International Graduate Employees (GEs)

In addition to policies and procedures pertaining to Graduate Employees in general, there are a few policies which apply specifically to those GEs who are international students:

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Demonstrating Proficiency

Non-native speakers of English who accept Graduate Employee (GE) positions that involve teaching must submit a test score demonstrating their proficiency in speaking English.

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 as noted will be required to attend language-support classes and may be subject to limitations on the kinds of activities they may carry out as GEs.

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

If you have questions about these guidelines or the Language requirement, please contact Jered Nagel.

SPEAK Test Administered on Campus

If a passing iBT TOEFL or IELTS score is not submitted to the Graduate School 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 2020 SPEAK Test Schedule

DATES: September 17-21
LOCATION: Remote via Zoom
TIME: Various timeslots available. Tests take approximately 30 minutes
HOW TO SIGN UP: Email Trish Pashby (pashby@uoregon.edubefore September 14 to schedule an individual appointment

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 one or both of two language support courses offered specifically for GEs through the American English Institute (AEI), GRST 621 Academic Discourse and/or GRST 624 Teaching in US universities.

Each is 4.0 credits and the courses are available for registration via DuckWeb (CRNs available through AEI). For more information about these courses, please contact Trish Pashby at AEI.

2020-21 Courses Offered

GRST 621 Academic Discourse (Fall term)
GRST 624 Teaching in US Universities (Fall and Winter terms)
GRST 631 Graduate & Scholarly Writing I (Fall and Winter terms)
GRST 632 Graduate & Scholarly Writing II (Spring term)

Consult the UO Class Schedule for specific days and times each course is offered. 

International GE Health Insurance

All international students, including GEs, are required to carry health insurance while enrolled at the UO. International students are automatically enrolled in and billed for the University Health Center's (UHC) UO Student Health Benefits Plan.

Alternately, international students who have a graduate employee appointment (GE) are eligible to enroll in the GTFF health insurance plan (currently Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield).

This plan is available to the GE at low cost and provides medical, dental, and vision coverage. Children and families may be added to the GTFF health insurance plan for an additional cost.

For more information and to enroll in this health insurance plan, contact the GTFF Benefits Administrator (541-344-0832).

Regardless of GE status, all international students are automatically enrolled in and billed for the University Health Center's (UHC) UO Student Health Benefits Plan.

Remember, if you sign up for the GTFF insurance, you must complete a waiver request form through the GTFF to be removed from the student insurance (and to receive a credit for the premiums). Deadlines apply.

The waiver will be in effect the entire academic year, so if your GE position ends in the middle of the year, you will need to re-enroll in the UO Student Insurance Plan.

Dependents cannot use the Student Health Center. They must arrange for health care services off campus.

For help with questions about health insurance, email

SEVIS Fee Reimbursement for International GEs

To be eligible for reimbursement of the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) fee, students must:

  • Have paid the SEVIS fee to attend their current UO graduate program 
  • Began in their current UO graduate program in Fall 2014 or later
  • Have been employed as a graduate employee (GE) in the term in which they began their current UO graduate program
  • Have not already been reimbursed for the SEVIS fee payment by another source

SEVIS Fee Reimbursement

Helpful Resources for International GEs