As stated in Section 3 of Executive Order 28 and Policy 5.1, the University expects that newly appointed Teaching Assistants (TAs) receive appropriate training, supervision and support. Graduate students who are not native speakers of English as indicated in the applicant profile may be appointed as TAs with teaching duties if the student fulfills the three requirements below.
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; lecturingm.
The following requirements must be satisfied before receiving the graduate appointment with teaching duties.
1. Meet the general English language proficiency (ELP) requirement as stated in Policy 3.2.
2. Meet the additional spoken English language proficiency requirement in one of the five 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, South Africa, 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).
Hold a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Juris Doctor (JD) from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.
Demonstrate spoken English proficiency with a test score on file at the University of Washington of at least:
26 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT
7.0 on the speaking section of the IELTS
Pass a one-time 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 a one-time appeal interview.
23-25 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT.
6.0-6.5 on the speaking section of the IELTS
Note: students who have not satisfied the general English proficiency requirements as stated in Policy 3.2 are not eligible for an appeal interview.
An appeal candidate must receive an overall score of 34 (out of a possible 45) points to pass and be immediately eligible to assume TA responsibilities without taking ENGL 105.
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. TAs who are not native speakers of English as indicated in the applicant profile and do not hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States are required to participate in additional TA-specific training from the Center for Teaching & Learning prior to the TA appointment. See the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Teaching@UW: Strategies for TAs for details.
An academic unit teaching modern spoken languages may apply to the Graduate School for a program-level waiver to #2 under Policy 5.2.1 that may be used for specific graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program when the following two conditions are met:
the teaching assistant’s teaching duties are conducted exclusively in a non-English target language of the academic unit
the teaching assistant is a native speaker of the language of the assigned courses. Requirements #1 and #3 of the general policy must still be met.
English language proficiency (ELP) is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Each prospective graduate student indicates on the graduate application whether or not the student is a native speaker of English.
Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways. A graduate program may set additional standards or qualifications in any of these categories. Students must confirm specific requirements with the admitting program.
A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States and where English is the medium of instruction.
A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom and where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus.
Official documentation from the applicant’s undergraduate degree-granting institution (if the institution is in a country other than those listed in #2 above) verifying that all instruction is in English. A minimum of three years of enrollment at the undergraduate institution is required. Documentation must be presented to the Graduate School; credential service reports are not acceptable. Acceptable documentation must be one of the following:
Official or attested letter from the undergraduate college, university Registrar, or Controller of Examinations office.
Official transcripts, attested mark sheets or degree statements, are also accepted if English is stated as the medium of instruction.
Official English Language Test Score (sent electronically to the University of Washington via testing center). Note: Graduate programs may require a higher minimum scores for admission than the scores listed below.
Minimum Required Score (ELP Not Satisfied) – effective through Autumn Quarter 2024 admissions
The Graduate School also accepts the TOEFL paper-delivered test, which is available only to students in areas without internet testing access. Contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) for special instructions if you have taken this test.
Applicants using TOEFL test scores must submit official scores electronically via ETS, using the University of Washington’s institution code 4854. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
Applicants using Academic IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
Applicants using Duolingo test scores must submit official scores via Duolingo to the University of Washington Graduate Admissions (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma). An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
An applicant who does not meet the minimum required score will not be considered admissible by the Graduate School. The Graduate School does not offer conditional admissions to students who have not yet met the minimum English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement.
3.2.3 Meeting English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirements
An applicant who has attained the recommended score has satisfied the Graduate School’s ELP requirement.
An admitted applicant below the recommended score will be required to satisfactorily complete 1 to 3 UW Academic English Program (AEP) courses to fulfill the ELP requirement. Students are expected to register for any required AEP classes beginning the student’s first quarter.
Admitted applicants who are required to take ENGL 102 and ENGL 104 may choose to fulfill this requirement before the start of the student’s graduate program by successfully completing the Graduate Preparation Program through the International & English Language Programs. Students enrolled in the Graduate Preparation Program pay additional fees.
Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted or on the date the program requests a deferral petition.
Graduate students whose native language is not English and who wish to be appointed as teaching assistants (TAs) must meet the conditions for appointment specified in Graduate School Policy 5.2.
Policy 3.2 revised: November 2021; March 2022; April 2022; November 2022; December 2022; August 2023 (removal of temporary policy statement)