Research and teaching assistants (RAs and TAs)

Teaching assistants and students designated Instructor-G help faculty members in grading, classroom and laboratory instruction, preparing apparatus or material for demonstrations, and conducting tutorials and discussion sections. Research assistants contribute to an Institute research program. In addition, some graduate students are supported by MIT administered fellowships, but also participate in research and teaching.

The Institute continues to develop guidelines and provides current information covering, but not limited to: training and resources; resolution of concerns and grievances; salaries; notification of renewal of funding; and tax status of salaries by category of support. For an overview of rights and responsibilities for teaching assistants, refer to the brochure TAs@MIT.

The monthly salaries recommended by the Academic Council for each assistantship category should be publicly announced in Institute publications as soon as the decision is made.

A department should notify a graduate student of any unexpected or unusual change in his or her funding status as soon as the change is known, particularly if funding might be terminated. The student should be notified of the type and amount of funding in question, and one of the following:

  • That the funding will not be renewed for the following term;
  • That the funding will be renewed if the student meets certain specified conditions; or
  • That the funding will be renewed if certain external conditions, such as contract funding, will be met.

If a fellowship or assistantship is not to be renewed, the reasons should be given.

All assistants are entitled to a clear description, from their faculty supervisor, of their responsibilities when they begin an assistantship, including a statement of expected workload. Full time teaching assistants should not be expected to do research unrelated to their theses, and full time research assistants should not be expected to assume substantial teaching duties. Thus, faculty should assign assistantship responsibilities so that students have time to study and prepare for their courses.

See also RA/TA appointments.