English Placement Test – Professional Experience Exemption


Exemption from the English Placement Test (EPT) may be granted to students who have been employed full-time (40 hours per week minimum) for at least two years in organizations that use English as the primary language for speaking and writing. Assistantship appointments held as a graduate student are not considered professional experience for this purpose.

To qualify for this exemption, admitted graduate students must be prepared to provide verifiable evidence (typically a written statement from a supervisor) attesting to the fact that (a) the parts of their work that involved writing and speaking were conducted primarily in English, and (b) the ability to communicate effectively in both written and spoken English was considered a requirement of their position(s).

The exemption will not apply to students who used English in jobs only occasionally, or when the use of English was restricted to speaking or writing only.


A graduate student may initiate a request for this exemption by writing an e-mail to the director of graduate education (DOGE) for their major. The e-mail should include:

  • A list of jobs held in which the duties that involved writing and speaking were conducted primarily in English, and the ability to write and speak in English effectively was required. The list should include dates of full-time employment and the name and contact information of the supervisor or other official who can verify the information provided. Periods of employment must total at least two years (24 months).
  • This sentence: I attest to the fact that the information I am providing is accurate and verifiable.

The e-mail to the DOGE does not need to include any form of verification from employers.

The DOGE receiving the e-mail message should confirm that the request includes the two required elements and perform any verifications they deem advisable. Next, the DOGE should either forward the student’s e-mail with a note of approval to grad_college@iastate.edu and to the student requestor or return a denied request to the student and inform them that they will need to take the EPT. The DOGE has the authority to decide whether to verify employment information and the authority to deny a seemingly qualifying request based on their judgment that taking the EPT will be in the best interest of the requesting student and/or graduate program.