Graduate Teaching Assistantship Program (GTAP)

The Graduate Teaching Assistantship Program prepares newly-appointed Graduate Instructional Assistants (GIAs) and Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) for success in their first semesters in an instruction-related assistantship. Students are nominated for the GTAP by their department or school/college after they have been offered a GIAship or GTAship. After being nominated, students will receive a welcome email with provides details on the program requirements and timelines. 

Newly appointed GIAs and GTAs are required to completed the GTAP during their first semester in their assistantship and must successfully complete all requirements to continue to serve as an instruction-related assistant in future semesters. The GTAP is offered each fall and spring semester.

While the Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships oversees the GTAP, it does not appoint graduate assistants. Students are nominated directly to the program by departments and schools/colleges. If you are a professor intending to appoint a Graduate Assistant, please contact your Chair or DGS for information on the nomination process.

Components of GTAP


1. Online Orientation

The online orientation is asynchronous and completed during the summer or winter break.

Orientation Content
  • Overview of university resources that Graduate Assistants can consult for questions about their responsibilities, instructional continuity, interacting with students (both in-person and virtually), and educational technology.
  • Guidelines of the legal requirements regarding Title IX and Disability Services.
  • Review of the payment process (salary, stipend, tuition) and the available resources.
  • Identify the broad responsibilities of a university instructor and the University's service expectations.
  • Research-based higher education teaching and learning principles as well as grading practices.


2. Oral English Proficiency Requirement

The purpose of the Oral English Proficiency Requirement is to evaluate the communicative capacities of graduate assistants to determine their readiness to enter the classroom as Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Instructional Assistants. All students must fulfill this requirement in one of the following ways:

Option 1: Degree from Exempted Country or Institution

Have a post-secondary degree from one of the following exempted countries or institutions:

Exempted Countries
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada (except Quebec)*
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

*Students from Quebec will be exempted if their university’s language of instruction is English

Exempted Institutions
  • American University, Bulgaria
  • American University in Cairo, Egypt
  • American University of Paris, France
  • American College of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  • Deree College, The American College of Greece
  • Hellenic American University, Greece
  • Central European University, Hungary
  • John Cabot University, Italy
  • American University of Rome, Italy
  • American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • Lebanese American University, Lebanon
  • Franklin College, Switzerland
  • Gilon Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland
  • Les Roches School of Hotel Management, Switzerland
  • American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Option 2: English Proficiency Test Score

Provide a qualifying English proficiency test result with scores at or above the following benchmarks: 

  • TOEFL iBT Speaking: 25
  • IELTS Speaking: 7.5
  • PTE Core Speaking: 84
Option 3: Oral English Proficiency Screening (OEPS)

Complete a 15 minute virtual screening interview with the English for Academic Purposes program.

 The screening is organized into five parts: 

  1. Interviewer greeting, self-introduction, and brief explanation of what will happen (1 minute)  
  2. Professional self-introduction (1 minute)  
  3. A brief policy or procedural explanation, for example a course policy or explanation of a class activity or assignment (1-2 minutes)  
  4. Mini-lesson on an introductory topic in the subject area with a target audience of non-specialist undergraduate students (5-6 minutes)  
  5. 2-3 questions from the interviewer (3-4 minutes)   

Parts 2, 3, and 4 should be prepared in advance by the interviewee to simulate the types of oral communication activities that GTAs and GIAs are typically involved with. Additional details to help students prepare for their screening will be shared by GTAP in advance of taking the OEPS.

Interviews will be evaluated using a rubric with weighted values for the various communicative tasks.

Rubric categories include:

  • Comprehensibility: The speaker is easy to understand; minor pronunciation or grammar errors do not interfere with comprehensibility. 
  • Language Use: The speaker chooses vocabulary appropriate for the topic, purpose, and audience; the tone of speaking reflects expectations for academic communication. 
  • Organization: The speaker logically organizes information, effectively using language structures to help the audience easily follow the ideas. 
  • Timing: The speaker controls both overall timing and internal pacing well. 
  • Handling Questions: The speaker easily understands questions from the interviewer and responds appropriately, clearly, and concisely (part 5 only).  

If it is determined that additional development of a graduate assistants’s oral academic communication skills is necessary based on OEPS assessment, they will be registered for the following course and re-take the OEPS screening after the class is complete.

EAP 6016: Oral Academic Communication

This one-credit course prepares multilingual international graduate instructional assistants (GIAs) and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) to meet the communicative expectations of their teaching positions at GW. It consists of eight 90-minute interactive workshop sessions. Four sessions are facilitated by faculty in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, focusing on oral academic communication and language use; and four sessions are facilitated by faculty in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, focusing on pronunciation and vocal delivery.


3. UNIV0250: Graduate Teaching Assistantship Certification

UNIV0250 is an online course designed to be an introduction to the complex process of teaching and learning in undergraduate and graduate education settings as well as an overview of relevant university policies. This course is asynchronous and completed via GW Blackboard throughout the semester. The course is a credit/no-credit course that is not counted towards a student's degree or GPA and is free of charge to students in GTAP. 

Course Overview

The coursework will focus on: (1) philosophical and research foundations of higher education, and (2) practical suggestions and examples of skills relevant for GAs. In addition, the course will provide valuable resources for you to consult throughout your teaching career. Some of the topics that will be covered in the course are:

  • Cultivating a Safe Learning Environment Fostering Learning Community
  • Applying Effective Teaching Strategies
  • Providing Meaningful Feedback to Learners
  • Reflecting on your Current and Future Roles and Responsibilities

Even if you do not have plans to embark on a teaching career, these fundamentals can be applied to other careers and professions!