What is a Teaching Assistant?
A teaching assistant (TA) serves as an apprentice under the active supervision of the faculty member who is the instructor of record for a course. TA appointments in the School of Engineering are granted on a semester-by-semester basis, and reappointment is not automatic. If you are appointed at half time (50 percent), you can be expected to work 16–20 hours per week during instructional and examination periods, including time spent in preparation, classroom and laboratory teaching, office consultation and reading/grading student assignments.
TAs are obligated to inform their supervisors when they first perceive that their assignments might exceed the assigned workload maximum for their appointments. At no time should a TA continue to work beyond eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
General TA Qualifications
- Academic standing for employment eligibility: Each TA must be in good academic standing (i.e., must not be on academic probation or have had his or her degree candidacy lapse), have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, and have no more than two Incomplete grades in upper division and graduate courses on the transcript. For more information about employment eligibility, please click here
- Registration and enrollment: Each appointee must be registered and enrolled in at least 12 units of course work.
- Graduate standing: Each appointee must be a UC graduate student.
- Oral English proficiency: Any students who does not speak English as a native language and does not hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in the United States must demonstrate oral English proficiency to be appointed as a TA. For students with valid TOEFL iBT scores, English language proficiency is determined through the speaking section score of the TOEFL iBT. Any student without a passing TOEFL iBT score must have English language competence approved through the English Language Institute in the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL). The CETL provides or arranges for on-site evaluations of students who are already in residence as well as telephone evaluations of prospective admits to graduate programs.
- New TA orientation: Each person whose TA appointment is also his or her first assignment must attend New TA Orientation sponsored by the CETL.
Applying to be a TA
Only UC graduate students are eligible to work as teaching assistants at the UC. We suggest that each incoming graduate student, regardless of funding type, apply for a TA position. If you are appointed for a TA position our office will contact you. Positions are limited and completing an application will not guarantee a TA position.
Procedures for incoming and continuing students
- Submit application at AP Recruit.
- In your cover letter, include up to five courses that you are most qualified to teach.
- Register for classes. Each student must be registered for 12 units to be eligible for TA assignments for fall or spring. Registration is not required for summer. Failure to register by the priority deadline may result in loss of TA funding.
- Return the signature page of your Academic Student Employee: Description of Duties Form Appendix “C” (priority deadline is one week from date on the form).
- Check your own course schedule for timing conflicts with your TA assignments before returning the signature page. Contact your school immediately to report time conflicts. While we will try to resolve conflicts that are reported in a timely manner, additional assignments are not guaranteed. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Benefits for TAs
As a teaching assistant, you are entitled to receive the following benefits during the term that you are employed:
- Partial fee remissions - A partial fee remission is for (TAs) working 25 percent or more time, and GSRs working 24 percent or more time. This type of remission is equal to the amount assessed on your fee bill for tuition, the Student Services Fee, and the Health Insurance Fee (if you have not had the health insurance requirement waived by University Health Services). A partial fee remission does not include campus-based fees (i.e. health services, transportation, student life, Graduate Student Association, recreation and Early Childhood Education Center). Currently, non-resident supplemental tuition is covered for PhD students if they are eligible for partial fee remissions.
- Childcare reimbursement