English Language Proficiency Procedure

Document Number000866
Date Approved3 December 2008
Date Last Amended13 December 2012


This Procedure is currently under review.


1.      Context

This procedure supports the English Language Proficiency Policy 000104 and must be read in conjunction with that document.

2.      Definitions

In the context of this document:

IELTS means International English Language Testing System

TWE means Test of Written English

TOEFL means Test of English as a Foreign Language

3.      Waivers

3.1.     The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, DVC(A), or in the case of prospective research higher degree candidates the Deputy- Vice Chancellor Research, DVC(R)may waive the English language requirement for:

  1. an applicant who has at least two years documented professional work experience:
    1. carried out in the medium of English and 
    2. undertaken within two years of the submission of an application to study at the University of Newcastle;

when satisfied that the applicant has demonstrated language proficiency equivalent to that required under the English Language Proficiency Policy.

3.2.     The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, DVC(A), or in the case of prospective research higher degree candidates the Deputy-Vice Chancellor, Research, DVC(R)on the recommendation of the Director English Language Foundation Studies, may waive the time requirements set out in 3.1 on a case by case basis, on demonstration that a candidate meets the English requirements at a level equivalent to those set out in the English Language Proficiency Policy.

3.3.     The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research may waive the English language requirements for an applicant for a research higher degree, on the recommendation of the appropriate Head of School, where:

  1. the applicant has been working in, or has been closely associated with the School for, a period of at least six months; and
  2. the supervisor provides evidence that the applicant’s oral and written command of English is sufficient to allow completion of the candidature in the normal time.

4.      Verification of Institutions

4.1.     In determining the English language proficiency of an applicant on the basis of study completed at an international institution, the University will require that study has been undertaken in an institution listed in: the International Handbook of Universities, World Higher Education Database, UK Naric Database or AEI NOOSR guides.

5.      Precedents

5.1.     Any waiver granted by the DVC(A); or DVC(R) which is deemed to establish a precedent for graduates of the program in question, will be advised to the Manager International Admissions and recorded on the University’s database of approvals/precedents.

6.      Review of Process

6.1.     A three yearly review of the efficacy of the University’s exemptions and waivers will be undertaken by the Manager, International Admissions and the findings reported to Academic Senate.

7.      Essential Supporting Documents

English Language Proficiency Policy 000104

8.      Related Documents

Code of Practice and Guidelines for Australian Universities on the Provision of Education to International Students

Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved3 December 2008
Date Last Amended13 December 2012
Date for Review1 April 2013
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Policy OwnerAcademic Registrar
Policy ContactManager, International Admissions
Amendment History

Minor amendments to Date Last Amended, Date for Review and Note added indicating this procedure is under review, The Secretariat, 19 March 2013.

Updated Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & Global Relations) to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) throughout document, 13 December 2012.

Amendment to Clauses 3.1 and 3.2 to remove President of Academic Senate from decision making, thus aligning the procedure to Rules Governing Admission and Enrolment and Delegations, approved President of Academic Senate, under delegated authority (AUB1) 13 December 2012.

Amendment Clause 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 to enable DVC(R) to determine English language waivers for RHD candidates, approved PAS under delegated authority 12 October 2010.

Updated DVCA to DVCA&GR 15 January 2010