If English is not your first language, remedial programs in written and spoken English may be very important for your success in the PhD program. The Graduate School requires specific tests for English proficiency and requires remedial classes where they detect deficiencies. Students may also choose on their own to take advantage of remedial English classes offered by the University. Such classes are offered through the English Language Program (ELP). Tuition for these courses may be subsidized by the Department for students who have registered for at least 9 units (full-time status). ELP courses that are taught during the summer are not eligible.
The Department expects that students should have sufficient facility with English to serve as Department TAs during their second year in residence and to teach competently in University College by their third year in residence. Failure to develop proficiency in English sufficient to perform the duties of a TA will jeopardize continued financial support as well as progress toward completion of the degree.
Currently, all students whose native language is not English must take an exam for both listening and speaking, and a written exam. This exam usually takes place soon after the student arrives on campus, in the summer before the first year of classes. Recommendations from ELP, derived from the results of these exams, must be followed. If the recommendation requires additional ELP courses, the Graduate School pays for the tuition. Recommended courses must be taken the first year of the program. Students may write to the Director of Graduate Studies requesting permission to take ELP courses at a later time with a reasonable explanation.
A Teaching Assistant exam is given in the summer after the first year. The exam is jointly administered by ELP and the Economics Department. Students are again tested to see whether you need additional courses to qualify as a Teaching Assistant. Information about the Mini-Lecture may be found here.
The Teaching Center is a useful resource for students who need advice on approaches to teaching undergraduates – in discussion sections or in stand-alone courses.