Oral English Assessment (EPI)
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Oral English Proficiency Requirements

Information for Departments and Students


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For questions or information, please contact:

EPI Coordinator
(217) 265-6136


Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Oral English Proficiency Requirements for Teaching Assistants

Please note that requirements regarding English proficiency for teaching are different from requirements for admission to the Graduate College.

The University requires a high level of English proficiency for everyone involved in teaching. To ensure that TAs and their students have a successful teaching and learning experience, Illinois policy requires the following:

Graduate students who wish to be considered for teaching assistantships – which include TA appointments for face-to-face classes, blended and online instruction, accompanying/coaching, and office hours -- must provide evidence of spoken English language proficiency.

This campus policy applies to all prospective teaching assistants regardless of country of origin, nationality, the language of instruction in any high school, undergraduate, or graduate degree program they may have previously completed, or previous professional experience.


Graduate students are exempt from demonstrating oral English proficiency if

  1. they have attended English-medium schools continuously since age 13 (or younger) in any of the following countries: Australia, Anglophone Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States;
  2. they are hired as Graders and have no oral interaction with students. Graders who have oral interactions with students (e.g., through office hours) must demonstrate oral English proficiency.

If I am not exempt, how do I fulfill the oral English proficiency requirement for teaching assistants?
Students who do not meet the above criteria must obtain a qualifying score on the TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) to be considered for teaching assistantships. The following are score requirements. PLEASE NOTE: Individual academic programs may require a higher score; contact your proposed program of study office for the minimum TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or EPI requirement.

English Proficiency Scores Required for TA Appointment
English Proficiency TestRequired ScoresAdditional information
TOEFL iBT24 or higher (speaking sub-section)


Scores must be less than two years old from the first day of class at the proposed term of entry in order to be valid. Scores must be officially reported to the university.

IELTS (academic exam)8 or higher (speaking sub-section) 


Scores must be less than two years old from the first day of class at the proposed term of entry in order to be valid. Scores must be officially reported to the university.

EPI4CP1, 5, or 6

Administered at Illinois


Scores remain valid as long as the student is continuously enrolled as a graduate student at Illinois.

A score of 4CP is a “conditional pass” which allows the student to be a TA provided he or she successfully completes ESL 508 before or during the first semester of teaching.

New Illinois graduate students are encouraged to fulfill the oral English proficiency requirement for teaching prior to arriving on campus for the first time by obtaining a qualifying speaking score on the TOEFL or IELTS. Graduate students may also take the TOEFL or IELTS after arriving on campus, focusing on only the speaking subsection.

As a service to the campus community, the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) offers the campus-based English Proficiency Interview (EPI) as another means by which prospective TAs can demonstrate oral proficiency in English and fulfill campus policy and Illinois state law.

Use the links to the left to learn more about the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) for TAs.