GE English Language Policy

Demonstrating Proficiency

Students whose native/primary language is not English who accept teaching-related Graduate Employee (GE) positions must submit a test score demonstrating their proficiency in speaking English. 

Native/primary language is defined as: A language you used as a primary language in your childhood, rather than learning it as a foreign language.

Students for whom the TOEFL/IELTS is waived for admission to their graduate program are still subject to these requirements if they are placed in teaching-related GE assignments.

The following tests are accepted to fulfill this requirement:

  • Test of Spoken English (TSE): Minimum score: 50
  • Internet-based (iBT) TOEFL Speaking: Minimum score: 26
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Module Speaking Band: Minimum Score: 7
  • Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK): Minimum score: 50

Individuals who score below the minimum scores will be required to attend one or more language support classes and may be subject to limitations on the kinds of activities they may carry out as GEs (see guidelines below).

Guidelines for the Assignment of Non-Native English Speaking Graduate Employee

If you have questions about these guidelines or the GE language requirement, please contact the Division of Graduate Studies

SPEAK Test Administered on Campus

If a passing TSE, iBT TOEFL, or IELTS score is not submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies in advance of arrival on campus, the student must take the SPEAK test administered at the University of Oregon prior to the first term of the GE appointment.

The cost of the SPEAK test (currently $35) is waived for those who have GE appointments during the academic year in which they take the test, in accordance with the UO-GTFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, Appendix B.

Fall 2022 SPEAK Test Information

LOCATION: Remote via Zoom
TIME: Various timeslots available. Tests take approximately 30 minutes.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Email Trish Pashby ( before September 13 to schedule an individual appointment.

Click here for more details about the SPEAK test, including a practice test.

Language Support Courses

GEs who score below 50 on the SPEAK Test will be required to attend a language support course offered specifically for GEs through the American English Institute (AEI). The course is offered Fall term only. 

Fall 2022 course information: 

GRST 610
US Teaching Culture & Communication
4 credits
Fridays, 10:00-11:50