents are verified by the International Admissions Office, the Form I-20 will be mailed to you
        • Pay the required SEVIS Fee to schedule an F-1 visa appointment at your nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate. For an easy transition into the U.S., make your appointment at least two months prior to first day of class. See Embassy/Consulate Interview Tips for more information.
        • Arrive to U.S. within 30 days of the first day of class. Upon arrival, meet with Biola University’s Immigration Services.


International Student Scholarships

In addition to the departmental scholarships and church-matching scholarship available to all students, these are additional scholarship opportunities for international students.

  • International Student Aid Grant
    This grant is awarded to admitted students only who have excellent academic background with leadership experience. This grant is automatically renewed until you complete the program while you maintain the following requirements for the grant:
    • Must have an F-1 Student Visa
    • Maintain minimum academic standing of 70% / "C"
    • Must be a full-time student during the academic year at Biola student
  • Biola Global Leadership Scholarship (BGLS)
    The BGLS award is a full, tuition-only scholarship for graduate students with the vision of partnering with high-impact global leaders in ministries, missions agencies, and key areas of influence. This scholarship is highly competitive and requires students to provide self or sponsored funding for the living expenses (e.g. room and board). About four or five international students are awarded this scholarship each year.

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