Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars

Professional Communication ProgramAs a professional development resource for international graduate students, teachers, and scholars, we offer programming and individual consultations on:

  • Speaking and presentation skills;
  • English language proficiency;
  • Teaching and learning in Harvard classrooms; and
  • Intercultural communication.

We support international graduate students and scholars at every stage: from entering GSAS students pursuing the summer Professional Communication Program for New International Scholars, to new graduate students who want to prepare to teach or improve their language skills to meet the GSAS Oral English Language requirement, to more experienced graduate students and scholars who want to enhance their classroom teaching or refine their public speaking skills to communicate their research.

Seminars and Workshops

ITF SeminarWe offer a range of Bok Seminars focusing on language, the culture of the classroom, and professional communication specific to the needs of international teachers and scholars. Our seminars for international TFs range from full-semester courses designed for students who have not yet met the GSAS Oral English Language requirement, to short seminars focused on other skills useful to international scholars including pronunciation, public speaking, and oral grammar and coherence. For help determining the seminar most appropriate to your needs, contact Sarah Emory.

Full-term seminars:

6-week Seminars:

Visit the Communication & Language section of the Bok Seminars page to see our offerings

Individual Consultations

ITF PaulineThe Bok Center provides individual consultations for international faculty, graduate students, and scholars who want to improve their teaching, speaking, or presentation skills.

Contact Pamela Pollock to schedule a consultation

Undergraduate Consultants

Culture and Communication Consultants are hired and trained so they can give international graduate students an undergraduate perspective on issues related to teaching and academic life at Harvard. They work as course assistants in Bok Seminars to give feedback on both teaching and language skills and are also available for one-on-one discussion, teaching, and language practice.

Meet the current Undergraduate Consultants
Check out the Undergraduate Culture and Communication Newsletter
Access our Handbook for International TFs and Undergraduate Consultants
Apply to be an Undergraduate Consultant

Language Assessment


We provide English language proficiency interviews (OPIs) for non-native English speaking faculty and graduate students at all stages of their academic careers. For those seeking feedback or advice on their English speaking skills, the interview provides a holistic assessment, enables speakers to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and informs strategies that could be used to build proficiency. These strategies are relevant to contexts from small talk and networking to lecturing and giving formal presentations. The interview also allows us to suggest the most relevant Bok Seminars, workshops, or other resources.

Our program works with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) on the administration of the GSAS Oral English Language Requirement. Incoming G1 students with TOEFL speaking scores lower than 26 take an OPI during their first semester of study.

Students who have not met the language requirement should take an oral communications skills course, and the Bok Center can recommend the best option based on a student's specific case. After completing a semester-long course, students are eligible to be re-screened to determine whether they have met the requirement. Screenings are offered at the end of each term in December, May, and August. Many students target language development by taking the Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs course as it is designed to help international graduate students develop the oral communication skills necessary to be successful in their graduate programs, with a particular emphasis on skills necessary for teaching in the Harvard classroom.

About Us

News for International Teachers and Scholars

Check out our TF Handbook!

Hit the Ground RunningThe Bok Center's Hit the Ground Running is a great place to start when you have questions about who your students are, their expectations of their Teaching Fellows, how to create an inclusive classroom, how to structure a lesson plan, and much more! Read it online, or stop by the Bok Center to pick up a hard copy. Copies are distributed at the Fall Teaching Conference and Winter Teaching Week.