Doctoral - English Language Waiver Policy and Procedures
Doctoral applicants who do not meet the University’s minimum English language test requirements for doctoral programmes, and their associated academic units.
To specify the policy and procedures that apply where an academic unit wishes to support a doctoral applicant who does not meet the University’s minimum English language test requirements for doctoral programmes.
1. Where the doctoral applicant has submitted an overall IELTS result which is lower than the overall minimum requirement (6.5) by 0.5-1.0 point, but the scores in the written and reading sections meet the minimum requirement (6.0), the application may be considered for an English language waiver.
2. An IELTS result with a low writing or reading score will not normally be considered for an English language waiver.
3. Where the applicant has submitted a TOEFL (internet based) result which is lower than the minimum requirement (90) by up to 2 points, but the written English score meets or exceeds the minimum requirement (21), then a waiver request may be considered.
4. Where the applicant has submitted the results of an approved English language test other than IELTS or TOEFL, and where the result of that test is lower than the minimum requirement, but the written English component meets or exceeds the minimum requirement, then a waiver request may be considered.
5. In exceptional circumstances as determined by the Dean of Graduate Studies, an English language test which is not listed in the University’s Postgraduate English Language Requirements may be considered as the basis of a language waiver.
6. In beyond exceptional circumstances, the Dean of Graduate Studies may grant a language waiver without requiring the applicant to take an English language test.
7. Applicants for doctoral programmes must apply for admission to the relevant doctoral programme at the University of Auckland via the online application for admission system.
8. Subject to clause 6 of the above policy, applicants are required to upload, as part of the documentation for admission, a copy of a University-approved English language test that has been completed within two years of their proposed start date.
9. An applicant who has not met the University’s minimum English language test requirements may be considered for an English language waiver, subject to clauses 1-6 of the above policy and these procedures.
10. Where an academic unit wishes to support an applicant for consideration for an English language waiver, the proposed main or joint supervisor must submit a statement of support to the Doctoral Admissions team. The statement must be endorsed by the Academic Head and must include information on the applicant’s perceived language ability, based on the supervisor’s interactions with the applicant and, where an exception to the norm at clause 2 of the above policy is sought, evidence as to academic writing and/or reading proficiency (as applicable) as demonstrated since the date of the language test.
11. Where the Dean of Graduate Studies agrees to consider a candidate under clause 6 of the above policy, the Dean of Graduate Studies will determine the evidence that must be supplied for consideration of the case.
12. The Dean of Graduate Studies (or nominee) will consider the application and statement of support and determine whether an English language waiver will be granted.
13. Candidates granted an English language waiver are required to undertake a Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA) 2-hour diagnosis within two months of enrolment.
14. If recommended by the DELNA/ELE Language Adviser, the candidate must undertake a programme of language enrichment, which may include the completion of up to 30 points of suitable for-credit language courses with a grade of B or above in each course.
15. The main or joint supervisor must monitor the candidate’s progress around the language enrichment programme and take appropriate steps if the candidate does not complete the DELNA diagnosis within two months or does not follow the programme recommended by the DELNA/ELE Language Adviser.
16. In order for the candidate to be confirmed in the doctoral programme, the DELNA/ELE Language Adviser must confirm that the candidate now meets the required English standard.
The following definitions apply to this document:
Academic unit may refer to a faculty, school, department or institute.
Academic Head refers to the head of the academic unit in which the applicant wishes to be enrolled or to their nominee for the purposes of doctoral matters.
Applicant means an applicant for admission to a doctoral programme at the University of Auckland.
Candidate means a candidate for a doctoral degree.
ELE means English Language Enrichment.
Joint Supervisor refers to the joint supervisor with primary responsibility for administrative requirements
Main Supervisor refers to the lead supervisor with primary responsibility for the supervision of the candid.ate and primary responsibility for administrative requirements
University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.
Key relevant documents
Include the following:
- Postgraduate English Language Requirements
Document management and control
Content manager: School of Graduate Studies
Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies
Approved by: Board of Graduate Studies
Date approved: October 2020
Review date: October 2025