After arrival in Knoxville, all new international students must participate in an International Student Orientation. In addition, there will be other educational and cultural programs offered during the Passport to UT programs, such as the International Student Conference, that 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. Attending International Student Orientation is a mandatory program that is required of all new F-1 or J-1 students.

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 arrive before the program start date on their I-20 form.

Passport to UT events will take place at the beginning of the semester. Click here for the passport to UT schedule.

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

Graduate Students with assistantships who need to start work on August 1 should attend one of the July orientation sessions.

Mandatory International Student Orientation

International 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!

Fall 2017 Orientation Sessions!

  • Friday, July 28
  • Monday, July 31
  • Friday, August 4
  • Monday, August 14 (FULL)
  • Wednesday, August 16
  • Friday, August 18

*If you need to reschedule your orientation, please email istudents@utk.edu


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 for information on housing.


If you plan on driving to your orientation session, please keep in mind that parking in unauthorized areas could result in a fine or getting towed. Also, you should allow extra time to find a parking space and to walk from your parking space to the International House. Please check UT’s Parking and Transit Services for information (e.g. parking permits, etc.) about parking: http://parking.utk.edu/.

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. Students admitted to UT are placed in these classes based on TOEFL (or equivalent) scores used for admissions. The English Department will send information regarding individual placement to incoming international undergraduate and graduate students.

All undergraduate students must eventually complete both English 131 and 132; some undergraduate students may also be required to first take English 121.

Graduate students may either be required to take English 122, or may be exempt from English. Please refer to the link below for a description of the courses.

Exchange students are not required to take English courses. However, if you would like to take an English course, please refer to the link below for course placement guidelines.

For a detailed explanation about English Course Placement for ESL students, please refer to the link provided here: http://english.utk.edu/english-as-a-second-language/learning-english-as-a-second-language/ or contact the English department directly at esl@utk.edu

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: http://gradschool.utk.edu/graduate-student-life/ita-testing-program/