orientation-studAfter arrival in Knoxville, all new international students must participate in an International Student Orientation session as soon as possible. Aside from the required orientation sessions, there will be other educational and cultural programs offered during the Passport to UT programs, including the International Student Conference, that will help make your transition to UT and Knoxville easier.

Below you will find more information about the Passport to UT events, as well as links to the schedule and the orientation registration form. If you do not attend Orientation with CIE your program will be terminated.

Passport to UT, Student Orientation and Conference

Passport to UT

Paspport to UT is a series of programs designed to help new international students settle into their new home in Knoxville, TN. Students are encouraged to participate in these educational and cultural programs that take place over a period of days, prior to the beginning of classes.

The two required programs are the International Student Orientation and the International Student Conference. All events take place at the I-House, unless otherwise indicated in the schedule. Students must ensure they arrive in Knoxville before Passport to UT begins.

Passport to UT events will take place from August 11 to August 20.

View/download the >>Passport to UT Schedule<<

View/download the >>Passport to UT Schedule – Calendar Version<<


First-Year and Transfer undergraduate students must also attend Academic Orientation. Click the link for more information and access to the registration page.

Mandatory Student Orientation

Student Orientation is mandatory for all newly admitted international students. The program provides essential information about immigration regulations, taxes, health insurance, transportation, registering for classes and more. Students only need to participate in one mandatory orientation session and must sign up before they arrive at UT.

For Orientation, click on one of the dates below to register for a session.

Tuesday, December 16, from 8:30am to 12:00pm
Monday, December 29, from 8:30am to 12:00pm
Tuesday, December 30, from 8:30am to 12:00pm
Friday, January 2, from 8:30am to 12:00pm
Saturday, January 3, from 8:30am to 12:00pm


During Passport to UT and before classes begin, students may also choose to stay in a hotel or in off-campus housing. In the Fall semester, temporary housing may be available in the UT Knoxville residence halls. This is subject to availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. The CIE does not arrange housing for individual students. Visit the housing and the resources pages for information on housing.

English Placement Exam

Download: English Placement Exam FAQ’s

Additional information about the English placement exam (EPE) is provided during orientation. All students whose native language is NOT English are usually required to take the exam. The EPE is given each Fall and Spring semester only. If you are admitted for the Summer term, you will be required to take the EPE in the following Fall semester. All international students are required to take the EPE before they can register for any English classes at UT. The following categories are exempt from the EPE:

  • Students who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree from a US institution OR
  • Students who have successfully completed and transferred  six (6) credit hours of English Composition (UT equivalent of English 101 and 102) from a US institution.

Students are tested on three areas of proficiency:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Writing

Below is the placement and grade sheet that provides details on placement into the appropriate level of English.

Grade Norms and Class Assignments

English Course Assigned: 121
Reading/Structure Score: 50-70*
Composition Rating: 3-4*
Description of Course Assigned: Study of English grammar; development of college-level vocabulary; improvement of reading and writing skills; oral presentations. 4 hours per week in class. Grades: A/B/C/F

English Course Assigned: 131
Reading/Structure Score: Above 70
Composition Rating: 2-1
Description of Course Assigned: A college-level writing course that emphasizes the writing process and the integration of writing, critical thinking and reading; Strategies for university writing assignments. Prerequisite: 121 or recommendation based on results of the placement exam. For non-native undergraduates this course replaces English 101. Open to qualified graduate students with permission of instructor. 3 hours per week in class. Grades: A/B/C/NC

English Course Assigned: 132
Reading/Structure Score: Completion of English 131 or equivalent
Composition Rating: Completion of English 131 or equivalent
Description of Course Assigned: A college-level writing course that emphasizes research writing based on the synthesis of information from many sources. Strategies for college research and documentation. English 132 replaces English 102 for non-native undergraduate students. Prerequisite: English 131. A student cannot place into this course on the basis of the placement exam. 3 hours per week in class. Grades: A/B/C/NC

English Course Assigned: No English (graduate students only)
Reading/Structure Score: Above 70
Composition Rating: 2-1
Description of Course Assigned: No English courses are required for students who are seeking graduate degrees.

*A low score in either section of the exam can reduce total effectiveness and require placement in English 121.

SPEAK Test for Graduate Teaching Assistants

It is mandatory for all prospective Graduate Teaching Assistants/Associates whose native language is NOT English to take the SPEAK test during international student orientation. If you are required to take the SPEAK test, your department will need to register you.The SPEAK Test is administered through the Graduate School and you can find more information about the test on their website.