TA and student studying

Many GSAS students teach undergraduates during their time at Brandeis.

There are four types of positions:

  1. Teaching Fellow (TF): This is a PhD student serving as the instructor of record for a course. TFs are union-eligible positions and work up to an average of 14 hours per week.

  2. Teaching Assistant (TA): This is a PhD student serving in a teaching support role for a course. TAs are union-eligible positions and are expected to work up to an average of 10 hours per week.

  3. Course Assistant (CA): This is a master’s or postbaccalaureate student serving in a teaching support role for a course. CAs are expected to work up to an average of 10 hours per week. 

  4. Grader: This is a PhD, master’s, or postbaccalaureate student serving in a non-student facing course support role for a course. Graders are not union-eligible positions and are expected to work up to an average of 8 hours per week. 

TA with studentPrograms and departments assign TA, CA, and Grader positions as they are available each semester. If you’re interested in teaching opportunities within a program or department, please contact your Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Chair of the Department/Program.

Additionally, at the beginning of each academic year, GSAS will announce an opportunity for graduate students to sign up to be considered for additional positions, within and outside of their departments. This candidate list will then be circulated to departments who are looking to hire TAs, CAs and Graders. If hired into these positions, some students are eligible for tuition waivers as outlined here.

Union Membership

All PhD students are members of the Graduate Assistant Union, SEIU Local 509, when they work as Teaching Assistants or Teaching Fellows. The definitions of each role are included below. 

Teaching Assistant. Teaching Assistant duties may include, but are not limited to, assisting the professor with: course preparation before and during the semester; Latte maintenance; grading essays, exams, and homework; syllabus design; writing exam questions. Teaching Assistants may be required to attend classes on a regular basis. Teaching Assistants may also be responsible for some instructional duties, including the following: lead discussion sessions, labs and recitations and/or teach an occasional class. They may also be responsible for some student advising and may be required to hold office hours. Teaching Assistants are required to complete Title IX training. 

Teaching Fellow. Teaching Fellows, with Program and faculty leadership and oversight, are the Instructor of Record and are responsible for lesson planning and implementation, administration and grading of assessment tools, student advising and holding office hours. Teaching Fellows are required to complete Title IX training. 

As a result, PhD students cannot be hired as Teaching Assistants except through the union role, and using the negotiated rate of pay, which is paid via stipend. PhD students, regardless of where they are in their programs, are not eligible to be hired into hourly Teaching Assistant positions at the university. Roles other than Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows, such as Graders, Research Assistants and Course Assistants, remain non-union roles. If you have questions about this policy, please contact Liz Tierney (etierney@brandeis.edu).

1.5, 1.0, .75, and .5 Teaching Assistant positions all follow the definition above; the only difference is the average number of work hours required per week.

University Prize Instructorships

Administered and funded by GSAS, the University Prize Instructorships award a $7,500 stipend to students to design and teach upper-division courses in their field of research. Instructorships (up to six per year) are awarded to doctoral candidates who have completed all program and teaching requirements except defending their dissertations (i.e. are ABD). Some departments also award Departmental Prize Instructorships--consult with your Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for more information. 

University Writing Program

student and teacher in writing centerThe University Writing Program, the heart of the writing community at Brandeis, provides support for writing and other forms of interactive and experiential communication. PhD students are often hired as Teaching Fellows (TFs) to be the instructor of record for a University Writing Seminar (UWS). The UWS course, which all undergraduate students complete during their first year, emphasizes writing as a means of thinking, exploring and understanding. It also makes transparent differences in conventions in the disciplines so that students can apply their writing skills to courses in their major and beyond. Please contact UWP@brandeis.edu for more information on how to apply to teach a UWS course.

Brandeis Summer School

The Brandeis Summer School offers on-campus courses in two five-week summer sessions and online courses that span the full ten weeks. Contact your DGS or program chair about the department’s curricular plan to offer summer courses in your discipline.