First Year English Course Requirement

All new graduate students must take an English language course (UWP 225* or UWP 226) during their first academic year, unless:

  • The student has a college degree from an approved English-medium institution, as confirmed 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. 

These courses help non-native English speaking graduate students to have the language skills they need for their graduate studies. It's recommended that incoming graduate students who don't meet the above criteria sign up to take either UWP 225* or UWP 226 as early as possible. Students should speak with their graduate advisors if they have any questions about which course is best for them. Students who do not meet this requirement may not sit for their Qualifying Examination until the requirement has been met.

First Year Requirement Chart


Graduate-Level English Language Course Descriptions

  • UWP 225: 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. UWP 225 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. 
  • UWP 226: 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. UWP 226 primarily focuses on the skills needed for effective academic writing and prepares students for writing conference proposals, abstracts, journal articles, dissertations, etc. UWP 226 is recommended to students who will be expected to produce written work for an academic audience. (Offered in winter and spring.)
  • UWP 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). This course may not be used to satisfy the First Year English Course Requirement.

If you have any questions about the above courses, please contact either Catherine Hatzakos ( or Kelly Crosby ( in the University Writing Program (UWP).

Please click here to read the official policy.

*Please note that UWP 225 is listed as UWP 25 in Fall 2018.