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

Passport 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 in early January. You may view/download the Passport to UT schedule here.

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.

Please bring your original I-20/DS-2019, visa and passport to orientation!

Summer Orientation Dates

Tuesday, May 31 (8:30am – 12:00pm)

Fall Orientation Dates

Wednesday, July 27
Friday, July 29
Tuesday, August 2
Friday, August 5
Monday, August 8
Tuesday, August 9
Wednesday, August 10
Thursday, August 11
Friday, August 12


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 Course Placement for International Students

Four courses—English 121, 122, 131, and 132—focus on teaching advanced English academic literacy to UT students whose first or strongest language is not English. Incoming international students will be placed into one of these courses based on their TOEFL (or equivalent)  scores used for University admissions.

More information about UT’s English proficiency admissions policy can be found here.

English Placement Guide: Undergraduate Students

A combination of scores and subscores will determine English course placement. You will be contacted by the English Department as soon as you confirm attendance.

English Placement Guide: Graduate Students

The ESL Writing Program uses standardized test scores to place graduate students into ESL writing courses. If graduate students do not have test scores or are not satisfied with their test scores, they can choose to take an English Placement Exam (EPE).

The details of the EPE are as follows:

  • Date: Friday, August 12th, 2016
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. (Note: Students should arrive at the test location by 8:45 a.m.)
  • Location: Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Rooms: 111, 113, and 114

No English Required:

TOEFL iBT 100 and above, OR
IELTS 7.5 and above, OR
TOEFL CBT 250 and above, OR
TOEFL PBT 600 and above

English 122 Required:

TOEFL 99 or below, OR
IELTS 7.0 or below, OR
TOEFL CBT 247 or below, OR
TOEFL PBT 597 or below

English Placement Guide: Exchange Students

Exchange students are not required to take English courses. However, if you would like to take English, please refer to the placement guidelines for undergraduate students above. Please also send an email to esl@utk.edu telling us (1) your full name (2) your student ID #, and  (3) which English class and section you would like to take. If you do not have official scores (TOEFL or IELTS) and would like to take English, please read the descriptions below and choose the course best suited to your English proficiency level.

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.