According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, international students who are non-native speakers of English must be sufficiently proficient in English in order to pursue their intended academic studies.

New international undergraduate and graduate students at UMSL are required to take an English Language Proficiency exam during campus orientation. This exam must be completed before students can finalize course registration. Based on the results of the exam, students may be recommended or required to take one or more EAP (English for Academic Purposes) courses at UMSL:

  • Required EAP courses are pre-requisites for academic studies and must be completed. 
  • Recommended EAP courses are not pre-requisites for academic study, but completion of recommended courses will improve students' abilities to succeed in degree programs.

Students may be enrolled concurrently in EAP and academic courses. All EAP courses are taken for academic credit, but intermediate-level courses may not be applied to graduation requirements. However, up to 9 hours of Advanced EAP courses may be taken for elective credit toward graduation in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts and Communication, and Business Administration. Additional information can be found on the EAP website.

Exam Waivers


Generally speaking, all new international students at UMSL must complete the proficiency exam. An exam waiver, however, may be granted to students who:

  • Had at least a 94 TOEFL iBT or a 7.0 IELTS
  • Have completed 30 or more academic credit hours at a U.S. community college or university (note that ESL classes do not count toward this 30-hour minimum)
  • Are graduate students in the Physics, Chemistry, or Biology departments
  • Are J-1 visiting/exchange students studying at UMSL for a single semester
  • Are citizens of a recognized English-speaking country
  • Hold an H1-B, L-1, or R-1 visa
  • Are non-degree-seeking students maintaining status at another instititution

J-1 students undertaking a year-long program at UMSL must sit for the proficiency exam, though EAP classes are not required of them. All J-1 visiting/exchange students are nonetheless encouraged to enroll in EAP courses in order to ensure success at UMSL.