International Student

Principia College has two programs for international students:

  • A four-year degree program leading to a BA or BS degree
  • A one-year enrichment program for non-degree-seeking students

International Student Admissions Counselor

Ifi Xifre Villar

Principia is a liberal arts college, not a specialized or technical school. The curriculum emphasizes writing, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, and critical thinking. These skills are applicable to all professions and prepare students to contribute to society in a variety of ways.

Course instruction often involves discussion, and students participate actively in exchanges with classmates and professors. Christian Science-based character education is an integral part of all academic and co-curricular programs.

Four-Year Degree Program

Principia offers bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree programs. Choose from more than 25 majors and minors (areas of study), or consider designing your own.

Course selection is based on general degree requirements and your area of interest. More information can be found in the College Catalog.

Note: Principia does not offer master's or other graduate degrees, nor does our curriculum include remedial academic courses.

One-Year Enrichment Program

This program allows students to experience Principia's learning environment without pursuing a degree. Its value rests largely on the academic and spiritual growth experienced and the friendships and connections made. Students completing the enrichment program report that they gained a stronger foundation in Christian Science by being able to live and practice it within a community of other Christian Scientists. Others completing the program have also shared how employers in their home countries value their experiences studying and living in the United States.

The enrichment program could be right for you if:

  • you want to experience living and learning in a Christian Science environment.
  • you want to have an experience at an institution of higher learning in the United States.
  • you are comfortable speaking, reading, and writing in English and wish to enhance those skills through an immersion program.
  • you would like to make friends from the United States and with other international students.
  • you plan to return home after two semesters of enrichment.

Admissions Requirements

Christian Science Expectations

Principia's purpose is to serve the Cause of Christian Science. Although Christian Science is not taught in classes, it forms the basis of community life. Some students at the College have been Christian Scientists all their lives, while others are relatively new to the religion, but we all—faculty, staff, and students alike—encourage one other to turn to God for help in all situations.

Prior to applying to Principia, students are expected to have relied on Christian Science for all their needs, including physical healing, and they should have attended a Christian Science church and/or Sunday School for at least one year. Applicants must also be willing to uphold Principia's community standards, which include abstaining from the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and sexual activity outside of marriage.

Academic Preparation

Students must have completed secondary school and have earned a diploma or certificate of completion which makes them eligible for admission to a university in their home country. 

To insure that all incoming students are prepared for college-level academic work, we look for the following minimum requirements:

  • A C+ average in high school
  • A 1380 cumulative score on the SAT*
  • A score of 79 on the TOEFL**

International students must be 18 years or older prior to enrolling at Principia and are expected to be sufficiently mature to study abroad. They must be willing to adjust to a new environment and new people and to share the traditions, ideals, and perspectives of their native country.

*Students with a bachelor's degree from an accredited university are not required to submit SAT test scores.

**Applicants from the UK, non-French-speaking Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are exempt.

English Language Requirement

All applicants must be able to read English with ease and to understand conversational and formal English as spoken in lectures and group discussions. The quantity and quality of academic work expected at Principia cannot be accomplished without sufficient mastery of the English language. We are not able to offer ESL or intensive English for those not yet ready for the classroom.


We require the SAT Reasoning Test. These tests are given throughout the year, but you must take the test in October, November, December, or January. Unless you are exempted from the test by Principia's international student admissions counselor, or have taken the SAT within the past two years, you must take it on one of these four dates. When registering, please use Principia's testing code, 1630. Typically, test fees are under $100. Registration procedures and deadlines vary by country. Please check with your counselor.


Many applicants do not need to take the TOEFL test, so check with the international admissions counselor, Ifi Xifre Villar, before registering. For more information about the TOEFL test and to register, please visit Once you have registered for the test(s), you can complete the other admission requirements in any order, as long as Principia receives everything by the application deadline.

Apply for Admission

Before beginning your application, please complete the Getting Started Form. From the time you make your first inquiry to the Admissions Office to the time you are granted a visa requires the better part of a year. 

Application Deadlines

Fall (Aug. 2016) admission: Jan. 30, 2016
Spring (Jan. 2017) admission: Oct. 15, 2016

Application Process

In order to be eligible to apply, you must have been an active Christian Scientist for at least one year before we can review your application.

We must receive the following information before you are considered for admission:

  • SAT score*
  • TOEFL exam score**
  • Completed admission application—choose to apply with either the Common Application or our own CollegeNet application.
  • Official copy of your high school transcript(s)/national exam results. Note: Applicants from African countries should contact the international student admissions counselor about how to submit senior secondary school national exam results.
  • Guidance counselor reference, if you are currently attending high school in the United States
  • Official university transcripts, if applicable
  • One academic reference from a teacher in a core academic subject. Submit a work reference in place of the academic reference if you have been out of school for more than one year.
  • Two Christian Science references from Christian Scientists who know you well enough to tell us about your understanding and practice. One reference should be from your Sunday School teacher, if applicable.

*Students with a bachelor's degree from an accredited university are not required to submit SAT scores.

**Applicants from the UK, non-French-speaking Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are exempt.


Financial Aid

Financial aid awards are based on demonstrated financial need, which is determined from information about the student and his/her family's income, assets, and expenses.

Financial aid is available to both one-year enrichment and four-year degree candidates. The international admissions counselor will e-mail a financial aid application to you when Principia receives your admissions application. 

Additional Expenses

There are some additional expenses you must be prepared to assume—expenses you incur when you choose to attend a college in another country:

  • Passport application fee for your country
  • Visa interview fee of $160
  • SEVIS fee of $200 (degree students) or $180 (enrichment students)
  • Roundtrip airfare to St. Louis, Missouri

Certification of Finances

The certification of finances form is your opportunity to indicate the amount of money you and your family can contribute toward the cost of your education here. Although it has Principia's name at the top, it is actually a standard government form and will become an important part of your visa documentation. If you reference money in a bank account, you need to take the form to the bank and have an official either stamp it or write a two-sentence letter on bank letterhead saying that you (or your family) maintain an account at the bank and that the indicated funds are available.