Graduate Policies & Procedures

Instructor-G and teaching assistants

The duties of a teaching assistant include assisting a faculty member in grading undergraduate homework and quizzes, instruction in the classroom and laboratory, preparing apparatus or material for demonstrations, posting web-based materials, and conducting tutorials and discussion sections.

MIT appoints a significant number of graduate students each year as part time or full time instructors or teaching assistants (TAs). Many students enjoy the new perspectives afforded by a teaching appointment and find that it provides invaluable experience in preparation for a career in university teaching. The Institute offers a prize each year, the Goodwin Medal, for “conspicuously effective teaching” by a graduate student.

Graduate students with considerable teaching experience may receive Instructor-G appointments. These appointments are given only to more advanced students of proven teaching ability. The rate of compensation for teaching assistants is determined by the Dean of the School within guidelines approved by the Academic Council.

Graduate students holding teaching assistant appointments must register as full time resident students and are charged full tuition during the period of appointment. The TA appointment comprises a monthly stipend as well as a tuition scholarship which is credited directly to the student’s account. Teaching Assistants are compensated on the basis of the time devoted to teaching activities. A 100% graduate TA appointment typically includes payment of full tuition for the period of the appointment. Tuition coverage for some professional master’s degree programs may vary; all students should check with their program office to confirm the terms of their appointment. Partial appointments (for effort less than 100%) are also possible, and are frequently used to supplement outside fellowships, scholarships, or research assistantships. Students who receive financial support from multiple resources must do so in accordance with Institute and department guidelines. A 100% teaching assistantship requires no more than 20 hours of work per week. MIT recognizes that graduate students may spend additional time conducting research in support of their academic studies. International Students considering a TA appointment should review information regarding on-campus work: http://web.mit.edu/iso/immigration/emp_campus.shtml.

Upon admission to an MIT graduate program, all teaching assistants who are US citizens or permanent residents are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Held in strict confidence within Student Financial Services, the information on the FAFSA is used to determine whether or not MIT may use federal funds from the Federal Work-Study Program to pay the teaching assistant’s stipend. Tuition payments can be held until the form is completed.

See also Appointments to teaching and research staffs.