UMKC Catalog


International Graduate Student Academic Regulations

In addition to the minimum graduate academic regulations and degree requirements common to all graduate students or specific to their particular degree programs, international graduate students at UMKC are subject to the following special requirements and regulations:


Registration with Student Adviser

Admitted international students must clear their attendance and register at the office of the international student adviser prior to their first registration at UMKC. Once admitted, international graduate students must show satisfactory and regular progress toward their graduate degrees.


Health Insurance

International students are required to purchase UMKC mandatory, exclusive health insurance.


English Proficiency Requirements

Proficiency in written and spoken English is essential to international graduate students' success in their degree programs at UMKC. To ensure that all international graduate students either already have, or have an opportunity to acquire, these necessary skills at a level appropriate to their degree program, the Graduate Officers Committee supports the following guidelines:

  • Current minimum TOEFL scores for entering students and graduate teaching assistants should be strictly adhered to by all academic units without exception.
  • Prior to their first enrollment in classes at UMKC, newly admitted international graduate students must take the English Evaluation Examination conducted by the UMKC Applied Language Institute (ALI) unless they are exempted from this requirement by virtue of having achieved a TOEFL score of at least 600/CBT 250.
  • Based on results of the English Evaluation Examination scores, such students must enroll in and successfully complete the applied language courses indicated as necessary by the student's academic unit in consultation with the UMKC Applied Language Institute.
  • Prospective international graduate students should be aware that required coursework in English as a second language may add extra time to their individual graduate programs of study.
  • The only international graduate students exempted from this policy are the following:
    • Native English speakers from English-speaking countries such as Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
    • Non-native English speakers who hold degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (such as the United States, Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) provided that they have spent a minimum of two years of successful full-time study and English was the medium of instruction.

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, (found here) 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.     

Note: Current iBT cost:  $175 (hyperlink for Missouri locations and costs below can be found here). Each student has the responsibility to cover costs to iBT prior to admission.

Full Certification (28 or above)

  • To be eligible to be considered for full certification during the current term, students in this category must take the iBT test at UMKC’s Applied Language Institute before the end of the second week of classes and achieve a score of at least 28.  The iBT test is administered one time at no charge to the student.
  • In order to be fully certified to hold a GTA appointment, students must participate in a Cultural Orientation offered each fall semester by the School of Graduate Studies.  They must also present a simulated lecture (5-7 minutes in length) that is recorded by a representative in the School of Graduate studies and evaluated by faculty in the department or division where they hope to teach.
  • At a mid-point in the semester, students in this category who are certified and receive GTA appointments will be evaluated by students in the classes to which they are assigned and the results of these evaluations will be reported to the chairs of their respective departments or divisions.  Based upon the results of these evaluations, the department or divisions may recommend remedial measures.

Provisional Status (26 and 27)

With an iBT score between 26 and 27, the student may be provisionally certified for a GTA appointment with the following restrictions:

  • The student may not be the sole instructor in the class, but must work under the supervision of a faculty member or experienced GTA.
  • The student must enroll in English 300F (3 credit hours) during the current term.   
  • The test can be re-taken as frequently every 8 days (students or their department will be responsible for payment for re-taking the test until they score a 28 or higher).
  • Once the student scores a 28 or above, they will complete the remaining two requirements for full certification (Cultural Orientation and recorded simulated lecture mentioned under Full Certification).

 Failure to Attain Status (25 or below)

Any student who takes the iBT test and scores below 26 must use the general alternatives offered through online sites, practice test or classes such as:

TOEFL Practice Online

Strategies for TOEFL iBT Speaking Section

TOEFL Professor Online

 Or through many excellent self-study texts, most with either CD’s or a CD-ROM to accompany, such as:

Bruce Stirling Speaking and Writing Strategies

Additionally, the Applied Language Institute offers an iBT Prep course (100T) and private tutoring.  They also offer a TOEFL Prep course (100T) in the fall and spring semesters, though it is a 12 to 14-week full course, and covers all four sections of the iBT TOEFL.  Students could also consider tutoring for on-campus preparation work for the speaking section.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Certification for Students Whose First Language is not English:

A graduate student whose first language is not English must have satisfied each of the above standards in order to be certified to accept a GTA appointment. Graduate students whose first language is not English and who are interested in being considered for appointment as teaching assistants may make arrangements for the required iBT test throughTesting Services (click here), which is located at 4825 Troost, Suite 206 or call (816) 235-1635.

For information on dates, or to register for the next Cultural Orientation series visit the IGTA Database (here) or contact the School of Graduate Studies (816) 235-1161

Exceptions to any of these certification standards must be authorized by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Departments wishing to request an exception for a student must submit a written petition for exception to the graduate dean, including full justification supporting the request, prior to the beginning of the term for which the GTA appointment is sought.