Courses of 3-5 units with one instructor and 20 or more students warrant one 25% course assistant (CA). If the duties include leading discussion sections in addition to grading, the appointment will be as a teaching assistant (TA). Courses of about 40 students can generally expect two CA’s, and so forth. Courses that meet those criteria are normally approved for a CA/TA.
Cross-listed courses: A number of GSE courses are listed in Education and in another department(s). Students in the course register under either listing. It is expected that courses with high enrollments in the non-GSE listing (or section) of the course will not automatically receive CA/TA funding from the GSE unless an agreement is made with the department that “owns” the course. Cost-sharing between departments or schools occurs by agreement made with the faculty member, the Assistant Dean of Academic Services, and the Administrator of the other department.
Special cases and exceptions: Under exceptional circumstances, courses that do not meet the above criteria may be approved for CA or TA positions by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Examples of exceptions include special instructional needs for a class (special pedagogy, or extensive student work to give feedback on, etc.). Other factors that play into a decision for an exception are availability of funding, course enrollments (past and present), and equity across faculty and areas.
GSE doctoral students within their guaranteed funding periods (normally in years one through five) receive priority for TA and CA positions. Instructors who want to hire a GSE student who is beyond his/her fifth year in the doctoral program need to make a case, as early as possible to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, indicating the reasons this particular advanced student is the only qualified person available to fill the position.
In addition, GSE doctoral students receive first hiring priority for GSE course and teaching assistantships over non-GSE students. Graduate students from other schools or departments may be hired as a CA or TA for a School of Education course in rare circumstances provided that all eligible GSE students are fully-supported on other teaching or sponsored (i.e., not base budget) research assistantships.
Students must be in good academic standing. Students on full graduate support from an alternate source may not receive additional paid CA or TA appointments:
- unless other assistantships held by the student are reduced in order to accommodate the CA or TA position up to the maximum 50% total level for all appointments per student in a given quarter, OR
- in cases of full fellowship funding from non-GSE sources (e.g., SGF, NSF), a maximum of one paid 25% course, teaching, or research assistantship may be added to the student’s funding package per academic year without reducing the fellowship support. Students should consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer for more information.
Types of Appointments
There are 3 types of student appointments:
Course Assistant (CA): A CA helps with course preparation and grading, holds office hours, maintains course websites, and may give an occasional presentation and meet with students. CAs do not receive University course evaluations. Only TAs associated with individual discussion sections will receive University course evaluations, not CAs.
Teaching Assistant (TA): A TA has significantly more independence and responsibility than a CA. A TA leads one or more regularly scheduled discussion sections and holds office hours. The faculty member is the primary course instructor and awards grades. A TA receives TA course evaluations from the University for her or his section(s).
Teaching Affiliate (TF): A TF is an advanced graduate student with substantial teaching experience and has full responsibility to deliver a course under the mentorship of a faculty member. A TF awards the final grade and is listed as the primary instructor for the course. A TF may be assigned a TA or a CA if the course is eligible. A TF receives instructor course evaluations from the University. TFs are usually hired to teach required or popular GSE courses when a faculty member is on sabbatical.
All positions are part of the University permanent records. Names of TAs and TFs are part of the University’s course files, whereas names of CAs, TAs, and TFs are part of the graduate financial support records and the School of Education course records.
Course Scheduling Considerations
Faculty members must ensure that their courses are setup as “lectures” in order to allow for the addition of discussion sections and the appointment of teaching assistants (TAs). Courses that are not setup as lectures (i.e, seminars or workshops) may not have discussion sections nor can they receive TAs. Only course assistants may be appointed to non-lecture courses. Faculty or staff can consult with the GSE Course Administrator on the University deadlines to setup courses. The deadline is usually in the Spring Quarter of the prior academic year.
All international students must pass an English proficiency screening before being appointed to any teaching position (i.e., course and teaching assistants and teaching fellows/affiliates). Students in this situation who wish to work in a teaching position must contact the English for Foreign Students Office to arrange a English screening. http://www.stanford.edu/group/efs/tascreen.html
This must occur before the start of the quarter in which the teaching appointment will take place, otherwise the appointment and/or paychecks may be delayed.
Other Administrative Matters
Course and teaching assistantships are a form of graduate financial support. The student receives salary in addition to tuition support. As such, University policy prohibits hiring students for CA or TA work through clerical hourly positions (“casual employees”). All CA and TA appointments are processed as graduate aid through Academic Services in the University’s Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system. The appointment is part of the student’s funding package, which does not exceed the equivalent of 50% time per quarter (i.e., 20 hours per week). Students who wish to add a CA or TA-ship to their existing 50% support must discuss a reduction in their other commitments with their Principal Investigator and the Assistant Dean of Academic Services in order to accommodate the additional CA or TA-ship beyond the 50% level, during the regular academic year. Students cannot exceed the 50% assistantship level when enrolled in 8 or more units. (See the “Summer Support” section below for exceptions during Summer Quarter.)
The appropriate assistantship appointment form must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer in Academic Services at least 5 weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter in order to initiate the hiring of a CA/TA/TF. Check with Academic Services for specific deadlines.
The University monitors faculty teaching loads, class sizes, and TA use on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important that all course and teaching activity is documented for all students.
Instructors & TA Positions
Campus Departments and Programs
A number of Stanford departments and programs sometimes recruit from other departments to fill TA positions for certain courses. Below is a list of some of these participating departments. Since it’s not exhaustive, however, try reaching out to other departments and programs that fit your teaching interests and learn about their possible TA opportunities.
BIO 41: Genetics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology
BIO 42: Cell Biology and Physiology
BIO 43: Plant Biology, Evolution, and Ecology
Computer Science Department actively recruits TAs from other departments. To receive announcements about TA opportunities, graduate students can subscribe to the CS CA-ships mailing list http://cs.stanford.edu/academics/prospective-cas/application-and-timeline
Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies:
FEMGEN 101: Introduction to Feminist Studies
The Program in Science, Technology, and Society:
STS 1: The Public Life of Science and Technology
STS 200: senior capstone series courses
Program on Urban Studies:
URBANST 110: Utopia and Reality: Introduction to Urban Studies
URBANST 202: Preparation for Senior Research
URBANST 203: Senior Seminar
Urban Studies typically recruits TAs from Sociology, but there may be opportunities for students from other departments. The program seeks TAs with an interest and background in urban issues, generally from a social science perspective.
Extra-Departmental Stanford Teaching Positions
CCNY-Stanford Humanities Exchange sends Stanford PhD students to teach City College of New York (CCNY) undergraduates in New York City during the fall, and in exchange, CCNY undergraduates visit Stanford for an intensive research experience over the summer.
Stanford Continuing Studies offers courses to the community outside of Stanford for pleasure, personal enrichment, and professional development. Stanford faculty and academic staff often instruct the courses, though opportunities may be available for graduate students with a deep and demonstrated background in the field they are looking to teach.
Hope House Scholars Program is a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for women. During the summer, graduate students have the opportunity to teach a four-week course in the humanities to the residents of Hope House.
Leland Scholars Program (LSP) is a Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) initiative aimed at supporting the transition to Stanford for a select group of incoming freshmen who may be the first in their family to attend college and/or are from underresourced schools or communities. Each year, the program hires two Resident Director/Teaching Assistant, a unique graduate student position, which combines a four week summer live-in residential role with a two-quarter 10% teaching assistant assignment for a one unit LSP seminar in Autumn and Winter. Applications are typically due in early March.
Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies hires graduate students as instructors and TAs for its many summer programs as well as for residential and support positions.
Student Initiated Courses (SIC) is an ASSU organization that invites students, both undergraduate and graduate, to share their knowledge and expertise by designing and teaching 1- and 2-unit courses.
Teaching Opportunities in Single Session Classes
Biocore Explorations provides Stanford graduate students and post-doctoral fellows the unique opportunity to develop and teach a one-time course to Stanford undergraduates, allowing for pedagogical development and the chance to share your research (or other science topic) with the motivated undergraduates.
Splash! brings high school and middle school students to Stanford’s campus for a two-day learning extravaganza. Stanford undergraduates, graduate students, and other community members teach classes.
Tutoring & Mentoring Opportunities
Athletic Academic Resource Center (AARC) Tutoring hires graduate students to work as tutors at drop-in and group sessions for a range of courses, typically introductory biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, math, physics, and statistics.
Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) Student Jobs for grad students include language conversation partners, tutor, resident computer consultant, and more.
VPTL Graduate Student Consultants and MinTs use their passion for good teaching to coach other grad students in their teaching. Though consultants are expected to already have teaching experience, the position provides an opportunity to help others with their teaching as well as to offer workshops on teaching at TA orientations and throughout the year.
Education Partnerships, Haas Center for Public Service promote educational equity in local communities by engaging Stanford students and community youth in mentoring and tutoring relationships.
Stanford High School Summer College offers residential and non-residential summer employment options for undergraduate, recent graduates, and graduate students. Residential positions include: mentor, head mentor, house director, and activities director. Tutor positions are non-residential, and include: tutor positions, program director, assistant director, and program coordinator.
Stanford Science Bus is an after-school science program for 2nd through 5th-grade children. Volunteer graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford University help develop and teach the program.
Hume Center for Writing and Speaking hires graduate students from all disciplines to work as writing and oral communication tutors.
CCNY-Stanford Humanities Exchange hires Stanford graduate students to support the individual research projects of City College of New York (CCNY) participants at Stanford during an 8-week summer program. Graduate students serve as tutors/mentors and provide general writing and research advice.
Language and Orientation Tutoring Program (LOT) matches international graduate students with graduate student tutors. Tutors work with students individually or in groups to practice conversation skills, practice presentations, work on writing abstracts or grant proposals, and discuss questions about American university culture.
Other Teaching-Related Opportunities at Stanford
STEP Program - The Stanford Teacher Education Program at the Graduate School of Education has a number of programs for preparing future teacher leaders.
Preparing Future Professors: Stanford-SJSU Shadowing Program explores faculty life at a comprehensive, teaching-focused university. Stanford students are paired with SJSU professors, whom they shadow weekly.
Thinking Matters Fellowship offers an opportunity for recent recipients of doctoral degrees to teach in an innovative liberal education program with a cohort of like-minded colleagues from a wide variety of different disciplines.
Sophomore College (SoCo) is a 3-week immersive learning experience for Stanford undergraduates before the start of Autumn Quarter. The program hires SoCo Course Assistants (SCAs) to live with their students, either in the Sophomore College residence halls or on the off-campus trips, to foster collaborative and experiential learning. All seminars have two SCAs, selected by the faculty, who fulfill the roles of TA, RA, and class leaders. Positions are open to graduate and undergraduate students. Read SCA application information.
Non-Stanford Affiliated Teaching & Tutoring Opportunities
Community Colleges may offer teaching opportunities on a course-by-course basis for graduate students with Master’s degrees.
Prison University Project (PUP) aims to provide excellent higher education programs to people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison; to create a replicable model for such programs, and to stimulates public awareness and meaningful dialogue about higher education and criminal justice in California. The program offers approximately 20+ classes per semester, three semesters per year, with a team of over 100 volunteer instructors, teaching assistants, and tutors.
Advanced Authentic Research Program offers opportunities for graduate students in all disciplines to mentor Palo Alto Unified School District high school students (grades 10-12) as they investigate an authentic research topic of their choosing. Interested graduate students can complete the “Become a Mentor” form.
RISE Summer High School Internship is an intensive 7-week program for local low-income Bay Area students interested in science, engineering, math, computer science, or psychology. Interns spend 30 hours a week on the Stanford campus, working in an active research lab under the guidance of a mentor from the lab. Volunteer graduate students and post docs mentor interns in their lab throughout the summer. If you are interested in hosting an intern over the summer, please email Maiken Bruhis, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future Advancers of Science and Technology (FAST) sends Stanford University graduate students to mentor students from Andrew Hill High School, helping them achieve their goals of answering open questions in science and engineering clever solutions to problems in their society. To get involved as a mentor, please contact Cooper Galvin, email@example.com.