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:

    • Listening comprehension (recorded speech followed by multiple-choice questions)
    • Grammar (multiple-choice questions)
    • Reading comprehension (multiple-choice questions)
    • Essay (choice of two topics, with 30 minutes to write about one of them)
    • Oral examination (a brief individual interview)

    The test is offered several times during New Student Orientation. To sign up for a test time, follow these steps:

    • Log in to the Student Success Network using your New School username and password.
    • Click on "Services" on the menu bar at the top of the screen.
    • Scroll down to "English Course Placement Exam for Parsons and Jazz."
    • Click "Schedule Online."
    • Choose one of the exam times that does not conflict with your required orientation sessions.
    • Reserve your space by clicking "Sign Up."

    After taking the test, students receive their placement results and can register for an appropriate English class the following morning. English course instructors and academic advisors will be available to answer questions and assist with registration.

    Failure to register for an appropriate English course can retard your progress toward completion of degree requirements and delay your expected date of graduation. If you have problems with the test schedule, contact your academic advisor immediately for help.

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

    BBA and BFA students entering as first-year students in 2016–2017 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 progression 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.