English Language Placement

  • Understanding the history, theory, and analysis of design and art is fundamental to all areas of study at Parsons. A high level of English language proficiency is needed to succeed in courses in these topics. For this reason, new students who are not native English speakers are required to take the English Course Placement Test when they arrive at Parsons.


    All new students who are not native English speakers must take the English Course Placement Test, regardless of fluency, previous English coursework, degrees/diplomas from U.S. institutions, TOEFL score, or SAT score. If English is not your first language, you must take the test. There are no exceptions.

    The test is composed of the following sections:

    • Grammar (multiple-choice questions)
    • Reading comprehension (multiple-choice questions)
    • Essay (a brief essay on a question, for which 30 minutes is allotted)
    • Listening and Speaking (a recorded speaking section)

    The test is offered online. You will be able to take the test on your own computer before orientation begins. To sign up for the test, use our Google form. We will contact you with instructions on how to schedule and take the test after you sign up.

    After taking the test, you will receive the placement results and can register for an appropriate English class if needed.

    Failure to register for an appropriate English course can delay your progress toward completion of degree requirements and delay your expected date of graduation.

    Please contact if you have any questions.

    For more information, refer to the English as a Second Language (ESL) Fact Sheet (PDF).

    BBA and BFA students entering as first-year students should refer to the sample curricular pathways outlined in the ESL Guide for information about how ESL classes support first-year study.

    Language-Supported (LS) Pathway at Parsons

    Non-native speakers of English who demonstrate the need for continued language development take a sequence of ESL courses and language-supported sections of the Integrative Studio and Seminar classes. Language-supported sections of Sustainable Systems and Objects as History are also offered.

    Language-Supported Classes

    Sections with the Language Supported designation are specially designed for students for whom English is a second language. LS courses have the same content as non-LS courses but with extra attention to vocabulary and cultural references and support for reading and writing. Students will engage with the materials in a supportive and dynamic learning environment as they become acclimated to the U.S. educational context, culture, and expectations. Parsons LS faculty possess training specific to both the content area and the language support focus.