English is the language of instruction at Duquesne University and the demands for verbal and written communication in all the health professions are substantial. The following language proficiency policies can help ensure success for students whose first language is other than English. All students in RSHS programs, which culminate with a professional degree (BSAT, MHMS, MS, MPA or DPT) must successfully complete two phases of testing and clearances to ensure English language proficiency.
Pre-Professional Phase Language Proficiency Admission Requirements
• All RSHS undergraduate applicants are required to meet all published admission
criteria for the Health Sciences program they have chosen.
• All RSHS undergraduate applicants must submit a TOEFL score with a minimum of 75 and are responsible for all costs related to assessments.
• All RSHS programs require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores of 1100 or 24 respectively. Individual departments reserve the right to accept an international student who submits scores lower than this threshold, but such decisions are made at the departmental level with approval of the RSHS Dean.
Language Proficiency Requirements for Students Accepted into the Pre-Professional Phase
• All accepted RSHS undergraduate students whose first language is other than
English are required to take English Placement Tests with the DU English as Second Language Program.
• Students who submit official scores, current to within one year, of 90 or higher on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language TOEFL (IiBT) or 575 on the Paper-based Test (PBT,) are excused from English Placement Tests except for tests of written and spoken English.
• All students must complete language proficiency testing with the DU ESL Department when they arrive on campus. Students articulating from Westminster, La Roche or Saint Vincent or who are transferring from another college or university should make an appointment with the DU ESL Department once they are provisionally accepted into a RSHS program.
• All students are required to complete a battery of language proficiency tests, which include but are not limited to the following tests. At the discretion of the ESL Department evaluators, some tests may be waived based on the TOEFL scores submitted by the student.
• Duquesne University ESL Program Writing Test (30 minutes): All new international students with native languages other than English
take this test.
• Accuplacer (Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading, Listening- 45 min).
• Proficiency Test (Listening, Grammar, Vocabulary & Reading - 35 minutes).
• SPEAK Test (Test of Spoken English) (45 mins.): All new students in Health Sciences must take this test. Students who achieve less than a score of 50 will be enrolled in an ESL program to support their English communication skill development.
• After analyzing the testing results, the ESL Department will either provide the student a clearance form to take to their academic advisor or enroll the student in a required set of courses within the ESL program to support their English communication skill development as appropriate.
• Students who receive a clearance to enroll in classes will have met pre-professional
language requirements and be provisionally accepted into the professional phase of
their program. Language proficiency requirements for the professional phase are detailed
• Students who are enrolled in an ESL curriculum must complete the following to be provisionally accepted into the professional phase of their RSHS program.
• Complete all required ESL courses and earn a B or better in each course.
• After completing coursework, complete a retest of the ESL Department's battery of language proficiency tests, (see 4a, b, c, d).
• Receive a clearance from the ESL program to continue pre-professional phase coursework verifying that the student has met pre-professional language requirements and is provisionally accepted into the professional phase of their program.
• Students are responsible for all costs related to testing and ESL courses.
• Students who fail to complete the language proficiency tests, who do not complete their ESL program with grades of B or better in all classes, or whose scores in retest reflect inadequate language proficiencies will not be cleared to begin the professional phase of the program and may be terminated from the RSHS.
Language Proficiency Requirements for the Professional Phase of RSHS Programs
During the professional phase the demands for verbal and written communication are
far greater than in the pre-professional phase and the pace of learning is accelerated.
Expectations for language proficiency are raised to insure that students have sufficient
English communication skills to succeed in all aspects of academic and clinical education
in the professional phase of their RSHS program.
• All students who have met pre-professional language proficiency requirements and been provisionally cleared to enter the professional phase must resubmit an official and current TOEFL score with a minimum of 90 with a Speaking subscore of 24 or more. Students are responsible for all costs related to assessment. These scores must be submitted 4 months before a student's expected entry into the professional phase of any RSHS program.
• Students who meet these minimum scores will be fully cleared to pursue their professional degree in their designated RSHS program and will be deemed to have met all RSHS language proficiency requirements.
• Students who do not attain the minimum scores defined above will not be eligible to enroll in the professional phase of any RSHS program, will not be eligible to work towards completion of their professional degree and will relinquish their seat in their RSHS program. However, these students may be eligible to complete coursework for a terminal Bachelor's degree as Special Status students in the Rangos School of Health Sciences.
• All students will be assigned a faculty mentor in their RSHS department to advise the student throughout their education at Duquesne University.
RSHS Department Specific Language Proficiency Requirements
• Individual RSHS departments may define departmental language proficiency policies In addition to the policies stated above.