Frequently Asked Questions

What is English Conditional admission?

Applicants who do not satisfy the English proficiency requirements for unconditional admission may be admitted to USF on the condition that they enroll in Academic English for Multilingual Students (AEM, formerly ESL) courses, along with other academic courses, during their first semesters at USF. Students admitted as English Conditional are required to take AEM courses concurrently with USF academic courses. Conditional students have up to four semesters to achieve full admission to USF.

Normally, English-Conditional admission requires a TOEFL score of 60 iBT, with no subscore below 10; an IELTS Overall Band Score of at least 5.5 with no subscore below 5.0; or a PTEA Overall Score above 40. Applicants who present these scores may be admitted to USF on an English Conditional basis, except for the School of Nursing. To apply for English Conditional undergraduate admission, please contact USF Admissions.

Can I apply for English Conditional undergraduate admission without a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA score?

Students must have a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA score to be eligible for English Conditional admission.

How many AEM courses will I need to take with my degree courses?

The number of units of AEM courses a student must take depends on their TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA score when admitted. Typically, English Conditional students take 8-16 units of ESL per semester.

Do AEM courses count for elective credit?

Yes, all AEM courses count for elective credit.  AEM courses are included in the cumulative GPA, but not in the major GPA. 

Who will my adviser be while I'm an English Conditional student?

Students will have two advisers.  English Conditional undergraduate students are advised by AEM faculty for AEM courses and by advisers in their major for non-AEM courses.  An AEM faculty adviser is assigned to newly admitted students before the beginning of each semester and will contact each student before the semester begins.

What is an ESL hold?

An ESL hold is placed on all English Conditional student records until they meet the English requirement for full admission. Newly admitted students will be contacted by their AEM adviser before they can register for AEM classes. 

Can I exit the AEM program early if I pass the iBT TOEFL or IELTS in the middle of the semester?

No. To pass through and/or exit  from the AEM program, students must achieve a 'C' grade or better in all AEM courses with faculty recommendation.

Can I skip a level of AEM?

In exceptional cases, students may “skip” a level; to do so, s/he must demonstrate proficiency equivalent of those completing the level they wish to skip AND have at least an A- in the current class. To demonstrate proficiency, students must complete an application and submit a portfolio of work from the current class. The application and all information regarding the portfolio requirements are available at the AEM office (KA 204) or online here. The completed portfolio must be submitted with the application no later than 5 p.m. on the last day of classes. A committee of department professors will read the application and essays and decide whether the student may skip a level. Students will be informed of the decisions by the last day of final examinations week. The committee’s decisions are final.

I'm a graduate student at another university in San Francisco, can I observe an AEM class?
Yes.  To set up an observation, please contact the AEM Program Director, Doreen Ewert.