What is the J-bar?

Instituted by the Graduate School, the J-bar is a bar placed on certain graduate students’ records, which requires them to go through English screening before they can register for classes. It ensures that all graduate students have sufficient English proficiency to be successful at UT.

Note: The J-bar English screening is different from the ITA English certification.

How do international students know if they have a J-bar?

When international students check in at the International Office, they are given a paper indicating whether or not they have a J-bar. The paper also explains what they need to do to remove it. Students may also check their bars online through UT Direct.

Why are certain students given a J-bar?

There are two reasons for a J-bar to be placed on a student record. The first one is the automatic J-bar. This is placed on any international student record with a TOEFL below 600 PBT / 250 CBT. For students with IBT scores, the bar is placed on anyone with a speaking and/or writing score below 23. For students with IELTS scores, the bar is placed on anyone with a speaking and/or writing score below 6. Students who do not submit English language test scores at the time of admission are also given a J-bar.

The second reason is if the student’s department requests that ESL Services place a J-bar on a particular student.

How is the J-bar removed?

In order to remove a J-bar, international students must go through an English language skills screening, which is done by ESL Services' faculty. This screening is done at the International Office soon after international student check in.

For Fall 2018, we will offer screenings by appointment August 13 - 17, 20 - 24, and 27 - 30. Click here to schedule an appointment for August 2018.

The screening consists of a 30-minute essay and a 15-minute oral interview. After the screening is done, the results are discussed with the students and they are informed whether there is a requirement for further coursework in English. If English classes are required, then information on those classes is provided to the students, and a copy of the course requirement is sent to the students' departments.

Once the students have gone through the screening, the J-bar is removed or waived. If requirements for additional English coursework are not fulfilled, the J-bar appears again for the following semester. Coursework requirements must be fulfilled within the first year of graduate study. There is an $80 fee for re-screenings; students are limited to one re-screening.