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Information for Visiting Graduate Students on Exchange Programs to UW

These pages contain information about our graduate exchange program as well as the information needed to complete all administrative formalities in the most efficient manner possible. Please note that although the Department of French and Italian Studies requires relatively few documents, those applying to the UW as visiting graduate students must to fulfill various University-wide requirements in order to gain acceptance. In addition, for students who are neither US citizens nor permanent residents ("greencard holders"), the US government has set clear guidelines in order to issue the appropriate visa for your stay in the United States.

To complete the process, please follow the instructions below and do not hesitate to contact the French & Italian Studies main office at with any questions that you may have.

Administrative Requirements

Academic and Teaching Requirements

Housing and Life in Seattle

Administrative Requirements

Departmental Requirements

Teaching Assistantship Application
While on exchange at the UW, Visiting Graduate Students in French Studies teach one elementary or intermediate level French class for undergraduates per quarter. The Teaching Assistantship application must be completed and sent to the Department of French and Italian Studies as part of your application. Learn more about Teaching Assistantships in French and Italian Studies. The address is as follows:

 Department of French & Italian Studies, Box 354361
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-4361

University of Washington Requirements

Application Forms & Exams
Students from universities with which we have official exchanges who have been selected to study at the University of Washington (UW) and teach as Visiting Graduate Students will need to complete the appropriate online application and take two required examinations: the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). To be eligible to receive Teaching Assistantships, applicants must score a minimum of 55 on the TSE, and 237 on the computer-based TOEFL (the paper-based TOEFL score minimum requirement is 580). When submitted, TOEFL scores cannot be more than two years old.

If you have been selected as a Visiting Graduate Student in French and Italian Studies, please register for the exams and apply to the UW as a Visiting Graduate Student no later than March 1st.

Application for Visiting Graduate Students

Complete the online application for Visiting Graduate Students. Detailed instructions accompany the application. Please remember that you're applying to be a Visiting Graduate Student in French Studies, even if you plan to take courses in other departments while on your exchange.

Registration for both the TSE and TOEFL can be done online.

TSE Website
TOEFL Website

There are fees for taking these exams, and all require registration well in advance. Please plan to take your exams as soon as possible.

Certificate of Status for Visiting Graduate Students

A portion of this form is to be completed by a school official at the Visiting Graduate Student's home institution. The form is found at or is accessible via the application website listed above.

Visa requirements

Most visiting students enter the United States as "non-resident aliens" and require a Student (F-1) visa to be enrolled at the University of Washington. Student visas are processed once Visiting Graduate Students are accepted to the University of Washington. Please note that paperwork needed to apply for a student visa will not be made available until official (passing) scores for the TSE and TOEFL exams are received by the University of Washington.

If you have questions about Visa processing once you've received your paperwork, please contact Astrid Rivera at In the meantime, you may wish to consult the following websites for general information regarding visas.

Academic and Teaching Requirements

Academic Requirements

Visiting Graduate Students will register for classes upon arrival to the UW via the online registration system, known as MyUW. Once you receive your enrollment packet from the graduate school, you will create a login and password, giving you access to the online registration system.

You are required to register for a total of 10 credits per quarter. During autumn quarter, you will be required to register for FRENCH 590, Teaching Methods (3 credits) and FRENCH 590, Foreign Language Teaching Methodology (2 credits) as part of your 10 required credits.

If you wish to register for courses in other departments on campus (English, Comparative Literature, History, etc), you may need to contact their student advising offices for permission to enroll in those courses once you have your login and password. 

Teaching Assistantship Obligations

As a Teaching Assistant (TA), you will teach one section of a 100- or 200-level (Beginner or Intermediate level) language course per quarter. These courses are geared towards language acquisition through the use of a highly interactive, task-based method. Each section has a maximum of 25 students and meets for 50 minutes per day, 5 days per week. A textbook and syllabus will be provided. However, you are responsible for all class preparation and grading assignments. Your workload is estimated at 20 hours per week, which includes teaching preparation and 2 required office hours. During autumn quarter, TAs enroll in a pedagogy seminar (French 590) and participate in weekly meetings. During winter and spring quarters, there will be regular TA meetings with the TA Coordinators. Please get in touch with your TA Coordinator as soon as you arrive in Seattle redgarding your teaching assignment and other matters. You will receive a detailed schedule of the TA orientation by the end of May. TAs are expected to be on campus by September 16th.

Eligibility and Renewal

Eligibility is dependent on admission to the graduate School and acceptability to the Department as a teacher of French or Italian. Within the limits of financial possibility and subject to certain conditions, the most important of which are maintaining satisfactory progress toward a degree and demonstration of competence as classroom teachers, Teaching assistants holding regular appointments will be reappointed annually for the full term of their eligibility (six quarters for M.A. students, nine additionally for Ph.D. students). Students must maintain the minimum registration requirement of 10 credits per quarter applicable towards their degree in autumn, winter and spring and 2 credits in the summer (if there is a course for the student to teach, and, the student chooses to teach in the summer as well).


All newly appointed teaching assistants attend a training program that prepares them for their teaching assignments. New and returning appointees must be present for a required planning and training period, and will be notified in writing when that training begins (usually mid-September). Training will include lectures by the faculty, filmed and live demonstrations of college language courses, practice readings, and the preparation of teaching and testing materials. Additionally, international students are required to attend the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) program, which covers cross-cultural communication, teaching strategies, and second language practice. All new teaching assistants in French will take French 590, Teaching Methods (3 credits), and FRENCH 590, Foreign Language Teaching Methodology (2 credits) in autumn quarter.

Income Tax Information

The Internal Revenue Service considers teaching assistant pay to be compensation for service rendered and therefore subject to federal tax without exclusion. Income taxes will be withheld from the pay at graduated rates. As long as teaching assistants fulfill the requirements of their appointments, and are enrolled at least half-time (5 credits), they qualify for exclusion from FICA (Social Security) taxes as students, and no FICA taxes are withheld.


UW/UAW Contract

Teaching assistants are classified as Academic Student Employee (ASE) and their employment is governed by a contract between the UW and GSEAC/UAW, to be found at the website Both the ASE and the University of Washington are bound by the terms of this contract, so it is important for students to familiarize themselves with its provisions prior to accepting appointment as an ASE. ASEs will be offered an opportuinty to join GSEAC/UAW and, as a member, will pay dues each pay period. If an ASE should choose not to become a member, the contract requires that the ASE pay a monthly service fee.

Health Benefits and Related Links

Teaching assistants are eligible for medical, dental, and vision benefits provided by the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan, administered by Welfare and Pension Administration Service, Inc. (WPAS). The University pays the full cost of student coverage for eligible TAs, and, if TAs decide to insure eligible dependents, the University pays a portion of the dependent coverage cost. A full description of the specific benefits and costs for the plan, including plan books, may be looked up on the Benefits web site.

Housing and Life in Seattle

Housing Options

Visiting Graduate Students are responsible for locating housing in the Seattle area. Listed below are some links which may help you navigate your housing options and learn more about our community.

Tourist Information