New international students at UMSL are required to take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) proficiency exam during orientation. This exam must be completed before students can finalize their course registration at the University.

Depending on the results of the exam, students may be required to enroll in specific EAP subjects during their first semester at UMSL. EAP classes are taken at the same time as regular courses and receive both grades and credit hours at the University. Advanced EAP subjects are counted as electives in most degree programs.

The EAP Proficiency Exam measures a student’s English skills as used in academic study. The test lasts approximately two hours and has three sections:

Listening & Note-taking

  • This portion simulates a university lecture and includes follow-up questions to determine comprehension and test-taking skills.

Writing & Grammar

  • Students write an essay in this section to demonstrate fluency, grammatical accuracy, and the ability to organize ideas.


  • This section consists of an oral interview to test students’ speaking and communicative abilities.

Generally speaking, all new international students must complete the proficiency exam. An exam waiver, however, may be considered for students who:

  • Are citizens of a recognized English-speaking country

  • Had at least a 94 TOEFL iBT or a 7.0 IELTS

  • Have completed 30 or more academic credit hours at a US community college or university (note that ESL classes do not count toward this 30-hour minimum)

  • Hold an H1-B, L-1, or R-1 visa

  • Are non-degree-seeking students maintaining status at another institution

  • Are J-1 visiting/exchange students studying at UMSL for a single semester

    • Visiting students undertaking a year-long program at UMSL must sit for the proficiency exam, though EAP classes are not required of them. These students are encouraged to enroll in any recommended EAP courses nonetheless.

Note that some departments reserve the right to require the EAP exam, even for students who may otherwise qualify for a waiver. Per Missouri law, any graduate student with a teaching assistantship must also sit for the exam.

According to US 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 English for Academic Purposes (EAP) 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.