Language assessment 

All non-native English-speaking students must meet one of the conditions listed below to be eligible for an enrollment waiver. Students who do not meet the requirements for an ESL waiver are required to take a placement test administered by the SCAD Language Studio, regardless of other test scores.

Accuplacer ESL tests assess student skills to determine the necessity of ESL classes. The test, which lasts around two hours, consists of 20 reading skills questions, 20 usage and sentence structure questions, and a timed, written essay or listening diagnostic. Supporting documentation is provided two weeks before enrollment.

ESL waiver

ESL courses may be waived upon successful performance on the ESL proficiency test. The ESL proficiency test and ESL courses may be waived if one of the following conditions is met and supporting documentation is provided:

  • The student's first language is English.
  • The undergraduate student has received a final credential diploma or degree from another college or university where English is the official language of instruction. Documentation of the official language of instruction is required.
  • The graduate student has earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university where English is the official language of instruction. Documentation of the official language of instruction is required.
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) score of at least 5 on English Language.
  • The undergraduate student has passed the equivalent of English 123/193 at an accredited/recognized college or university with a "C" (2.0/4.0 scale) or better; or qualifies for the equivalent transfer credit for English 123/193 through accepted IB, AP, CAPE, A-Level or CLEP test scores.¬† Please refer to policies on transfer credits for required scores on the appropriate test.
  • The student is a Fulbright/Humphrey exchange scholar or is a participant in the Taiwan Ministry of Education Scholarship Program for overseas study in art and design.
  • The undergraduate student has completed first grade through high school graduation (1 to 12/13 years) at a recognized international school or other academic institution in which English is the language of instruction. Documentation of all 12/13 academic years is required.
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of at least 550 on the reading portion, or 22 on both the reading and writing sections of the ACT.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal section score of at least 500 (for tests taken before Aug. 1, 2011) or 153 (for tests taken after Aug. 1, 2011).
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum scores (SCAD code 5631):
  1. 550 on the paper-based test
  2. 85 on the Internet-based test with minimum score of 20 on each section
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) composite score of at least 6.5 with a score of at least 6.5 in both reading and writing.
  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) score of at least "advanced high" on the writing proficiency portion of the test.
  • The student has passed the Pearson's PTE Academic with an overall score of 58 with a 53 minimum in each category.

Students who meet the minimum required composite score on the TOEFL or IELTS but do not meet the minimum section scores are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for possible exemption. No exception is made if the minimum composite score is not met.  All decisions are final.

Documentation for ESL waiver consideration must be received by the admission office no later than two weeks prior to the beginning of the term in which the student wishes to enroll.

Any student who is provided a waiver (exemption) of ESL and fails any single course due to language deficiencies (as determined by the director of SCAD Language Studio and the academic department chair) may be required to submit to an English language placement test. Results of the English language placement test may be used to determine what level(s) of ESL instruction, if any, is required.