Teaching Assistant Opportunities
Applications are now closed . Winter 2017 applications will open in November.
The ECE department at PSU is a relatively large department with many undergraduate classes that require help from Teaching Assistants. Teaching Assistants are selected by faculty to help with lectures, labs, and grading.
Applications for Teaching Assistantships are accepted during an open application period in the preceding term. When applications open, it will be announced to all registered graduate students via email and linked at the top of this page.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What are my chances of getting a TA position and is there some way to improve them?
Your chances depend on a number of factors:
- Ph.D. students get priority over M.S. students
- Master's students with one year of graduate study completed get priority over newer graduate students
- GPA has to be good (the higher it is, the better).
- Communication skills have to be above average (and this includes oral as well as written skills).
Q: What is the stipend associated with a TA position?
Most TA appointments for the 2015-2016 academic year will be a 0.30 FTE assignment. TAs with a 0.30 FTE assignment can expect to receive a $3,000 tuition remission and a $2,892 stipend.
Q: How much tuition is covered by the remission?
It depends. Tuition varies depending on the number of credits a student is taking - a detailed explanation of tuition and fees is available here.
For example, a student taking 9 credits with a 0.30 FTE appointment, will receive a $3,000 tuition remission. The tuition cost of 9 credits for a resident, engineering, graduate student is $3,654. As outlined in the Graduate Tuition Remission Policy, graduate assistants are responsible for student fees and health insurance.
Q: How do I apply for a TA position?
TA applications are submitted online. When the applications are open, they will be announced and linked at the top of this page.
Q: What happens to my application after I submit it?
The data is collected and distributed to all faculty who can then request specific students to be TAs for the courses they teach. Prospective TAs will be asked to verify by email whether they are able and willing to accept an assignment. Once the decision has been made, electronic offers are sent out and TAs are expected to accept them.
Q: I ran into financial problems and I really need to get a Teaching Assistantship.
TAs are given on the basis of performance, not need. This is simply not something that we take into account when TAs are assigned.
Responsibilities and Expectations
TAs must show up during the first week of classes even if, for example, there are no labs scheduled during that week. If a TA misses these meetings or in some other way does not carry out TA duties, he/she may be removed from a TA assignment and that position assigned to someone else.
The TA's job is a difficult one, and one that is very important for the proper functioning of the department. TAs are at the "front line" of interacting with our students and they are representatives of the ECE department. If they do a good job that reflects well on the department; if they don't, students may remember that for a very long time and it reflects poorly on us.
If a TA does a good job in his/her assignments then that is usually a very nice spring board for careers in academia where some teaching experience is usually expected. Our best TAs can over time become adjunct instructors in the department.
We hope that you will truly enjoy this opportunity to learn and help others learn.