Postgraduate English Requirement
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 programme. Depending 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 Admissions. Students 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
Stage 1 - English Assessment 1 (EA1)
This is a written paper focusing on text organisation, sentence structure, grammar and academic vocabulary. The assessment duration is two hours. The English courses offered to a student following the assessment will depend on what score is achieved:
- Below 30% - we strongly recommend that the student attends the 'Preparation for Academic Writing' preparatory course, before taking a minimum of two 8-week academic writing modules. Their progress will be assessed in EA2 around the time of their ESA. 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics workshops are also available.
- 30 to 44% - we recommend that the student attends a minimum of two 8-week academic writing modules and their progress will be assessed in EA2 around the time of their ESA. 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics workshops are also available.
- 45 to 60% - the student will not be assessed again, but will be encouraged to attend our 8-week condensed academic writing course as these students would still benefit from continued language study. 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics workshops are also available.
- Above 60% - the student will not be assessed again, but will be offered advanced-level academic writing courses (which can be taken at any time during their PhD studies). 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics workshops are also available.
Stage 2 - English Assessment 2 (EA2)
This is to be taken approximately at the time of the Early Stage Assessment (ESA), which is usually nine months into the PhD, only by those who scored below 45% on EA1.
EA2 is a written paper focusing on text organisation, sentence structure, grammar and academic vocabulary. It consists of general language tasks, an explanation of a scientific term, and an essay. The total time allowed is approximately three hours. The courses offered following the assessment will depend on what courses the student has already attended and the level achieved in the assessment:
- Level 1 - we will contact the student, supervisor and department directly to discuss the available options for further English language support. The student will be invited to a feedback session with a CfAE tutor and should then register for the Post-EA2 Improving Academic Writing course. 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics workshops are also available
- Level 2 - this indicates that the student would benefit from the Advanced Academic Writing course. 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics Workshops are also available.
- Level 3 - the student may consider the Advanced Academic Writing and/or Writing a Research Paper course. 1:1 consultations and Writing Mechanics workshops are also 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.