English Language Requirements for Graduate Students

First Year English Course Requirement

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All new international graduate students are required to take an English language course (LIN 25 or LIN 26) during their first academic year, unless:

  • English is the student's first or primary language; or
  • The student has a college degree from an approved English-medium institution – students must confirm this with the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies; or
  • The student has a TOEFL (iBT) score of 105 or higher or IELTS score of 7.5 or higher; or
  • The student scored 24 or higher on the TOEFL (iBT) writing and 23 or higher on the TOEFL (iBT) speaking. (Students with IELTS scores should contact Dawn Takaoglu at dmtakaoglu@ucdavis.edu).
First Year English Course Requirement Options

The first year English course requirement can be met by taking either LIN 25 or LIN 26. You can ask your graduate advisor for a recommendation on which course would be most helpful to you. 

  • LIN 25 is strongly recommended for students with TOEFL iBT scores below 95 or speaking subset scores below 22. It is a multi-skills course that helps graduate students improve their skills and knowledge in writing, speaking, listening, reading, and academic culture. 
  • LIN 26 primarily focus on the skills needed for effective academic writing and prepares students for writing conference proposals, abstracts, journal articles, dissertations, etc. LIN 26 is recommended to students who will be expected to produce written work for an academic audience. (Offered in winter and spring.)    

Click here to check whether you are exempt from the First Year English Course requirement.

TA English Language Requirement

There is an additional requirement for students who plan to work as teaching assistants (TAs). TAs need to have exceptional oral English skills so that they can effectively communicate with students, so this requirement is based on oral proficiency.

See Qualify as a TA  for information on the TA oral proficiency requirement.

English Language Requirements Chart

This chart summarizes the requirements for first year graduate students and TAs.

Requirements Flowchart for Grad Students ESL

Graduate-Level English Language Course Descriptions

LIN 25: English for International/ESL Graduate Students (4 units)

Lecture/discussion—4 hours. A multi-skills ESL course designed to help international/ESL students improve their English language skills for successful academic study. Emphasis on writing, speaking, listening, reading, and academic culture.  LIN 25 will be offered in Winter and Spring 2017

LIN 26: Writing for International Graduate Students (3 units)

Lecture—3 hours. Focuses on writing needed for academic work, including summaries, critiques, research and grant proposals, memos, resumes, and research papers. Includes a review of grammar needed for writing and some focus on reading skills and American vocabulary and idioms.
LIN 26 will be offered in Winter and Spring 2017

LIN 391: Oral English for ESL Students (3 units)

Lecture—2 hours; laboratory—2 hours. Course gives non-native English-speaking students, particularly international student teaching assistants, intensive work in oral English to increase fluency, accuracy, and use of appropriate discourse strategies in academic settings (e.g., seminar, discussion, laboratory).
LIN 391 will be offered in Winter and Spring 2017