Teaching Assistants

A limited number of teaching assistantships are administered by the Department Head and the Teaching Assignments Committee. The DMSE Academic Office will announce openings for the following semester and accept applications around May 15 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester.

A teaching assistant is an employee of the Institute and is expected to devote full time to teaching and research with the exception of time spent in scheduled lecture or laboratory classes for which the student is registered. The teaching assistantship appointees observe normal Institute holidays and are entitled to two weeks of vacation with pay if their appointments are for the full calendar year. The vacation schedules must be approved by their supervisors.

Appointments are made on a term-by-term basis. Teaching assistants must be regularly enrolled students pursuing advanced degrees, and all appointments are contingent on being a graduate student in good standing during the period of appointment.  All appointees, whether U.S. citizens or not, must present evidence of employability meeting current Immigration Service requirements. Teaching assistants may also be asked by the Student Financial Aid Office to provide information about financial need, in an attempt to secure College Work Study Program funds for the Institute.

Full-time teaching assistantships carry a stipend and health insurance and are accompanied by full tuition scholarships.  Any required fees are to be paid by the student.

Teaching assistants register for a maximum of 27 units of academic credit per academic semester, including thesis credit (3.THG). Teaching assistants receive letter grade academic credit for their participation in a teaching program. They must register for 12 units of “Teaching Materials Science and Engineering” (Subjects: 3.693-3.699), in addition to the 27 units mentioned above. 

Teaching assistants must not be registered for the subject to which they are assigned as a TA.

Teaching assistant responsibilities may include any or all of the following: attending lectures, recitations, and staff meetings; leading recitations, laboratory sessions, tutorials, office hours, and review sessions; grading homework and examinations; preparing homework problems and laboratory experiments; and individual study of course material. Teaching assistants must be available for duties in the subject to which they are assigned throughout the period of their appointment. They are also expected to be available for proctoring examinations and grading papers after the end of scheduled classes.

A teaching assistant usually finds that teaching duties and studies leave no time for other employment.  If, for some compelling reason, it is necessary to consider an additional obligation, explicit permission must be obtained in advance from the teaching assistant's subject supervisor(s), thesis supervisor (if applicable at the time of the TA), the chair of the Department Committee on Graduate Studies, and the Teaching Assignments Chair.

Teaching assistants receive a monthly stipend of $3570 (effective June 1, 2021) and support for tuition and health insurance.This salary is somewhat larger than that of a research assistant because teaching duties will not allow the student to advance at quite as fast a pace as either a research assistant or fellowship holder.