Oral English Language Requirement

GSAS requires that incoming PhD students who are non-native English speakers and who received their undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking institution meet a minimum level of oral English language proficiency. Graduate students who have not met this oral English language requirement are not ordinarily permitted to serve as Teaching Fellows.

Students are placed in one of the following three tiers based on the TOEFL iBT speaking score and, if placed in tiers two or three, must follow the requisite steps to work toward meeting the minimum level of proficiency established via the re-screening process.

Students fitting the above conditions who receive a:

  1. TOEFL iBT speaking score of 26 and above have met the GSAS oral English language requirement.
  2. TOEFL iBT speaking score between 23 and 25 are required to schedule an oral proficiency interview in their first term of study with language specialists at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. The interview will determine the student’s oral proficiency level. If students are not determined to have met the minimum required level, they will be required to take a course in the Professional Communication program at the Bok Center. After taking a course, students will be eligible for re-screening.
  3. TOEFL iBT speaking score of 22 and below are required to 1) schedule an oral proficiency interview in their first term of study with language specialists at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and learning, and 2) take a course in the Professional Communication program at the Bok Center. After taking a course, they will be eligible for re-screening.

Re-Screening Process
After students have taken a Professional Communication course, they will be eligible to be re-screened by language specialists at the Bok Center to determine whether they have met the oral English language requirement.  Screenings are offered at the end of each term in December and May, as well as in August.

Timeline for Meeting the Requirement
It may take more than one term to meet the requirement. If the Bok Center advises enrollment in a Professional Communication course, students should consult their department and/or advisor(s) to plan (as needed) to take any requisite communication course during either the first or second term of their G1 or G2 year to accommodate the time it may take to raise their proficiency to the required level.