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Clemson University Graduate School

Conditional Language Admission

Certain graduate programs at Clemson University can offer acceptance to international students who have limited English-speaking skills with the understanding that they must successfully complete an approved English as a Second Language (ESL) program to improve those skills before enrolling. This is called conditional language admission.

Approved ESL Programs

The following ESL programs and proficiency levels are approved:

  • Agape English Language Institute (AELI) — Greenville or Columbia, SC — Level 6 proficiency.
  • ELS Language Centers — any location — Level 112 proficiency.

Other ESL programs may also meet the requirement if they follow all three of these criteria:

  1. Accreditation: regional accreditation, or ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Teaching), or CEA (Commission on English Language Program Accreditation).
  2. EnglishUSA membership.
  3. Proficiency level equivalent to CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) C1.
Female student writes on dry erase table next to an open book.

Application Process

1. Find a Program

The following programs offer conditional language admission. Review the program’s other admission requirements to determine if your qualifications would make you a good candidate for applying.

Graduate Programs that Offer Conditional Language Admission:

2. Submit the Application

  • When you are completing your application, select “yes” to the question “I am interested in Conditional Language Admission?” 

  • Then, choose the ESL program you plan to attend. 

If you plan to study with a program that’s not listed, we will need to approve that program and level first. The nearest ESL program is 45 minutes from the main campus: Agape English Language Center in Greenville, SC.

3. Upload the required support materials

Upload all required supporting documents as directed in the online application. Letters of recommendation and personal statements may be submitted electronically unless otherwise stated by the department. 

Exam scores are not required for applying if your application is being considered for a conditional language admission. But if you have already taken standardized exams (such as TOEFL, GRE, GMAT) you can submit your scores using school code 5111.

4. Check Your Application Status

It takes several weeks to review an application thoroughly. If your academic department has an application deadline, wait several weeks after its deadline to check your status.

5. Additional Requirements

If you are accepted, a conditional letter of admission (CLA) will be posted to the application portal. If your academic department has additional requirements you must meet before enrolling (for example, acceptable scores on the GRE or GMAT, or prerequisite courses), these will be specified in your conditional letter of admission.

Confirming Conditional Acceptance

  1. Use the application portal to confirm your attendance.

  2. Enroll in an approved ESL program:

Email to coordinate your anticipated program start date. Then complete the ESL requirement and send the Graduate Admissions Office your certificate.

After Conditional Admission

  1. Satisfy any additional requirements from your program, such as taking the GRE or GMAT. If you are required to take a test, make sure you leave enough time to schedule and complete it and ask the testing service to send your score to Clemson University (school code 5111) in time to enroll in courses. 

  2. ESL Completion Verification

    After completing the ESL program, ask them to send an official transcript verifying that you completed the expected level of proficiency. They can send it by email to or by mail:

    Graduate Admissions
    E-209 Martin Hall
    Clemson, South Carolina 29634.

  1. Admission Letter from Graduate Admissions

    After we have verified that you have met all the requirements for conditional language admission, the Graduate Admissions Office will issue you a new decision letter, which you can view in the application portal.

  2. SEVIS Record Request for U.S. Immigration Status

    Contact your ESL program and request for your SEVIS record to be transferred to Clemson. Your ESL program will advise you on the appropriate documentation (such as your fully admitted admission letter) that must be provided before transferring your record.

  3. Obtain I-20 Immigration Document from the Office of International Services

    The Office of International Services will issue your I-20 document once your SEVIS record has been transferred and released to Clemson University and OIA has determined your eligibility. Questions regarding transferring SEVIS records to Clemson and I-20 issuance should be directed to the Office of International Services.