English Proficiency

Graduate applicants seeking regular admission to the Graduate School who are non-native speakers of English must meet the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Requirement for admission.

This requirement is separate from the contact teaching requirement for Graduate Assistants—students who seek to hold a Graduate Assistantship must meet those requirements regardless of if they receive an exemption or meet this admissibility standard.

The following graduate applicants are exempt from the English Language Proficiency Requirement:

  • Applicants whose native language is English. Native language is defined as the primary language a person spoke while growing up in their family, community, and nation.
    • Receiving a degree in a country/territory that lists English as an official language of instruction such as India, Pakistan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Singapore, Ghana, or Kenya does NOT exempt the applicant from meeting the proficiency requirement.
  • Graduate applicants who earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from accredited US institutions or from foreign institutions in countries/territories where the official and native language is English
  • Graduate applicants who hold one of the following certifications with at least a “B” or better, with the approval of the Graduate Dean: West African Senior School Examination Certificate (WASSCE), the General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE), or the International Baccalaureate (IB)

Score Required for Admission

English proficiency tests must have been taken within two years immediately preceding the requested semester of admission. Individual departments may have higher requirements or may require specific tests for admission. The University of Arkansas will recognize the sum of the highest scores received from the same test, as long as it was taken within the prior two years.

English Proficiency Test Score Website
PTE-A Pearson Test of English-Academic

58

PTE Academic
TOEFL Internet-Based 79 TOEFL iBT
Institutional TOEFL1 550 TOEFL ITP
IELTS (Academic)2 6.5 IELTS
iTEP 3.9 iTEP
C1 Advanced CAE (Cambridge Assessment English) 176 C1 Advanced
  1. Note: The Institutional TOEFL test is only accepted when taken through University of Arkansas' Testing Services.

  2. Note: The IELTS General Training exam is not accepted.

Note: The Duolingo English Test (DET) is authorized as a supplemental measure for use on a very rare case-by-case basis when all other tests are unavailable and under prescribed circumstances for admission and enrollment with the approval of the Graduate Dean.

Some graduate programs will offer conditional admission to applicants who meet all requirements for admission except the required English proficiency. Conditionally admitted students will first attend Spring International Language Center (SILC) for intensive English language training prior to beginning academic studies.

Intensive English classes at SILC focus on all language skills: grammar, reading, writing, and listening/speaking, in addition to offering opportunities for special workshops, seminars and language-enhancement activities. Five nine-week terms are offered throughout the year to enable students to quickly complete their English study. The student's initial I-20 or DS-2019 will be generated by SILC. For further information, you may contact Spring International Language Center (SILC) at silc@uark.edu.

If a conditionally admitted graduate student has spent at least a single nine-week term enrolled as a full-time student in Spring International Language Center, has completed Level 6 with grades of a B or above in each course, and has the recommendation of the Director of Spring International, that student can proceed to full-time graduate enrollment upon Graduate School approval.

Note: Conditionally admitted students are not eligible for graduate assistantships while they are studying at SILC. Upon regular admission to the University of Arkansas, students may begin their graduate assistantship. For Teaching Assistantships, please see Tests and Minimum Scores for TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS for more information about additional requirements.

Graduate students will be assessed for written English proficiency and receive a required placement in English Language and Culture courses (ELAC) that must be completed within their first year of enrollment in the Graduate School. Assessment is made based on writing scores from accepted tests as indicated in the below table.

English Language Writing Score Requirements for ELAC Placement for Graduate Students1

  • Students with scores in Level I are admissible and will not be required to take additional ELAC language instruction.
  • Level II students are admissible but will be required to successfully complete a total of two ELAC courses: ELAC 5033 OR ELAC 5043 AND ELAC 0011
  • Level III students are admissible but will be required to successfully complete a total of three ELAC courses in sequence as follows:
    • Semester I: ELAC 1023 and ELAC 0011
    • Semester II: ELAC 5033 or 5043
Accepted Test Level I Level II Level III
PTE-A Pearson Test of English
(Academic Writing)
≥71 62-68 59 or less
TOEFL Internet-Based
(Writing)
≥26 23-25 22 or less
IELTS Academic
(Writing)
≥6.0- 5.5 5.0 or less
GRE General Test
(Analytical Writing)
≥4.0 3.5 3.0 or less
Graduate Management Admission Test
(Analytical Writing)
≥4.5 4.0 3.5 or less
ELPT2 ≥75 70-74 69 or less
iTEP (Writing) ≥4.0 3.1-3.9 3.0 or less
C1 Advanced CAE (Cambridge Assessment English) ≥169 155-168 154 or less
  • Note: Graduate students applying for a Teaching Assistantship are required to submit sufficient speaking and writing scores. Details are provided in Tests and Minimum Scores for TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS.
  • Note: There is a charge for the ELPT that is given during New Student Orientation. ELPT will no longer be offered after Fall 2022.

Graduate assistantships with direct student contact require competency in both spoken and written English, even if eligible for an exemption of the English Language requirement for admission. These requirements must be fulfilled before starting a graduate assistantship that requires direct student contact.

"Direct student contact" involves working with students in a teaching or tutorial role, whether in a traditional classroom setting or via distance education.

Spoken English Requirements

Competency in spoken English may be demonstrated by completing one of the two methods below:

Method 1

Submitting one of the following test scores:

Method 1

Submitting one of the following test scores:

Accepted Test Minimum Speaking Score Website
PTE-A Pearson Test of English - Academic (Speaking sub-test) 71 PTE Academic
TOEFL Internet-based (Speaking sub-test) 26 TOEFL iBT
IELTS Academic (Speaking sub-test) 7.0 IELTS
iTEP (Speaking sub-test) 4.5 iTEP
C1 Advanced CAE (Speaking sub-test) 185 C1 Advanced
Spoken Language Proficiency Test Pass SLPT

OR

Method 2

Successful completion of ELAC 5050 International Graduate Teaching Assistantship Training with an 80% average or above.

Written English Requirements

Competency in written English may be demonstrated by completing one of the two methods below:

Method 1

Submit one of the following test scores:

Accepted Test Minimum Writing Score Website
PTE-A Pearson Test of English - Academic (Writing sub-test) 71 PTE Academic
TOEFL Internet-based sub-test (Writing sub-test) 26 TOEFL iBT
IELTS Academic (Writing sub-test) 6.0 IELTS
GRE General Test (Analytical Writing sub-test) 4.0 GRE
Graduate Management Admission Test (Analytical Writing sub-test) 4.5 GMAT
ELPT (will no longer be offered after Fall 2022) 75 ELPT
iTEP (Writing sub-test) 4.0 iTEP
C1 Advanced CAE (Writing sub-test) 169 C1 Advanced

OR

Method 2

Completing both of the following conditions, which must be requested by a Graduate Coordinator or Department Chair:

  1. Enrolling in either:
    • ELAC 5033 Research Writing for the Social Sciences and Education
      OR
    • ELAC 5043 Research Writing for STEM fields
  2. Enrolling in ELAC 0011 Writing Workshop: Grammar through Editing. Placement into these courses is determined by the student's test score (see the table below).
Accepted Test Minimum Writing Score Website
PTE-A Pearson Test of English-Academic (Writing sub-test) 62 PTE Academic
TOEFL Internet-based (Writing sub-test) 23 TOEFL iBT
IELTS Academic(Writing sub-test) 5.5 IELTS
GRE General Test (Analytical Writing sub-test) 3.5 GRE
Graduate Management Admission Test (Analytical Writing sub-test) 4.0 GMAT
ELPT 70 ELPT
iTEP (Writing sub-test) 3.5 iTEP
C1 Advanced CAE (Writing sub-test) 162 C1 Advanced