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International Teaching Assistants English Proficency Policy

The University attracts talented international graduate students with diverse background from around the world that are often selected as teaching and research assistants. To ensure effective collaboration in this diverse intellectual community, the University expects that all international graduate teaching assistants (ITAs) have the necessary English proficiency to communicate effectively in their instructional duties.

Each academic department is responsible for ensuring that the English proficiency requirement is met. This requirement applies to all graduate assistants employed in classroom or laboratory settings, whether as teaching assistants, instructors, or lecturers.

All international graduate teaching assistants are responsible for certifying that they have the necessary English proficiency required for their teaching assignment(s). This certification of English proficiency becomes part of the students' academic and employment record. The certification requirement can be met in several ways:

  1. Demonstrate completion of three or more years of undergraduate and/or graduate study at a university in an English-speaking country.* Transcripts must be on file at the Graduate School. (e.g. *U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Belize.).
  2. Submit an Overall score of 65 or higher on the Versant Test. Test Schedule available here.
  3. Submit an Overall score of 55-64 on the Versant Test and demonstrate teaching effectiveness, either through a departmental teaching evaluation.

International Graduate Teaching Assistants who do not meet the above requirement must enroll in a course offered by the English Language Studies (ELS) Program.

  • ITA's who score below a 65 on the Versant Test may be assigned teaching tasks. However, they must successfuly complete one semester of ELS coursework and pass a teaching assessment before their English proficiency can be certified. Students who are not yet certified must take steps to improve their oral communication skills until certification is achieved.

Approved by the URI Council of Deans, August 2004

Revised to include Verstant Test, August 2011

University of Rhode Island • Office of International Students & Scholars • International Center • 37 Lower College Road; Kingston, Rhode Island, 02881


International Student Orientation

Date: Friday, September 4, 2015


Place: Multicultural Center

Undergraduate Students' Time:

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Graduate Students' Time:

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.



Reporting responsibilities of F-1 International Students while on (OPT)

FALL 2015 OPT workshop schedule: Available

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