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Teaching Assistants

Teaching is an integral part of the graduate experience at Brown, and most students are expected to teach as part of their professional training and scholarly apprenticeship. Typically, doctoral students will be assigned as teaching assistants (TAs) at some point in their graduate careers and will be responsible for assisting faculty members both inside and outside the classroom on projects related to the instruction of a particular course. Teaching Assistants 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 full 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.

A TA’s financial award includes a stipend, full tuition, a health-services fee, and health insurance. Appointments are made on an annual or semester basis on the recommendation of the program. Double appointments are not allowed.