Student writing an exam paper

Helping you receive the necessary academic English support throughout your PhD

PhD English assessments

If you have not yet taken EA1 or you are approaching EA2, please register on this webpage for assessment dates.

Postgraduate research students who are not native speakers of English must fulfil the Imperial College London Postgraduate English Requirement. This requirement is separate from and in addition to the College English language entry requirement of a recognised English proficiency test score such as IELTS.

The Imperial College London Postgraduate English Requirement is administered by the Centre for Academic English and states that:

All Imperial College London postgraduate research (PGR) students who are not native speakers of English must take the first available English Assessment 1 (EA1) after registering onto their PhD programmeDepending on the result of that assessment, the student may also be required to take English Assessment 2, which is a progress check, around the time of the ESA. 

The aim of the Postgraduate English Requirement is to identify PGR students who might need or want to improve their academic English competence in writing, and to ensure that they are offered appropriate support throughout their PhD. Further details about the requirement and academic writing courses can be found on our PhD Flow Chart [pdf].

For further information about College entry requirements, please contact AdmissionsStudents with a minimum English language proficiency of IELTS 8.0 overall (or equivalent test scores: TOEFL score of 110 overall or higher, Pearson PTE score of 76 overall or higher), or those who have studied a full undergraduate degree in a majority English speaking country will receive an email from the CfAE confirming formal exemption from the Imperial College London Postgraduate English Requirement within two weeks of enrolling onto their PhD programme. If exemption is granted on this basis, the student does not need to take an English assessment, but is still eligible to take advantage of our higher level courses, workshops and 1:1 consultations at any point during the PhD. Students whose primary nationality is that of a majority English speaking country are automatically exempt.

Required English assessments

Student writing an assessment

Stage 1 - English Assessment 1 (EA1)

EA1 is to be taken as soon as possible after students have fully registered onto their PhD programme. 

EA1 is an assessment of academic writing focusing on text organisation, sentence structure, grammar and academic vocabulary.  It consists of writing a definition/explanation of a scientific term and a technical text, in addition to language tasks. The assessment duration is two hours. The writing courses offered to a student will depend on the results of the assessment. All results are reported to the student, Postgraduate Administrator and Director of Postgraduate Studies: 

  • LEVEL 1: This indicates that there are significant problems with academic writing that need to be addressed within the first 9 months of the PhDWe strongly recommend that the student attends the 8-week Preparation for Academic Writing course and two 8-week academic writing modules (Academic Writing 1, followed by Academic Writing 2) during the first 9 months of the PhD. The student’s progress will be assessed in English Assessment 2 (EA2) around the time of the Early Stage Assessment (ESA). 
     
  • LEVEL 2:This indicates that there is a need to develop competence in academic writing within the first 9 months of the PhD. We strongly recommend that the student attends the 8-week Academic Writing 1 course followed by Academic Writing 2 during the first 9 months of the PhD. The student’s progress will be assessed in English Assessment 2 (EA2) around the time of the Early Stage Assessment (ESA).  
     
  • LEVEL 3:This indicates that the student would benefit from further language and writing development during the first 9 months of the PhD. We recommend that the student attends the 8-week Academic Writing 1&2, Condensed course during the first 9 months of the PhD.The student will not be assessed again. 
     
  • LEVEL 4:This indicates that the student has a high level of competence in academic writing. We offer advanced-level academic writing courses such as Advanced Academic Writing or Writing a Research Paper. The student will not be assessed again. 

Students can also register for PhD technical speaking courses. In addition, listening and speaking courses, Writing Mechanics workshops and 1:1 consultations for all Imperial students and academic staff are available. 

Student working on a PC

Stage 2 - English Assessment 2 (EA2)

EA2 is only to be taken by students who scored Level 1 or 2 on EA1 and have completed both Academic Writing 1 and Academic Writing 2. It is taken around the time of the Early Stage Assessment (ESA), which is usually nine months into the PhD. Please note that the latest a student can take EA2 is 3 months after their ESA. 

EA2 is an assessment of academic writing focusing on text organisation, sentence structure, grammar and academic vocabulary.  It consists of writing a definition/explanation of a scientific term and a technical text, in addition to language tasks. The assessment duration is approximately 3 hours. The writing courses offered to a student will depend on what courses the student has already attended and the results of the assessment. All results are reported to the student, supervisor, Postgraduate Administrator and Director of Postgraduate Studies: 

  • LEVEL 1: This indicates that there are still significant problems with academic writing. At this stage of the PhD, the student is not yet able to communicate appropriately. The student will be invited to a feedback session with a CfAE tutor to review the assessment. At this feedback session, we will discuss a plan for development and progress, as well as specific recommendations related to the student’s language/writing needs. We strongly recommend that the student begins by attending the Post-EA2 Improving Academic Writing course.

  • LEVEL 2:This indicates that there is still a need to develop competence in academic writing. At this stage of the PhD, the student is not yet able to communicate complex information accurately and unambiguously. The student will be invited to a feedback session with a CfAE tutor to review the assessment. At this feedback session, we will discuss a plan to ensure continued development and progress, as well as specific recommendations related to the student’s language/writing needs. We generally recommend that the student begins by attending the Post-EA2 Improving Academic Writing course.

  • LEVEL 3: This indicates that the student would benefit from further language and writing development. The student is able to communicate reasonably well but is not always able to control and organise complex information. We suggest that the student begins by attending the Advanced Academic Writing course.

  • LEVEL 4:This indicates that the student has a high level of competence in academic writing. The student is able to communicate, control and organise complex information. We suggest that the student considers the Advanced Academic Writing course or the Writing a Research Paper course.

Students can also register for PhD technical speaking courses. In addition, listening and speaking courses, Writing Mechanics workshops and 1:1 consultations for all Imperial students and academic staff are available. 

PhD English assessment dates

Register for EA1

To book a place, please select the next EA1 date below and complete the online registration form.

DateTime
 Tuesday 5 June 2018  14.00-16.30
 Thursday 4 October 2018  09.30-12.00
 Friday 5 October 2018  14.00-16.30
 Wednesday 9 January 2019  14.00-16.30
 Friday 11 January 2019  09.30-12.00
 Thursday 14 March 2019  14.00-16.30
 Wednesday 5 June 2019  14.00-16.30
.

We advise all students who are not exempt from the requirement to take EA1 as soon as possible after fully registering onto their PhD programme.

Register for EA2

To book a place, please select a suitable EA2 date below and complete the online registration form.

DateTime
 Tuesday 26 June 2018  13.00-16.30
 Tuesday 3 July 2018  09.30-13.00
 Friday 14 September 2018  09.30-13.00
 Thursday 6 December 2018  13.00-16.30
 Wednesday 13 March 2019  13.00-16.30
 Wednesday 26 June 2019  13.00-16.30
 Thursday 4 July 2019  09.30-13.00
.

EA2 is only to be taken by students who scored Level 1 or 2 on EA1 and have completed both Academic Writing 1 and Academic Writing 2. It is taken around the time of the Early Stage Assessment (ESA), which is usually nine months into the PhD. Please note that the latest a student can take EA2 is 3 months after their ESA.