Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Teaching Assistant Appointment Guidelines

Graduate Teaching Assistant Appointment/Reappointment Guidelines

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Last Updated: 02/22/24

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EaES) provides financial support to most students in the form of a research assistantship (RA) or teaching assistantship (TA). Awarding of support as an RA depends on the financial resources of a student’s advisor and is at the advisor’s discretion. The Department does not typically support students with a graduate assistantship (GA). These guidelines are pertinent to the process by which we assign TAs, and would also apply to assignment of GAs, if available.

Our policy is to support a student who is performing well in coursework (i.e., maintaining a B average) and making progress on research until the degree is completed up to a maximum of two years if matriculated into the Masters program and five years if matriculated into the PhD program. Any such support depends on availability of funding resources. Support beyond these periods in any form depends on the student’s performance, consultation of the Director of Graduate Studies with the full faculty, the student’s advisor, and the availability of funding.

The department typically provides 9-month TA appointments to all incoming (first-year) students in the fall semester. As needed, additional 9-month TA appointments will be made to M.S. students in their second year or Ph.D. students in their second through fifth years to meet a total of 30% of all such employed students. Criteria for the additional 9-month TA appointments may include one or more of the following: an anticipated spring defense and spring or summer graduation, satisfactory performance in previous assistantship appointments, and satisfactory progress in research.

The Department will provide prospective TAs with a form that contains general descriptions of anticipated positions that include FTE percentages via email no later than 60 days before the start of the next semester. On the form, students can indicate their ranked preference of assignment (preferred courses, preferred scheduling). The form will include a link to these guidelines. Students must return the form by the indicated deadline.

Eligibility for specific course assignments may be enhanced by the following:

  • A student’s preferences
  • Matching of the student’s own course schedule with the TA assignment course schedule
  • A student’s academic record
  • Previous teaching experience for a specific course vs. need for professional development
  • Previous job performance as a TA
  • Previous experience within or outside the university
  • Level of advancement within the MS or PhD program

Syllabi for lab sections of lecture courses, which are the Department’s typical TA assignment, will be provided by the instructor of record for each course or by the EaES Coordinator of Undergraduate Labs.

EaES typically does not offer summer courses. If EaES anticipates offering a summer course, a tentative TA assignment may be made either to teach a lab section or to be the instructor of record. The tentative nature of the assignment will be communicated to the prospective TA in writing with a reminder that a summer appointment is only guaranteed after an appointment letter is received and signed. If the assignment is to be the instructor of record, example syllabi will be provided to the TA. The TA will be permitted to modify the syllabus in consultation with faculty who have previously taught the course.

If the Department has one or more anticipated GA positions, a similar process will be followed as for the anticipated TA positions. Assignment of the GA position will be in written form that includes details about expectations, flexibility regarding scheduling, work sites, and considerations for accessibility.