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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?
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. The bar is placed on anyone with an iBT TOEFL speaking and/or writing score below 22. For students with IELTS scores, the bar is placed on anyone with a speaking and/or writing score below 6.5. 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 the English Language Center 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 English Language Center faculty. This screening is done at Texas Global soon after international student check in.
For Spring 2023, we will offer screenings by appointment December 8 - 9 and January 5 - 6; schedule an appointment. All screenings will be conducted online via Zoom. Summer 2023 screenings will be offered May 25-26; the appointment calendar will go live mid-April.
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.