Teaching Assistantships

Updated April 11th, 2024

Teaching assistantships provide graduate students an opportunity to develop a number of skill sets that are directly applicable to jobs in academia, as well as in industry. There are several resources for TAs who wish to learn as much as possible from this experience, including faculty mentors, enrollment in CSE 599, and the Student Affairs staff. The information below is intended to more fully inform potential TAs about the position itself.

The Union Contract Agreement is the authoritative document for any questions about the differences between this document and the Union Contract Agreement.

Important Notes for Fall 2024 (TBA):

  • Classes may still be added to the Fall 2024 schedule, so please continue to check back on the application portal to see if there are new courses that you would be eligible to work for.
  • To be eligible for employment as a TA in the CSE department, you must be available and eligible to work the first day of the quarter through when eGrades is closed for submission. For Fall 2024, instructional assistants working for in-person classes will be expected to be physically present on campus between (TBA).
  • Some Spring 2024 courses may be offered remotely. If you are interested in working for a remote class, please indicate that on your application. The CSE 100, 158, and 258 listings all pertain to both in-person and remote offerings of the classes.
  • Late applications will still be considered past the priority deadline, which may be found here. (Please note, however, that if you add a class to your preference list after the instructor has reviewed the list of applicants, your new addition may be overlooked.)
  • You MUST select course options to show up on an instructor's list of applicants. Please do not leave any preference blank or left as "Any" or you will not appear on instructors' applicant lists.
  • Employment paperwork must be completed in person BEFORE you start working. Please refer to the quarter dates and plan accordingly. DO NOT CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT about paperwork. A representative will reach out to you directly if you need to complete hiring paperwork.

If you have any questions, please contact us at cse-ta-info@ucsd.edu.


The 2023-2024 compensation for a TA is $3,236.11/month for a 50% appointment (20 hrs/week), and $1,618.05/month for a 25% appointment (10 hrs/week) *subject to change*. 

In addition to the TA salary, 25% and 50% TAs receive tuition, fee, and health insurance remission during the academic year. After the remission, TA fees for 2022-2023 were $250.33. The amounts for the 2023-2024 academic year are not yet available, however, students can visit this website for more information. Students classified by UC San Diego as nonresidents must also pay nonresident supplemental tuition of $5,034/quarter. Regardless of remission, Master's students must pay their total fees and nonresident supplemental tuition (if applicable) by the deadline to avoid a late fee. If remission is given after the payment deadline, the amount will be credited to your student account and you can request a check by visiting this website. Fees are not charged or remitted during Summer Session.

Minimum Qualifications
  1. For academic year employment at 26-50% time, a student must be registered full-time (see below). A student registered part-time, with departmental approval, is eligible for a maximum of 25% time employment.
    • Graduate students holding appointments above 25% must enroll and register for twelve units of upper-division and/or graduate-level coursework and/or research each quarter.
    • Graduate students holding appointments at 25% must enroll and register for at least six units of upper-division and/or graduate-level coursework and/or research each quarter.
  2. A graduate student must be in good academic standing, i.e.,
    • Meet departmental standards including a satisfactory annual spring academic progress evaluation;
    • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 in upper-division and graduate course work;
    • Must not have more than a total of eight units of F and/or U grades overall.
  3. A graduate student must be within the departmental time limits.
  4. International graduate students who are nonnative speakers of English must be certified as having requisite language skills before they can serve as teaching assistants (UC San Diego Graduate Division policy in compliance with Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 41).
International Students & Eligibility

International students must take and pass the English Language Proficiency Exam prior to finalization of a TA assignment. 

Students with a spoken TOEFL score of 26 or above/spoken IELTS score of 8 or above are exempt from this requirement and may be considered for a CSE TA position immediately. Or A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. You may verify whether your institution meets this requirement by looking up your institution in the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED)

Students with a spoken TOEFL score of 23-25/spoken IELTS score of 7-7.5, or students who did not need to submit language scores for admission must pass an in-person English Language Proficiency Certification Examination (ELCE) requirement prior to being hired as a TA for the first time. All students in this category may apply to TA through the IA System, however, they will not receive an offer letter until they have satisfied the ELCE requirement. We will schedule a remote ELCE test on your behalf if you are slated to hold a TA position.

Students with a spoken TOEFL score of 22 or below/spoken IELTS score of 6.5 or below will not be permitted to take the certification exam until they have completed formal English proficiency training. All students in this category will have their TA applications marked as ineligible until they have satisfied the requirement. Students who fall into this category may obtain the required English language proficiency skills through courses offered in the English Language Institute and the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program. Conversely, students in this category may choose to retake the TOEFL or IELTS exam and score within the eligible range for testing (≥ 23 for TOEFL; 7 for IELTS) or for employment (≥ 26 for TOEFL; 8 for IELTS). For more information, please see the Graduate Division's policy here, and a helpful FAQ guide from the Teaching + Learning Commons here.

Doctoral students have three attempts to pass the ELCE in order to qualify for employment. If they fail, students are encouraged to utilize all language resources available to them prior to retesting. Master's students are not able to retake the exam after failing. If a student has failed and is no longer eligible to take the ELCE to qualify for employment, the student would need to retake the TOEFL or IELTS exam and score ≥ 26 (for TOEFL) or ≥ 8 (for IELTS) in order to be considered for a TA position in the CSE Department. 

Students who are being hired for the first time and who do not yet have a social security number must apply for one through the International Students & Programs Office. Please contact cse-gradsupport@ucsd.edu to get the appropriate offer letter to apply.

The Role of the TA and the Instructor

Teaching Assistants enhance the learning experience of UC San Diego students by complementing the activities of the course instructor. TAs receive training under the mentorship and supervision of the instructor.


If you accept a TA position and later decide to decline, this is considered reneging on the position. If you choose to renege on your position, you will not be permitted to hold future TA positions in the CSE Department.

Specific job responsibilities will vary with teaching assignments, and the instructor will communicate the specific responsibilities expected of the TA at the beginning of the quarter via the Description of Duties form, which can be accessed through the IA System. The TA and the instructor share joint responsibility for ensuring that each understands the division of work responsibilities.

TA duties may include, but are not limited to: facilitate a discussion section or tutorial; hold weekly office hours; e-mail contact; grade homework, programming assignments, exams, or projects; keep records; distribute and copy reading materials; prepare answer keys or supplementary notes; act as course webmaster. TAs may be required to attend the instructor's lecture regularly.

Training and Evaluation

In accordance with University rules, all TAs must participate in a TA training program. CSE 599 (Teaching Methods in Computer Science) fulfills this University requirement. CSE students must take it concurrently with their first quarter as a TA. CSE 599 is usually offered every quarter. If you are working as a TA for the first time during the Summer, you will need to take CSE 599 the next time you TA.

Instructors should periodically evaluate the TA's performance and provide the TA with constructive feedback. The course instructor may provide training in developing teaching skills in relation to the duties stated above. At the end of the quarter, instructors are strongly encouraged to provide written evaluations for their TAs.


A TA with a 50% appointment is assigned a workload of 220 hours per quarter, and a 25% TA position is 110 hours per quarter. Hours worked each week may vary, but should average 20 hours (50%) or 10 hours (25%).

A TA may not be employed as a substitute instructor, where the effect is to relieve the instructor of his or her teaching responsibilities. This is specifically prohibited by University policy. Normally, faculty members will ask other faculty to act as a substitute, if one is needed. However, in the event of an emergency, the Department Chair may ask the TA to substitute for the instructor. A TA may decline to substitute for the instructor if doing so would interfere with their studies (e.g. a class), or if they feel unprepared to lecture. Whenever a TA serves as a substitute lecturer, a faculty member shall be appointed to supervise.

Disputes regarding workload are not subject to Article 11, Grievance and Arbitration of the Union Contract Agreement. For workload complaint procedure, please see Article 30, Workload.

Course Credit

The CSE department requires TAs to take either two (25% TA) or four (50% TA) credits of CSE 500 each quarter they are appointed as a TA. CSE 500 should be taken for S/U grade only. Credit is awarded for instruction a TA receives under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. Such instruction will enable the TA to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to enhance the learning experience of students. Areas of instruction include, but are not limited to: organizing discussion sections or tutorials, writing homework or test questions, setting grading policies, communication, and teaching skills that promote learning. Instruction will entail regular faculty contact hours, and may also include visits by the faculty supervisor at the discussion sections given by a TA. Lastly, instruction may include outside preparation to gain specialized knowledge required by a particular course.

All CSE students enrolled in the PhD program must have one quarter of training as a Teaching Assistant. This is a formal degree requirement and must be completed before the student is permitted to graduate. The requirement is met by the student serving as a 50% TA and enrolling in CSE 599. The student must also satisfactorily complete 4 units of CSE 500.

Work Attendance and Preparation

If you accept a TA position and later decide to decline, this is considered reneging on the position. If you choose to renege on your position, you will not be permitted to hold future TA positions in the CSE Department.

TA course responsibilities begin at the start of preparation for the academic quarter and continue until the final grades have been turned in--usually the Tuesday after the end of final exams. TAs are responsible for contacting the instructor of their course prior to the first day of instruction and for determining when their responsibilities have finished for the quarter.

TAs are expected to be present during scheduled office hours or sections. If a TA must cancel office hours or sections due to illness or another conflict, they should contact the course instructor about the possibility of having someone substitute to cover duties. The TA should notify their students as soon as possible if there will be a cancellation or rescheduling of the usual discussion section or office hours. 

TAs are expected to be adequately prepared for office hours and sections. For sections, it is common to spend as much time preparing examples or other notes as in the section itself.

Compliance with Academic Appointment Guidelines

TAs have academic appointments and must comply with all the regulations relating to such a position. These include regulations prohibiting Sexual Harassment, misuse of University property, substance abuse, and any violations of the law. The definitive source about such regulations is the UC San Diego Policies and Procedures Manual.

Graduate students who accept an offer of a Teaching Assistantship have a professional obligation to teach during that period. Students who are not able to fulfill their commitment to teaching should notify the department as early as possible so that a qualified replacement may be found. Only students with teaching appointments equal to or greater than 25% are eligible for partial fee remission. Students who elect not to teach, or who reduce their workload to less than a 25% appointment, must obtain tuition support from another source.


All completed assignments, exams, grades, correspondence, and other information about individual students in the class shall be kept confidential except where the student has given written consent. In particular:

No student in the class should ever be allowed access to a TA computer account or to TA files. Grade files on the computer should be kept protected. Grades should never be posted by name, nor by any identifying number such as a PID, other student identification number, or social security number.

These provisions are consistent with Federal and State privacy laws.

  • Graded assignments should not be left in a public place.
  • Answer keys or exam materials should be kept secure in a locked drawer.
Use of Authority

Decisions made by TAs have a significant effect on their students' grades. TAs should carry out their responsibilities professionally, and be especially careful not to abuse their authority. TAs should evaluate student work objectively and fairly. In particular:

  • TAs may not agree to be paid as tutors for students in their class. These students would by definition receive preferential access to the TA.
  • TAs should not become romantically involved with students in their class. Such involvement makes objective evaluation difficult and also raises questions of sexual harassment.
  • If a TA has a friend or partner who is a student in the class, they should not grade that student's papers.
Safety and Well-Being
  • Emergency Numbers: Campus police: 9-1-1 from campus phone or 858-534-4357 (Help) from cell phone
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 858-543-3755
  • Most classrooms and labs have signage about where to evacuate if there is an emergency.

TAs may find themselves in a situation where there is concern about the well-being or safety of one or more individuals, including the TA themself. This could include a highly distressed or upset student, a threat made by a student to harm him or herself or others, or harassment of others (including the TA). It could take place in person, on the phone, via email or other electronic formats. These issues should be taken seriously. The TA must immediately report the incident to the instructor. If you ever feel there is an imminent danger (student harming themselves or others--including you), dial 9-1-1 or numbers above.


Please refer to the Grievance Procedures as outlined in the Union Contract Agreement, Article 11. Disputes regarding workload are not subject to Article 11, Grievance and Arbitration of this Agreement. For workload complaint procedure, please see Article 30, Workload.