Applying for Teaching Assistantship

Updated June 4, 2020

Note for Fall 2020: We don't have definitive guidance from campus yet regarding expectations for instructional assistants for remote/online courses vs. hybrid courses (, but as of now, the general expectation is that instructional assistants may be expected to be physically present for hybrid course offerings. Currently, we anticipate the following courses will have at least some physical, i.e. face-to-face components: CSE 8A, CSE 11, CSE 20, and CSE 30.

Please direct any questions about Fall 2020 course delivery to Patrick Mallon (  For all other questions relating to the application or the allocations, please contact Tierra Terrell (

Before applying, review this document.

Each quarter, including summer, CSE hires graduate students as Teaching Assistants to assist with the undergraduate curriculum. 

Advisors or course instructors often encourage students to apply to TA for a specific course, but this is not a job offer.  ONLY the department makes the official job offer

Applicants should not start TAing a course until they have received an official appointment letter from the department and replied to it to accept the position. 

The TA application is for submitting requests only. We will make every effort to accommodate them, but there is no guarantee that applicants will be given a TA position or that they will be assigned to TA one of their preferred courses.

Students may not be a TA, Tutor or Reader for courses in which they are enrolled.

Graduate students holding appointments above 25% as graduate student researchers, teaching assistants, language assistants, readers, or other employment titles, or who receive support from traineeships, fellowships, or scholarships paid through the university or directly to the student, must enroll and register for twelve units of upper-division and/or graduate course work and research each quarter.

For TA Duties and responsibilities, please refer to:

TAs must complete CSE 599 either prior to being assigned to TA or during the same quarter as their first TA position (preferred). The goal of CSE 599 is to give TAs the skills and knowledge needed to be effective and successful in their teaching. 

We do NOT know that enrollments will be high enough to warrant a TA in all the classes listed on the application form each quarter.  In other words, just because a course is listed as a preference does not mean a TA will be assigned to it.

TAs may be asked to attend lecture, lead discussion or lab sections, and proctor midterm and final exams. Applicants should be available to do so for any classes marked as TA preferences. It is wise to enroll in your own classes before choosing your TA preferences, and to note the time of CSE 599.

We will assign applicants to TA a course only if they already have a solid command of the material to be taught in the course. In other words, only apply to TA for a class if you have taken the equivalent course or have comparable other experience. For a description of our courses, please see here.

International students must take and pass the English Language Proficiency Exam prior to finalization of a TA assignment. Below is more information to determine if this requirement applies to your situation: 

  • According to campus policy, students with a spoken TOEFL score of 28 or above are exempt from this requirement and may be considered for a TA position immediately. Students in the CSE Department are eligible to participate in a pilot program where a spoken TOEFL score of 26 or above will allow you to work as a TA in the CSE department without completing ELCE certification. Students in this situation will not need to take the ELCE as described below.
  • In the CSE Department, students whose spoken TOEFL score is 23-25 or who waived the TOEFL requirement based on their previous educational background must pass the in-person English Language Certification Examination (ELCE) prior to being hired as a TA for the first time. This test is administered during Finals Week of each quarter, and students who have pending TA assignments will be contacted to take the test. We will contact you to formally schedule the exam if this applies to your situation, but you may submit a request to take the ELCE here. 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 requirement. 
  • Students with a spoken TOEFL score of 22 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 exam and score within the eligible range for testing (≥ 23) or for employment (≥ 26). For more information, please see the Graduate Division's policy here, and a helpful FAQ guide from the Teaching + Learning Commons here.
  • 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.

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 take the TOEFL exam and score ≥ 26 in order to be considered for a TA position in the CSE Department. For more information, please see the Graduate Division's policy here, and a helpful FAQ guide from the Teaching + Learning Commons here.

If you are applying for other campus employment (i.e. you think a faculty member may support you to do research, or you applied to TA in more than one department), please remember that your total UC San Diego employment may not exceed 20 hours/week (50%) during the academic year. During the summer, students are able to work for a total of 40 hours/week (100%).



To apply for a TA assignment, complete the online TA preference application form for the quarter you wish to TA in:

Fall 2020 CSE TA Application - Priority deadline is June 21st

Fall 2020 DSE TA Application - Priority deadline is June 21st

Fall 2020 WES TA Application - Priority deadline is June 21st