Policy HDR English Language Requirements Procedure

HDR English Language Requirements Procedure

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This procedure describes the English Language Requirements (ELR) for applicants for candidature in the HDR degrees offered by the University.


These requirements apply to applicants from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB) seeking candidature in the research higher degrees offered by the University.


Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Glossary of Terms for Policies in the Student and Teaching & Course Management chapters of the Policy Library [1] and in the HDR Requirements [2].


1. Evidence of English Proficiency

1.1   NESB applicants for HDR degrees must demonstrate their English language proficiency by achieving a score at Band 2 level or better in a test such as IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson (PTE Academic) as detailed in the University’s English Language Requirements.

1.2   Applicants who have successfully completed at least two years of full-time study in which the language of instruction was English (in an approved country) and seek a waiver from the requirement to undertake a formal test must provide evidence of their English writing skills in a research context e.g., copy of research dissertation or publications in English.

1.3   Applicants who complete an English language course packaged with a JCU Research Higher Degree at the JCU Pathway College (or approved pathway provider) at the Band 2 level or better may gain provisional entry to a research higher degree in order to obtain a student visa for the total length of their planned studies in Australia.

1.4   HDR candidates will be required to undertake a Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA) at the commencement of their candidature if they fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • Received an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score below 7.0 overall or for any sub-skill (writing, reading, speaking or listening);
  • Received a waiver of the JCU English Language Requirements (ELR);
  • Gained ELR on the basis of two years’ tertiary study in an approved country;
  • Transferred from a current Masters by Research to a PhD and would have been required to do the PELA on entry to the Masters;
  • Had undertaken (or is undertaking) the Direct Entry English Program (DEEP);
  • Received a writing score of below 23 for the Internet-based TOEFL (or 5.5 for paper-based TOEFL); or
  • Received a score below 72 for a Pearson test

Related policy instruments



NOTE: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Domain

Research Education

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval Authority

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Date for next Major Review

2 years from date of approval

Revision History

VersionApproval dateImplementation dateDetailsAuthor
Contact personDean, Graduate Research