Teaching Assistants

About

The Department of Computer Science hires Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Assistants on a semesterly basis. Priority is given to students within Computer Science.

Undergraduate TAs are typically assigned at 10 hours/week at $14/hour. Students are allowed to serve as a TA in two courses, but requests must be approved by both instructors, the student's academic advisor, and senior CS department leadership. Graduate TAs are either assigned at 20 hours/week (full-time) or 10 hours/week (part-time).

Please note that the information provided here only applies to Teaching Assistants, and not Student Initiated Course (STIC) facilitators. If you are interested in teaching a STIC, please apply through the STIC website.

Eligibility

Undergraduate Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, undergraduate students must:

  • Have a cumulative GPA above 3.0
  • Have received at least an "A-" in the course to which they are assigned (or received explicit approval from the course instructor)
  • Have no other TA obligations in other departments.

Graduate Eligibility

Non-Native English Speaker’s English Proficiency Requirement

University policy (via the Maryland English Institute) requires that TAs who will be lecturing or otherwise taking on teaching duties have met their minimum requirements for English proficiency prior to being assigned as a teaching TA. 

The Department encourages all students who do not meet these requirements to attend the screening or provide test scores waiving the requirement.

The Graduate School pays for the initial screenings, but any late TA assignments can be scheduled and the department will pay for them to take the screening exam, provided their instructor intends to use them in a teaching role.

Requirements and Responsibilities

TA Training

As part of their offers, all first-time TAs (graduate and undergraduate) must undergo training. Failure to attend required training could count as a “strike” on their record and lead to disqualifying them from future TA offers.

Graduate TAs are required to sign up for the Teaching & Learning Transformation Center (TLTC) graduate TA orientation session. Failure to do so will count towards cause for disqualification from TA assignments.

Undergraduate TAs must attend training sessions held by the department early in the semester. All first-time undergraduate TAs will be invited to these sessions.

It is often necessary for faculty/instructors to meet with TAs a few days before classes begin to organize and coordinate logistical details as well as being available a few days after grades are filed to deal with grade appeals or extensions. Please be aware of this if you plan to apply to be an undergraduate TA. If you aren't able to be on campus a few days before the start of classes, you may not be able to be selected to be an undergraduate TA.

TA Duties

Teaching assistants work under the supervision of the instructor of the course. Responsibilities vary depending on the course and instructor but may include: distributing course materials, leading discussions, proctoring exams and quizzes, scoring exams and other class assignments, holding office hours, and entering grades in gradebooks. During working hours, teaching assistants are to conduct themselves in a professional manner and to abide by all campus workplace policies.

Teaching assistants who have concerns about their assigned duties and/or the workload going beyond the 10 hr/wk requirement should contact the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies mount [at] umd [dot] edu (Dave Mount).

TA Evaluations

At the end of the semester, TAs who lead their own discussion sections will be evaluated on their performance through CourseEvalUM. Instructor evaluations of TAs are used as part of ratings for continued eligibility.

Disqualification from TA Assignments

The department abides by the Graduate School’s policies for graduate assistantships. Per that policy, the department decides grounds for dismissal or non-renewal of assistantships.

TAs will be dismissed immediately only under extreme circumstances (i.e. prolonged absence or gross misconduct). 

Further justification for dismissal or discontinuation will be decided on by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies. Grounds for dismissal follow as such:

  1. Poor evaluation from assigned instructors
  2. Failure to arrive on-campus on time for assignment
  3. Failure to attend required trainings

TA Selection Process

Priority

Computer Science Department Staff are responsible for the selection and allocation of TAs. Assignments are made according to the following criteria:

  • First Priority: PhD students who have had 3 or fewer previous semesters as a TA
  • Second Priority: All other PhD students
  • Third Priority: Undergraduate and MS students

Notifications

While we understand that you are anxious to hear back regarding whether or not you were selected to be a TA for the upcoming semester, we ask that you DO NOT email the faculty/instructors directly. We have many well-qualified applicants and if you do not hear back regarding this semester, we encourage you to try again next semester

A first round of notifications are sent out first to Graduate students by July 15th for the fall semester and by November 20th for the spring semester. Students have two weeks to review their offer letters and accept or decline their assignment. Notifications will continue to go out until all positions are filled. Undergraduate TA assignments may go out in waves or on a rolling basis within this timeframe.

Hiring of undergraduate TAs depends on the staffing needed after graduate TAs are assigned to courses. Hiring of undergraduate TAs is done in consultation with instructors and the information provided in the TA application. TA assignments go out on a rolling basis beginning in mid-July (for the fall semester) or mid-November (for the spring semester), and run through early September (for the fall semester) or early February (for the spring semester). If you do not receive a TA assignment this semester, you will hear from us at the end of the schedule adjustment period and are encouraged to apply again next semester.

Students wishing to decline their TA (due to getting an RA or other opportunity) after initially accepting can be relieved of duty if they find a suitable substitute for the course (approved by the course instructor). Failure to find a replacement will disqualify them from future TA assignments.

 

Application Forms

To apply, select the appropriate application form below (requires valid UMD e-mail):

Undergraduate TA application

Graduate TA application

Contact

If you have any general questions about working as a Teaching Assistant, please contact thurst [at] umd [dot] edu (Tom Hurst), Assistant Director for Graduate Education.

If you are an Undergraduate TA and wish to go beyond the typical assignment of 10 hours/week (i.e. also facilitate a STIC or TA for more than one course), you must get approval as follows:

  1. Written permission from your academic advisor
  2. Permission from both instructors to serve in two courses in the same semester
  3. Forward these permissions to mount [at] umd [dot] edu (Dave Mount), Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies

If you need to report an incident or class concern, please contact the appropriate office.

If you do not receive a TA assignment and are interested in opportunities in the Department of Mathematics or MAGE, please contact the respective department: