Department of Psychology

Teaching Assistant Policy

There is no institution-wide policy in force for hiring undergraduate teaching assistants, but the university does have rules about the type of work that may be assigned to undergraduate assistants. Over time, the Department of Psychology has developed the following policy and priorities for maintaining the most qualified corps of graduate and undergraduate assistants:

  1. Positions for PSYC and NPSY courses are first assigned to predoctoral students in Psychology and Neuroscience who are still in residency, i.e. have not yet completed their teaching fellowship (TF) requirements.
  2. Any positions left open are then offered to Psychology PhD students in good standing who have completed their TF requirements, and who wish to serve as Graduate Course Assistants (CA), which are paid positions. Next, we would offer CA positions to PhD students in other departments, starting with Neuroscience.

3. If any open positions remain, these positions are offered, in order of priority: (Note: option c. is not for payment)

        a. Psychology PhD students still in residency who wish to teach a second course for pay

        b. Psychology MA students who wish to TA for pay.

        c. Undergraduate students who wish to serve as Peer Assistants for partial course credit. These students register for PEER 94a after meeting with the instructor to develop a written plan of responsibilities and mentoring, under guidelines of the Peer Assistantship Add Form (pdf).

4. Thereafter, we seek to hire Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTA) on a paid basis. However, a prerequisite for being hired is to have served as a Peer Assistant (PA) previously, preferably in a psychology course. (Exceptions have been made, in the past, such as cases in which the instructor is unable to find any student with previous experience as a peer assistant to help with the course, provided the suggested student comes highly recommended.)

For Advanced Graduate Students

The University Prize Instructorships (UPI), sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, offer the opportunity for graduate students to design and teach an undergraduate course in their field of research.

In order to compete for the prize, applicants must submit a written statement that explains the relationship between their course and their dissertation research as well as their proposed course’s detailed syllabus and evaluations as teaching fellows. Instructorships are awarded to exceptional doctoral candidates who have made substantial progress toward their degree.