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English Competency Assessment

Policy for English Competency Assessment and Rectifying Deficiencies.

A candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy is required to demonstrate highlevel competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking, as part of the language and communications requirements for the Ph.D. (International students should note that passage of the minimal TOEFL requirement does not necessarily demonstrate the minimal level of competence expected of a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State).

Assessment of English Competency

The Advisory Committee in conjunction with the candidacy examination will conduct the Assessment of English Competency. To evaluate competency in writing, each student will read and prepare a written critique of a journal article selected by the committee. The paper will be related to the field of study of the student. This exercise will be administered within three days after completion of the written component of the candidacy examination. The student's competency in spoken English will be judged during the oral component of the candidacy examination.

Improving English Competency of Students Having Deficiencies

Each student who has been judged deficient will be required to:

  1. present an oral seminar, and
  2. prepare a written review paper on the topic of his/her seminar for each of two semesters. The oral seminar will evaluated by the program's Seminar Committee. The student's Advisory Committee will be responsible for evaluating the written papers.

Reassessment of English Competency for Students Having Deficiencies

After the student has completed two credits of seminar (one per semester) with a grade of at least B, the student will be re-examined by the faculty members who comprised his/her Advisory Committee. He/she will be asked to read a journal article from his/her field and prepare a written critique for this examination. The student must make an oral presentation of the critique to the committee. Reassessment of English competency must be made before the comprehensive examination can be scheduled. Failure to demonstrate English competency to the satisfaction of the student's Advisory Committee at this reassessment will result in termination of the student from the Graduate Program in Animal Science.