Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistantships are provided from the general MIT teaching funds and are administered by the Department Head through the Teaching Assignments Committee. Teaching assistants are appointed by the Department. If you wish to hold a teaching assistantship for the following academic semester, you should respond with an application to the call for TAs emailed by the DMSE Academic Office, around May 15 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester. The number of teaching assistantships is limited.

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 may be made for the full Academic Year (Sept. 1 to May 31) or for either of the regular academic terms (Sept. 1 to Jan. 15 or Jan. 16 to May 31). 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, will need to 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 may 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. The subject number for Fall 2019 is 3.696.

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: student contact in laboratories, problem sessions, tutorials, and individual consultation; grading homework and examinations; attending lectures, recitations, and staff meetings; teaching recitations; 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 Students, and the TA Assignments Chair.

Teaching assistants receive a monthly stipend of $3361 (effective June 1, 2019) 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.

Teaching assistants may receive academic credit for their participation in a teaching program, depending on the nature of the involvement. The teaching assistant may register for such participation in teaching, a maximum credit of 12 units (Graduate G-level) towards the Master’s degree or 24 units toward the Engineer’s degree requirements may be allowed. All new teaching assistants are required to attend the TA workshop sponsored by the Dean of the Graduate Student Office. In addition, teaching assistants may be required to serve as aides at Commencement and assist in teaching activities in January.