|Policies > Graduate Student Assistantships > Qualifications for Appointment
To be eligible for a graduate student assistantship, students must have an undergraduate degree or its equivalent, be admitted to a graduate program, and be prepared to devote full-time efforts toward the degree. Students seeking Graduate Student Appointments to serve as classroom instructors or in other roles that require communicating with students in English (primarily Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows) must meet one of the following requirements before teaching begins:
- Completion of baccalaureate degree requirements at a regionally accredited U.S.institution or an institution in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or theUnited Kingdom at which English is the medium of instruction.
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language in one of the following ways:
- TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT) - speaking section score of 25 or higher;
- ACTFL (American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages) - Oral Test - Advance High (AH) proficiency required. Available through the University of Houston
- TestingCenter (https://ussc.uh.edu/tests-offered.aspx)
- IELTS - speaking band score of 7.5 or higher required
- Duolingo - conversation subscore of 120 or higher and production subscore of 105 or higher.
- Previously accepted tests that are no longer offered:
- Spoken Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) Test (passing score of 50)
- Test of Spoken English (TSE) (passing score of 50)
- Provide evidence of spoken English language proficiency using an alternate method to satisfy spoken English fluency requirements. Departments and colleges are permitted to develop alternative methods to assess spoken English language ability for those who do not pass the English language proficiency requirements in section 2. Alternative methods must be approved by The Graduate School.
Students scoring below the required minimums should enroll in LCC 6034, English for International Teaching Assistants and Faculty. This semester-long, noncredit course, offered through the Language and Culture Center, focuses on English pronunciation, including individual sounds, stress, intonation, fluency, and overall comprehensibility; orientation to U.S. academic culture; and teaching skills, including non-verbal communication, explaining, presenting, fielding questions, and leading a discussion. Students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency at the end of the course at the minimum levels required in #2 above.
As it is not always possible for an applicant to demonstrate proficiency in English prior to arriving on campus, conditional appointment as a graduate student assistant may be extended to allow demonstration of proficiency upon arrival. Such authorization requires the written consent and support of the student’s academic advisor and approval by the dean of the college of the student’s major as well as the Dean of the Graduate School. Until proof of proficiency is presented, the student may not be assigned to an instructional role.