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International Students

Oral English Proficiency Policy for Teaching Assistants


In addition to the minimum requirements for admission set by UC Merced, international and U.S. permanent-resident graduate students who are not citizens of countries where English is the primary or dominant language must pass an approved oral English proficiency assessment before they can be appointed as teaching assistants.

The assessment is coordinated through the UC Merced English Language Institute, within the Center for Research on Teaching Excellence.

People who attended all four years of high school in the U.S. are exempt from this requirement - please contact us if you have any questions in this regard.


  • Applicants complete the online application for graduate admission, or if they have already been admitted as graduate students, complete the online application for a TA position at

  • Applicants who are being considered for a teaching assignment by the School of Natural Sciences will be contacted directly with additional instructions on how to take the oral English proficiency assessment. The assessment is usually conducted in two parts:

  1. Applicants who are being considered for admission are given preliminary assessments usually based on prior speaking test scores and/or a spoken test via phone.

  2. Applicants who have already been admitted and offered provisional assignments as teaching assistants participate in in-person on-campus assessments before the TA assignments start.

Request an Oral English Assessment:

Please complete this form only if you have received instructions to apply, including the required verification code. DO NOT complete this form if you do not have a verification code - unsolicited forms will not be processed. 

Oral English Proficiency Assessment Form