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English Placement Policy for International Students


The purpose of this policy is to promote academic success among nonnative English-speaking students on campus. Success in courses at Purchase College depends, in part, on the ability to understand, read, write, and speak English. For this reason, undergraduate and graduate international students whose first language is not English will be assessed to determine if they can benefit from additional language training as they embark on their studies at Purchase. Testing and placement is also available to visiting exchange students.


Students’ scores in listening, reading, writing and speaking will be individually evaluated to determine whether they have balanced skills or could benefit from additional English language support in order to meet the academic demands at Purchase. Students who are determined by the College to need additional support, will be required to take the English Success Assessment. For more information about conditions that exempt students, contact the Office of Admissions. Undergraduate and graduate students are required to take the English as an Additional Language (EAL) class they place into. Exchange students will be recommended an EAL placement and are encouraged to enroll in the class.


The Office of Admissions is responsible for identifying all incoming international students. The Office of Admissions will evaluate students’ individual scores during the Admission process. If the student is required to test, the Office of Admission will email the student to inform them of the requirement after they have paid their deposit. The Office for Global Education will email testing instructions to students. The English language instructors will evaluate the test results to determine placement and notify the Office of the Registrar in order for undergraduate students to be registered. The Office of the Registrar will update the Degree Progress Report of the undergraduate students to reflect a required EAL class. The English instructors will send placement results of graduate students to the school Directors. The School of Humanities is responsible for hiring the appropriate English language instructors.

Policy Implementation/Guidelines

The English Success Assessment tests students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities. Based on the results of the placement exam, combined with a review of other relevant test scores and documentation (e.g., TOEFL or IELTS scores and academic transcripts), students will be waived from an English language requirement or placed in one of the EAL courses.

Students who demonstrate proficiency at or above EAL 1520 may enroll in any course for which they are otherwise qualified; however, enrollment in the WRI 1110/College Writing section for international students may be recommended for undergraduate students. Unlike EAL courses, College Writing meets the General Education requirement for Basic Communication.

If a student’s performance on the College’s English Success Assessment is inconsistent with previous test scores or with other proof of English language proficiency initially reviewed for admissions purposes, the College reserves the right to defer the student’s enrollment.


Exceptions to this policy may occur in special circumstances involving institutional agreements with international partner universities, new pathway programs, and/or other international agreements that would warrant exceptions. All such exceptions must be codified in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the participating parties and have appropriate approvals in accordance with the agreement. Any MOU must be executed through the Office for Global Education, which may require consultation with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Admissions regarding exceptions set forth in the MOU.

Contact Offices

  • Office of Admissions: (914) 251-6300
  • Office for Global Education: (914) 251-6032
  • School of Humanities: (914) 251-6550