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English Language Proficiency for Admission Policy

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1)  The University of Newcastle (University) is committed to offering its educational programs to students from a broad range of backgrounds, cultures and languages. In doing so, it recognises its responsibility to ensure all students, including those whose first language is not English, have sufficient proficiency to undertake the program of their choice. See ‘Associated Information’ tab for University English Proficiency for Admission Flowchart and University English Requirements Tables. 

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Section 2 - Policy Intent

(2) The purpose of this Policy is to set the principles by which the English Language Proficiency Standard will be applied, for all applicants for admission to the University excluding applicants entering enabling programs.

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Section 3 - Relevant Definitions 

(3) ‘Register’ means the register of Recognised Qualifications issued from institutions listed in formal qualification concordance publications including: the International Handbook of Universities, World Higher Education Database, UK Naric Database or AEI NOOSR guides. The register of Recognised Qualifications is maintained by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar. 

(4) ‘Standard’ means the English Language Proficiency Standard of the University of Newcastle expressed as IELTS qualification but recognising other relevant qualifications and concordance.

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Section 4 - Policy Principles

(5) All applicants must meet the English Language Proficiency requirements of the Standard prior to their admission, by demonstrating completion of a Recognised Qualification.

(6) An exemption, from the requirement to have completed a Recognised Qualification, will only be granted in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that the applicant meets the Standard. Any exemption must be sought in accordance with this Policy and the approved procedure/s.

(7) A variation to the Standard for admission to a specific program/s or to include an additional qualification on the register may be approved, in exceptional circumstances. Any exemptions or variations will be included on a register and reported to the Academic Senate for noting to ensure oversight of the application of the Standard.

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Section 5 - Roles and Responsibilities

(8) Academic Senate will:

  1. define the English Language Proficiency Standard and will review it annually; and
  2. note any exemptions or variations reported.

(9) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will approve any variations to the Standard for a specific program or exemptions from completion of a Recognised Qualification where the application is for non-award, undergraduate or a postgraduate (coursework) program.

(10) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) will approve any variations to the Standard for a specific program or exemptions from completion of a Recognised Qualification where the application is for a postgraduate (research) or higher degree by research program.

(11) The relevant Admissions Officer is responsible for seeking any exemption, to the relevant DVC, on behalf of the applicant.

(12) The Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar, on behalf of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, will maintain a register of Recognised Qualifications and will provide this register annually to Academic Senate, to support the review of the Standard.

(13) Admission applicants will provide information with their application for admission that demonstrates completion of a Recognised Qualification, unless an exemption or variation is approved in accordance with the Policy and Procedure.