University of Texas at El Paso Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog

Admissions Tests

The Student Assessment and Testing Office administers the ACT (American College Test), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), PAA (Prueba de Aptitud Académica) and the MAT (Miller Analogies Test). Scores from ACT, TOEFL, and PAA institutional examinations can be used only for admission to UTEP.

The Pearson Test of English (PTE) may also be used for admission purposes.  The PTE is offered at off-campus locations.  For a complete list of testing locations, please visit

Please refer to the Admission section of this catalog for information about admission test score requirements. Contact the Student Assessment and Testing Office for information on admission test dates and registration procedures.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI)

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) is designed to ensure that students entering a Texas public college or university are prepared for college-level math, writing, and reading-intensive courses. Entering students must take the TSI Assessment prior to enrolling in college-level courses at a Texas public college or university. Students who have not successfully completed the TSI requirement will be advised every semester at the Academic Advising Center.

The following TSI exemptions are provided by the state:

  • Students with an ACT composite score of 23 with a minimum of 19 on the English and/or mathematics sections*.
  • Students who score 1070 on the SAT with a minimum of 500 on the English and/or math sections prior to March 2016*.
  • Students who score 530 on the SAT Math section, 480 on the SAT English section as of March 2016*
  • Students who took the eleventh-grade exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) with a minimum scale score of 2200 on the math section and/or a minimum scale score of 2200 on the English Language Arts section with a writing subsection of a 3*.
  • Students with a STAAR end-of-course (EOC) with a minimum score of Level 2 on the English III shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment required under this title for both reading and writing, and a minimum score of Level 2 on the Algebra II EOC shall be exempt from the TSI Assessment required under this title for the mathematics section*.
  • Students who have an associate’s or baccalaureate degrees from an institution of higher education
  • A student who has previously attended any institution and has been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution.
  • Students enrolled in certificate programs of one year or less at public junior colleges, public technical institutes, or public state colleges.
  • Students on active duty as members of the armed forces, the Texas National Guard, or reserve forces for at least three years before enrolling.
  • Students honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as members of the armed forces, Texas National Guard, or reserve forces after August 1, 1990.
  • Students who are not seeking a degree or a certificate.
  • Students who transfer to UTEP from a private institution of higher education or an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education and has satisfactorily completed college-level coursework with a C or better per TSI area (reading, writing, and math) will be exempt for the corresponding area.
  • Students who successfully completed a college preparatory course are exempt for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of high school graduation with respect to the content area of the course.

To satisfy TSI requirements and determine college readiness students will need to take the TSI Assessment, which also serves as a placement test for Math and English courses. If a student is not college ready in one or more sections of the test, he or she will be advised by the Academic Advising Center into an appropriate developmental education course(s) according to UTEP’s Developmental Education Accountability Plan.

Students will complete the TSI when they have passed the reading, writing, and math sections of TSI Assessment, or when they have received a passing grade in the last level of developmental education or a college-level course in writing, math, and reading. Students that are not TSI complete must take the developmental education course(s) prior to taking a college-level course; the following courses are considered TSI college-level courses: core curriculum RWS, MATH, STAT, HIST, POLS, PSYC and SOCI. UTEP students with disabilities should inquire about special testing accommodations.

Entering students must satisfy the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) assessment requirement before enrolling in classes at UTEP. This can be done by taking the TSI, or one of the accepted assessment exams. For additional information about the Texas Success Initiative, refer to the Academic Advising Center section of this catalog. Minimum passing TSI assessment standards are:

  1. TSI: TSI: [Writing Skills-340 and Written Essay-4] or [Written Skills of less than 340 and ABE Writing Diagnostics-4 and Written Essay 5]; Reading Skills-351; Math-350
  2. ASSET: Reading Skills–41; Elementary Algebra–38; Writing Skills (Objective)–40; and Written Essay–6
  3. COMPASS: Reading Skills–81; Algebra–29; Writing Skills (Objective)–59; and Written Essay–6
  4. THEA: Reading–230; Mathematics–230; Writing–220

The minimum passing standard for the written essay portion of all tests is a score of 6. However, an essay with a score of 5 will meet this standard if the student meets the objective writing test minimum score of 80.

TSI Placement Tests (Math, English and Reading)

All entering students who do not have college-level credit in math, English, or reading-intensive courses must take the TSI test for course placement in those areas. The TSI is also used to meet the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) basic skills assessment requirement. Students can meet both testing requirements by taking the TSI, which is given by UTEP's Student Assessment and Testing Office and in most El Paso area high schools.

Transfer students who have college-level credit in math, English or reading-intensive courses can be exempt from placement testing, but still must satisfy the TSI. The Admissions Office determines which tests must be taken or whether exemptions apply.

Placement scores are subject to change, and score reports will provide the most current course placement information. TSI math test scores expire two years after the test date if no college math credit is earned, and students must retake the math placement test. Contact the Student Assessment and Testing Office or the Academic Advising Center for current information.

For further information about the Texas Success Initiative, visit the Academic Advising Center, or call (910) 747-5290. For information concerning TSI testing, refer to the Student Testing webpage

Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA)

The Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) or Quick THEA is used to meet teacher preparation requirements. For additional information on teacher preparation and certification requirements contact the College of Education. Contact the Student Assessment and Testing Office for information on THEA, Quick THEA test dates, and registration procedures.

ESOL Placement Tests

The ACCUPLACER ESL test is required if a student's secondary education was not conducted in English and if the student took the TOEFL (and scored less than 600), the PTE (and scored less than 68), or the PAA for admission. Students who enroll in the ESOL Program are expected to complete the appropriate sequence of courses. Students can retake the ACCUPLACER ESL one year from the original test date if they have not enrolled in an ESOL course during the 12 months following initial testing, or with approval of the ESOL Coordinator. Contact the Student Assessment and Testing Office for information on ACCUPLACER ESL test dates and registration procedures.

Academic Departmental Placement Tests

Departmental placement examinations are based on policies set by individual departments. These tests may be required by departments for enrollment in specific courses. These tests also allow students to start higher in a course sequence if they have previously acquired expertise in an area. Academic advisors help determine whether departmental tests are available in specific areas and which placement tests, if any, are required. Contact the Student Assessment and Testing Office for information on placement test dates and registration procedures. The following is a list of the departmental placement tests administered by the Student Assessment and Testing Office.

Placement Test Score Range Course Placement
French Part A 0-34 FREN 1301
French Part A 35-44 FREN 1302
French Part A 45-50 Qualify for French Part B test
French Part B 0-41 FREN 2301
French Part B 42-53 FREN 2302
French Part B 54-60 See Languages & Linguistics Dept
Nutrition Prerequisite: BIOL 1305 Contact the College of Health Sciences
Spanish (For non-native speakers) 0-18 SPAN 1301
Spanish (For non-native speakers) 19-27 SPAN 1302
Spanish (For non-native speakers) 28-35 SPAN 2301
Spanish (For non-native speakers) 36-44 SPAN 2302
Spanish (For non-native speakers) 45-50 Any 33xx course
Spanish (For native speakers) 0-73 SPAN 2303
Spanish (For native speakers) 74-83 SPAN 2304
Spanish (For native speakers) 84-100 Any 33xx course
Speech 0-69 COMM 1301
Speech 70-100 Qualify for oral test

Note: Minimum scores required for course placement are subject to change. For current information, contact the Student Assessment and Testing Office. Test fees are non-refundable and nontransferable. Fees must be used during the current fiscal year.