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Teaching at Brown

Teaching is an integral part of the doctoral student experience at Brown, and these students are expected to teach as part of their professional and scholarly training. As a teaching assistant (TA), the student is responsible for assisting faculty members both inside and outside the classroom on projects related to the instruction of a particular course. TAs do not bear primary responsibility for the course; rather, their role is to assist faculty as necessary.

The duties of a TA vary across courses and departments and may include:

  • some classroom experience
  • the presentation of occasional lectures
  • leading discussion sections
  • preparing and supervising labs 
  • conducting tutorials
  • holding office hours
  • grading papers, problem sets, quizzes, and examinations

Departments make every effort to assign graduate students to courses according to their interests, broadly defined; however, the need to cover courses and to broaden student teaching experiences may also affect teaching assignments. A TA  appointment usually requires 15 to 18 hours per week, but should not exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week over the course of the term.

Appointments are made on an annual or semester basis on the recommendation of the program. Double appointments are not allowed.

Teaching Fellows

A teaching assistant who is an advanced doctoral student with at least two years of teaching experience and is responsible for the design and instruction of their own course or is mentoring a team of Teaching Assistants in a large course (more than 300 enrolled students) may qualify to be appointed as a Teaching Fellow. Programs must provide justification when recommending that an advanced doctoral student be appointed as a Teaching Fellow on the Teaching Assistant appointment form.