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Who can take Academic ESL classes?
- Any non-native English speaker who has been admitted to an undergraduate or graduate degree program at the University may take ESL courses.
- Special or non-degree students may also enroll in courses when space is available.
Are ESL courses graded? How do they count toward completion of undergraduate degrees?
ESL 114 through ESL 117 are for-credit courses and appear on students’ transcripts as college-level credit. They are taken for Credit/No Credit.
The courses may count differently for students depending on the degrees students are earning. In most cases, this credit can be used to meet general degree credit; that is, they count toward the minimum 120 credits required to graduate.
However, they will probably not count toward requirements for students’ majors. For example, in L&S, these credits can be used as part of the up to twelve “free electives” allowed in the BA or BS degree.
ESL 118 is our only graded (A-F) course. It satisfies QR-A (and is therefore contributing to completion of Gen Ed) and certifies English Language Proficiency.
I’m admitted to a University undergraduate degree program, do I have to take a placement test?
All incoming undergraduate students are required to take an English Placement Test.
International students who are required to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test (DET) will take the ESLAT unless English was the primary language of instruction in all four years of secondary school or a college level English composition course was successfully completed at an accredited US institution.
Other students will take the UW System English Placement test (UWEPT).
For more information go to: https://admissions.wisc.edu/admitted-international-checklist/
If I’m admitted to a graduate degree University program, and have submitted my English Proficiency test, do I need to take an ESL course?
Any admitted student whose score is lower than the scores listed below will be required, by the Graduate School, to take the English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT) upon arrival at UW–Madison.
TOEFL: 92 for internet based test (IBT) and 580 for paper test
Depending on your test result you may be required to register for an English as a Second Language (ESL) course in your first semester. Academic Programs may ask any admitted graduate applicant to take the English Placement test and ESL course after he/she arrives if English proficiency is in doubt. See more information on English proficiency test requirements.
Which ESL course should I enroll in?
Undergraduate Students who are required to take the ESLAT test will be assigned to the most appropriate ESL 114 – 118 course(s) based on the test results. ESL 118 fulfils the Comm A communication requirement for undergraduate students. Students with strong writing skills may be exempted from ESL courses.
Graduate students who are required to take the ESLAT test should enroll in the recommended ESL course in their first semester based on the recommendation given. Successful completion of the recommended course will fulfill the ESL requirement for most students.
Graduate students who wish to work further on their language skills may also enroll in 300 level ESL courses without taking the MSN-ESLAT.