Graduate Division

English Proficiency for Teaching Assistantships

Section 1

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENT FOR TEACHING ASSISTANTS/ASSOCIATES (ASSOCIATE IN)

All international students, including those with Permanent Resident status, who wish to serve as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate must pass an oral English proficiency exam approved by UCI. The only exemptions to this exam are given to students who have U.S. citizenship or meet the English language proficiency requirement for admissions purposes.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL TEACHING ASSISTANTS/ASSOCIATES

In order to establish eligibility for appointment as a UCI Teaching Assistant (TA) or Teaching Associate, international students are required to pass a campus-approved test, or if eligible, by an exemption granted by the Program in Academic English.

Campus- approved tests:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Testing (TOEFL iBT) is administered by ETS in U.S. centers and abroad;
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is available in over 140 countries including the U.S.;
  • Spoken Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) is available at UCI only after a student is admitted;
  • Test of Oral English Proficiency (TOEP) is administered at UCI and is only an option if a student fails to pass the TOEFL iBT, IELTS or SPEAK.

Assessment for exempt students

The assessment consists of an oral screening conducted by instructors or academic coordinators from the Program in Academic English and is only available to international students who were waived from the English language proficiency requirement for admissions purposes. Based on the outcome of the assessment, international graduate students will either be required to pass one of the tests noted above prior to appointment as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate or will be exempted from further testing.

Process for requesting an assessment: The graduate program requesting an exemption for an international graduate student should email TOEP@uci.edu with the following information: (1) the student's information (name, UCI ID number, email address) and (2) confirmation that the student has been waived the English language proficiency requirement for admissions purposes. The staff in the Program in Academic English will then contact the student directly to set up an appointment for an Oral Screening, which will be assessed by instructors or academic coordinators in the Program in Academic English. The outcome of the Oral Screening will be sent to the Graduate Division within 5-7 business days of the assessment. 

For more detailed information on these exams of spoken English proficiency, including the respective passing scores and how to determine is an international student is eligible for an exemption, please review the English Proficiency Chart.

To help UCI graduate students strengthen their oral English proficiency, UCI offers a Program in Academic English/ESL.