Teaching and Research Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships | Research Assistantships | Terms of Appointments | Support Limits

Teaching Assistantships

Normal duties of a TA involve the instruction of laboratory and homework recitation sections of undergraduate courses. Teaching Assistants are also requested to tutor, grade, and occasionally give lectures. The TA appointee is supervised by the faculty member who lectures and manages the course.

Appointments vary in length, depending on the source of funding and the nature of the work.

International Students
Teaching Assistantships may be held by foreign nationals whose native language is not English only if they meet the requirements detailed in UW Graduate School Memorandum 15, “Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English”

TA selections are made at the start of each quarter by the Department according to the specific requirements of the faculty and the course offerings that quarter. There is no general expectation that a TA appointment will continue more than one quarter. The general policy is that long-time and PhD level students should not expect to be continually supported with TA positions, but instead should become associated with some particular faculty member and be supported as an RA under his or her grants.

Research Assistantships

Research Assistants serve directly on research projects managed by faculty members. They perform a variety of tasks, from running experiments and analyzing data, to developing and performing computational analyses and writing reports. Applicants who wish to begin an RA as early as possible should contact faculty members in their interest areas before they enter the program. It is the student-faculty contact and negotiation that leads to most RA appointments.

Some graduate students enter the program as Teaching Assistants, learn about the program and its faculty, and then in the second or third quarter of study are hired into an RA position. RA positions are generally offered to PhD students and MS students whose ultimate degree goal is a PhD. Students pursuing a terminal master’s degree (non-thesis MSAA or MAE) may be considered for TA positions.

Appointments vary in length, depending on the source of funding and the nature of the work.

All RA selections are made by the individual faculty members whose grants and contracts have funds for those positions, and are generally offered to students who intend to pursue a PhD.

Terms of Appointment

TA and RA positions involve 20 hours of work per week; assistantships are typically considered 50%-time appointments.

The monthly salary varies depending on the degree level and status. For the 2011-12 academic year, the monthly 50%-time starting salary is $1,525 for TA's and $1,845 for RA's.

The appointee’s insurance is covered by the University; the appointee receives a waiver of tuition, but is responsible for nominal quarterly fees of approximately $250.

RA's and TA's at the UW are covered under the UW/UAW Union Contract.

Financial Support Limits

Master’s students can be supported with an assistantship for a maximum of 2.5 years.

Postmaster’s students have a maximum limit of 6 years of financial support in the form of RA's or TA's.