Imperial College London is dedicated to the wellbeing of its doctoral students, which includes supporting the development of their ability to communicate their research effectively and to manage the writing-up process independently. The purpose of the Imperial College London Doctoral Academic Communication Requirement is to quickly identify, and subsequently support, students whose academic writing competence needs to be further developed so that they can successfully complete their degree on time.

The Requirement

The Requirement

After fulfilling the English language entry requirement for admission, all doctoral students must also fulfil the Imperial College London Doctoral Academic Communication Requirement (DACR). This is done through taking DACR Assessment 1. Depending on the result of this initial assessment, students may also need to have a progress check (DACR Assessment 2), as part of the Early Stage Assessment (ESA) carried out by their department.

How to fulfil the Requirement

Students must take the first available DACR Assessment 1 after fully registering onto their doctoral programme, within 3 months of the registration date. This is because the aim of the Requirement is to identify as soon as possible those who need to improve their writing competence, and to ensure they can access support in the first 9 months of their doctoral programme.


All non-exempt students will receive an email reminding them to sign up for the first available DACR assessment 1. All students meeting the exemption criteria will receive formal email confirmation of their status. Students are exempt if they:

  • have a valid* 3-year (minimum) undergraduate degree studied in full within a majority English speaking country 
  • or they have a valid* IELTS 8.0/TOEFL 110 overall (minimum) at the time of fully registering on the doctoral programme
  • or they are a national of a majority English speaking country

*Please note that the above are only valid if awarded within the two years prior to the doctoral programme registration date. Other English proficiency tests as equivalents are considered on a case by case basis. 

Please note that the award of a Master's degree is not an exemption criterion. 

Please note that if you are doing a '4-year PhD', i.e. studying as part of a 1+3 arrangement (1-year MRes/MSc plus 3-year PhD), your Master’s degree is considered as the English language entry requirement for the PhD. However, like all 1st-year doctoral students, you will still need to fulfil the Imperial College London Doctoral Academic Communication Requirement at the start of the PhD stage. This means that you will only be exempt from this requirement if the English language entry requirement for your Master’s is still valid at the time of fully registering onto the doctoral programme.