English Proficiency Requirement

The State of Missouri has a law that makes graduate students from non-English speaking countries (i.e., those in which primary and secondary education is not taught in English) ineligible to serve as a teaching assistant until they have demonstrated English speaking proficiency. At the University of Missouri, this means students from outside the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and a few others cannot serve as a Teaching Assistant until they have passed the English Speak test given through the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP). A score of 2 on the English Speak test makes one eligible to teach only lab courses (i.e., no recitation section). A score of 3 or higher on the English Speak test makes one eligible to teach lab and recitation sections.

The English Proficiency Requirement essentially states that all graduate students must score a 3 or higher on the English Speak test through ITAP no later than the end of their second year in our graduate program to remain eligible for Chemistry Department Teaching Assistantship support. The details are given below.

All new students from non-English speaking countries that are admitted into our graduate program will be made stipend offers at a reduced rate for one year assuming satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree. The stipend offers require the new students to help with the Undergraduate Teaching Program (50% FTE). To be considered for Chemistry Department support in their second year, the student must pass the English Speak test through ITAP at a level 2 or higher. To be considered for Chemistry Department Teaching support beyond the second year (3rd year and further on), the student must pass the English Speak test through ITAP at a level of 3 or higher. If the student passes at a level 3 or higher, he/she is eligible to teach recitation and lab. As soon as a student passes at a level 3, he/she will receive the full TA stipend.

Additional English Proficiency classes are offered through the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP). If a student receives a score of less than 3 on the English Speak Test, the ITAP staff will recommend classes to help improve the student’s English proficiency. For more information on the ITAP program, see the ITAP web site.

Note: The above requirements for TA eligibility do not affect Research Assistantships (RA), since RA positions are with a particular faculty adviser. However, if a student is on a Research Assistantship in his/her 2nd or 3rd year and then requests Chemistry Department TA support for later years, the above eligibility requirements are in effect. If the student is not at a level 3 or higher on the English Speak test in his/her 3rd year, then he/she is not eligible for TA support.