UW Graduate School

Memo 15: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English(1)

As stated in Section 3 of Executive Order 28 and Graduate School Memo 14, the University expects that newly appointed Teaching Assistants (TAs) receive appropriate training, supervision and support. Graduate students who are not native speakers of Englishi may be appointed as TAs with teaching duties if they fulfill the following three requirements:

1. Meet the general English language proficiency requirement
Before receiving a graduate appointment with teaching dutiesii, graduate students who are not native speakers of Englishi must satisfy the general English language proficiency requirement as stated in Graduate School Memo 8.

2. Meet the additional spoken English language proficiency requirement.
Before receiving a graduate appointment with teaching duties, graduate students who are not native speakers of Englishi must satisfy the spoken English language proficiency requirement in one of the four following ways:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom, where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus. (Note: A master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement).
  • Demonstrate spoken English proficiency with a test score on file at the University of Washington of at least:
  • Pass an appeal interview. If a student has one of the scores below on file with the University of Washington, a graduate program can submit an online request for an appeal interview.
    • 23-25 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT
    • 6.0-6.9 on the speaking section of the IELTSiii
    • 56-64 on the Versant English Test administered at the University of WashingtonNote: students who have not satisfied the general English proficiency requirements as stated in Graduate Memo 8 are NOT eligible for an appeal interview.
  • Pass English 105. This course is designed specifically for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) and is offered by UW’s Academic English Program (AEP).While a student is completing English language proficiency requirements, that student can be assigned teaching duties that do not include direct interaction with students. Such duties can include, but are not limited to, grading, setting up labs, preparing instructional materials, running equipment in classrooms.

3. Participate in the International Teaching Assistant Program at the Center for Teaching and Learning.

TAs who are not native speakers of Englishi and do not hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States are required to participate in the International TA Program at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).


iAs indicated on the Applicant Profile.
ii“Teaching duties” are defined as direct interactions with students for instructional issues. Examples include:

  • Holding office hours
  • Reviewing test or paper scores with students
  • Working with students one-to-one in study centers, such as writing, mathematics, chemistry, etc.
  • Tutoring
  • Conducting labs
  • Leading discussions
  • Helping students solve problem sets
  • Commenting on studio work
  • Lecturing

iii Many UW graduate programs do not accept IELTS test scores.  Please check the programs’ websites prior to scheduling a test exam to ensure your IELTS scores will be considered.  The Graduate School is phasing out the usage of IELTS and will not accept scores with a test session date after May 31, 2017

Revised: February 2008; July 2009; August 2010; January 2016; September 2016; October 2016