Standard American English Requirement (Graduate School) – LR 509.17

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Standard American English Requirement
Policy Number: LR 509.17
Effective Date: August 15, 2011
Revised Dates:
Most Recent Review Date:

Policy Statement

In order to ensure that all graduate students are positioned to gain the greatest benefit from their educational experience and optimally contribute to the intellectual and cultural environment at UA Little Rock, it is imperative that every graduate student have oral and written proficiency in Standard American English (SAE). This policy addresses the institutional expectations of all graduate students with respect to proficiency in SAE.


Although the term, Standard American English, does not have a well-defined, universally-accepted definition, it is the version of the English language that is generally accepted in professional writing and taught in American schools. Furthermore, it is the language used for most educational, governmental, business, and media publications. Although pronunciation and the usage of idioms can vary in standard American English, grammatical structure and proper spelling are generally uniform.

Standard American English (SAE) Requirement

Except in certain foreign language programs, SAE is the language of instruction, examination, and all other forms of professional communication used in graduate education at UA Little Rock. Only when communication in another language or in non-standard English is essential to the integrity of the academic process may a thesis-dissertation, major programmatic examination, or other component of the academic process be conducted in a language other than SAE. Students who wish to use a language other than SAE must secure the written permission of the Dean of the Graduate School. When a thesis/dissertation is accepted in a different language, it must contain an abstract written in SAE.

Sufficient proficiency in SAE speech and writing is expected of all graduate students. Minimum proficiency levels are defined in the English Proficiency Certification paragraph in the International Student section of the Graduate Catalog.

Graduate Students Whose First Language is Not English

In addition to the language requirements for all graduate students at UA Little Rock, foreign students may have additional requirements. These are identified in the Graduate School International Student Admissions Policy

Status: Active
Approved by: Graduate Council
Custodian: Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School