Academic Policies and Procedures
English as a Second Language (ESL)
The Program in English as a Second Language (ESL), Department of English, offers an array of support courses, training and testing for international TA applicants, and courses designed for international graduate students in speaking and presentations, writing, and pronunciation.
The ESL Program also administers the English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT) to incoming students. The ESLAT and enrollment in an ESL course, if recommended, is required for many new graduate students as a condition of admission, based on TOEFL scores. If a student is required to take the ESLAT based on TOEFL scores, this information will be listed in MyUW Grad Admission Status, the Graduate School’s online applicant information system. A student’s program cannot waive the ESLAT and ESL course requirements.
In most cases international students who are required to take an ESL course must do so during their first semester of graduate enrollment. However, before beginning a graduate program, international students may choose to study English full-time as a University Special student on an F-1 visa granted through the ESL program or on a J-1 visa with the sponsor’s approval. When the student begins a graduate program, the student’s status will be changed from University Special student to graduate student. ESL course credits taken as part of a graduate student’s semester enrollment are considered part of the total credit load for maintaining legal status as an international student. However, ESL course credits below 300 level do not count toward Graduate School enrollment requirements, including credit requirements for assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships.
For test schedules, offerings and additional information, contact the ESL Office.