English Competency Requirements

A. Assessment of English Competency

All Ph.D. students are required to successfully complete a candidacy examination before the middle of the second semester of coursework. A description of that process is on pages 1-4. The candidacy examination includes evaluation of both spoken and written English. Students who fail the candidacy examination are terminated from the program. There are no retakes of the candidacy examination. However, students do have the opportunity to receive feedback on the draft of their written candidacy paper and to solicit assistance from faculty on their oral presentation prior to the presentation.

It is the intent of the faculty that students with significant deficiencies in English competency (written, spoken or both) will not pass the candidacy exam and therefore will not be permitted to continue in the Ph.D. program.

In the rare instance where a student's performance is otherwise excellent and promising but deficient in English, it will be the responsibility of the candidate's committee to adopt a specific plan of remediation. It is the view of the faculty that most such students will be nonnative English speakers. It is also the view of the faculty that substantial remediation of English competency is inappropriate at the doctoral level of native English speakers.

B. Improving English Competency of Students with Deficiencies

In the event that the faculty as a whole determines that a student has passed the candidacy examination, but has failed to demonstrate either or both spoken and written English Competency, the faculty will direct the student's Ph.D. committee to develop a plan for improvement which may take either of the following forms.

  1. Students with moderate deficiencies--The Committee will require the student to register for a 1-credit department course in which the student will be provided with monthly opportunities for guided practice in technical writing and/or speaking. This course will be provided under the tutelage of a member of the student's committee.

  2. Student's with severe deficiencies--As stated previously, it is inconceivable that a student with a severe deficiency in either spoken or written English would pass the candidacy examination and be permitted to continue in the program except in a single circumstance--a nonnative speaker. If this occurs, the student would be required to complete SPCOM 114G if the deficiency is in spoken language and SPCOM 116G if the deficiency is in written language. Such a student must pass the assigned course(s) with a grade of B or better.

C. Attainment of English Competency

Attainment of English Competency will be determined by successful completion of Competency Papers 1 and 2 as specified on pages 4, 5, and 6 of this document.

If the student has been identified as one who requires remediation in spoken English, the student's committee may require an oral presentation of either or both Competency papers to the committee or to the faculty as a whole.