Graduate International Student Instructor and Teaching Assistant Policy

Policy on Award of Teaching Assistantships

In 1986, the Missouri State Legislature and the University of Missouri Board of Curators adopted a policy which seeks to guarantee effective, high quality instruction for undergraduates. The state has mandated, and the Board of Curators fully supports the ruling, that graduate students who did not receive both their primary and secondary education in a nation or territory in which English is the primary language may not hold a teaching appointment during their first term of enrollment at any public institution of higher education in the state of Missouri. In addition, all such students shall be tested for their ability to communicate orally in English in a classroom setting and, those students who have not previously lived in the United States shall be given a cultural orientation to prepare them for teaching prior to receiving an appointment.

The first two requirements are dictated by the Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 170.012, and do not represent a change to the UMKC certification requirements:

  • Students in the above category may not hold a GTA appointment during their first term of enrollment at UMKC.
  • If students in this category have not previously lived in the United States, they must participate in a cultural orientation to prepare them for their teaching appointment.

Additional UMKC Certification Requirements

In addition to the requirements dictated by Missouri law, a graduate student from a nation or territory other than the U.S. must have satisfied each of the following standards in order to be certified to accept a GTA or GI appointment at UMKC. The only exceptions are for students who have earned a degree (undergraduate for which the last two years of education were completed in the U.S. or graduate) from a U.S. institution. Admission to UMKC does not guarantee a GTA or GI appointment; consistent with Missouri law, students must fulfill separate certification requirements in order to be eligible for GTA or GI positions.  The UMKC certification requirements include:

1.  Attain a qualifying TOEFL or equivalent* score:

  • 24+ is eligible for certification assessment (generally an oral examination in the form of a mock lecture presented to a panel presentation).
  • 22-23 requires a departmental petition in order to participate in the certification assessment.
  • <22 requires an Applied Language Institute oral interview in order to determine eligibility for the certification assessment.

* GRE TOEFL Speaking Equivalency:

TOEFL                                      24             22-23          <22

GTEC (paper)                       433-438       412-432       <412

GTEC (CBT)                        306-310       281-305       <281

IELTS Speaking Band             7.5                 7              <7

PTE                                         72              64-71           <64

Note. The Duolingo English Test does not have a TOEFL Speaking Equivalency score and cannot be used to satisfy the GTA certification testing requirement.

2.  Attend the SGS GTA/GI Cultural Orientation.

3.  Certification Assessment: Obtain a passing score on an oral examination of language comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. This is generally a mock lecture presented to a panel of faculty and students.

Information about the UMKC certification requirements, including the dates for the cultural orientation and procedures for the certification assessment can be found on the SGS website: