ESL Proficiency Requirements

All undergraduate and graduate students at Purchase College must have sufficient proficiency in the English language. Students for whom English is a second language are required to take an English proficiency assessment test before their first semester begins at Purchase College and before advising and registration.

Exceptions to this requirement only apply to students who:

  1. have a TOEFL score of 600 (written) or 250 (computer) or 100 (Internet) or higher or
  2. have an IELTS score of 7.5 or
  3. have completed two semesters of college-level English composition with grades of B or higher.

Students in the following categories are also required to attend an ESL summer program:

  1. TOEFL score is lower than 550 (written) or 213 (computer) or 80 (Internet) or
  2. IELTS score is lower than 6.5 or
  3. TOEFL or IELTS scores are unavailable at the time of acceptance

On the basis of the proficiency test, students who need ESL instruction are required to successfully complete the appropriate level(s) of ESL courses before enrolling in LWR 1110/College Writing or other writing courses determined by the ESL and/or college writing faculty. (Graduate students are not required to complete College Writing, but may enroll in the College Writing section for international students if they want additional ESL study.)

  • ESL Level I integrates listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, with emphasis on developmental writing.
  • ESL Level II, a transitional step to College Writing, reinforces communication skills and covers paragraph and essay development, sequenced writing, related grammar, syntax, and mechanics.
  • The College Writing section for international students develops analytical skills required for producing coherent texts, applies a sequenced writing approach to drafting and revision, and includes grammar workshops.

Students who demonstrate proficiency at or above Level II may enroll in any course for which they are otherwise qualified. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully passing an exit exam at any time during their ESL studies, with permission of the ESL instructor. In the first semester after successfully passing the ESL sequence and exit exam, undergraduate students are required to successfully complete College Writing.

To register for the appropriate ESL level or College Writing section each semester, students must obtain an updated ESL tracking form and the signature of either the coordinator of ESL courses or the director of writing (for College Writing sections). For further information, please call or email the Advising Center, (914) 251-3990,

Arrow up icon | << Academic Policies home