Teaching and Research Appointments

Each year about 500 teaching appointments for graduate students are allocated to departments offering graduate degrees in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences to assist in undergraduate instruction in Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and in the College of General Studies. In addition to financial support, these appointments provide teaching experience and further professional development.

In recognition of academic merit, the University of Pittsburgh offers teaching assistants (TAs), teaching fellows (TFs), graduate student assistants (GSAs), and graduate student researchers (GSRs) full or proportional tuition scholarships. Students are required to register for the number of credits proportional to the appointment. If appointed in the summer term, students should register for a minimum of three credits (or "Full-time Dissertation Study" if eligible), unless additional registration is needed for academic purposes. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in order to qualify for teaching and graduate student assistant appointments/reappointments.

The University provides individual medical insurance coverage for TAs/TFs/GSAs and GSRs. Such students can also purchase family coverage (for spouse and/or dependent children) by paying the difference between the premium costs for the individual option and the family option.

The University's policy concerning teaching assistants and teaching fellows, dealing with appointments, reappointments, terminations, benefits, and responsibilities, is contained in the University TA/TF/GSA Policy Statement, which is sent to all new teaching assistants. Students should refer to this policy statement for information on how and when FICA (Social Security) tax will be withheld from the salaries of TA/TF/GSAs. The University's policy concerning graduate student researchers is contained in the University GSR Policy Statement, which is sent to all new GSRs. 

Teaching Assistants (TA)

Qualified (full graduate status) first-year graduate students and students who have not completed the master's degree or qualified for an appointment as a teaching fellow may be appointed as teaching assistants. The duties of a TA include teaching recitation sections, monitoring quizzes, assisting in laboratory instruction, and participating in related activities involving undergraduate programs. The normal workweek for a TA/TF/GSA with a full appointment should not exceed 20 hours. Two-term TAs who want to receive their salary spread out across three terms should contact their department immediately.

Teaching Fellows (TF)

Graduate students who have completed the master's degree or two terms of academic full residence (eight course units or the equivalent of work acceptable for the master's degree) and who have demonstrated that they are qualified to undertake more responsible part-time teaching duties than are regularly assigned to teaching assistants may be appointed as teaching fellows. The normal work-week for a TA/TF/GSA with a full appointment should not exceed 20 hours. Two-term TFs who want to receive their salary spread out across three terms should contact their department immediately.

Graduate Student Assistants (GSA)

A few graduate student assistantships are available in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. A GSA usually assists a faculty member in library research, editorial duties, or similar academic tasks. The normal work-week for a TA/TF/GSA with a full appointment should not exceed 20 hours.

Graduate Student Researchers (GSR)

Research grants funded by government and private agencies provide about 200 full- and part-time research assistantships for graduate students. Most, but not all, of these assistantships are in projects that are directly related to the thesis or dissertation research of the student; all provide the student with valuable research training and experience. The GSRs work under the direct supervision of and are appointed by the principal investigator (or associate) of the funded research project. Their stipends are determined by the terms of the grant within guidelines set by the associate dean for graduate studies and research.