The principal duties of a teaching assistant include, but are not limited to, assisting an instructor in classroom and laboratory teaching, preparing apparatus or material for demonstration, conducting tutorials and discussion sessions, holding office hours, counseling students, proctoring exams, maintaining course websites and monitoring discussion boards, and grading homework, quizzes, and exams.
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 MIT GSU and MIT Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Graduate students holding TA and IG appointments must register as full time regular students and are charged full tuition during the period of appointment. The TA or IG appointment comprises a salary as well as tuition remission (except in certain cases) which is credited directly to the student’s account. Teaching assistants and Instructors-G are compensated on the basis of the time devoted to teaching activities. A 100% graduate 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 or Instructor-G appointment requires no more than 20 hours of work per week on average over the appointment period. 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.
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 salary. Tuition payments can be held until the form is completed.
For additional information about RA appointments, please see the MIT-GSU Collective Bargaining Agreement. In the event of any conflict between this webpage and the CBA, the CBA governs.