English is essentially the medium of instruction at the University. It is, therefore, crucial for students to possess an adequate level of English proficiency in order to (a) become more effective learners in their respective disciplines through the medium of English; (b) be able to disseminate their research effectively to an English-speaking audience and readership; and (c) enhance their educational and career prospects.
In order to ensure RPg students have the oral and aural skills for effective postgraduate studies and classroom teaching, before the start of their first term of study at HKUST, all new full-time RPg students are required to take a spoken English test, the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), administered by the Center for Language Education.
ELPA provides a useful assessment of the spoken English ability of those whose mother tongue or first language is not English, to determine if they can effectively perform Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) duties in English. Such duties may include direct class interaction with undergraduate (UG) students in the conduct of tutorials, assistance in laboratory sessions, and/or engagement in other UG class activities.
Students who failed to attain Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before the start of their first term of study at HKUST are required to take LANG 5000 Foundation in Listening and Speaking for Postgraduate Students to improve their spoken English until they pass the course by attaining at least Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test before graduation. Students who obtained a score below Level 4 in the ELPA Speaking Test would not be allowed to serve as graduate teaching assistants until they have passed LANG 5000.