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Teaching and Research Assistantships

The ICS department offers a number of Teaching and Research Assistantships each year to support students the most promising students through graduate school. There are two types of positions: teaching assistants (TAs) and research assistants (RAs). Both TAs and RAs receive a tuition waiver and modest stipend in exchange for 20-hours/week of service.

All applicants to the MS and PhD programs are automatically considered for TA and RA positions when they apply. We strive to support all full-time Ph.D. students as either TAs or RAs, but Masters students may also receive TA or RA assignments.

Teaching Assistant

TAs help in large classes and assist in courses with labs. The responsibilities of TAs vary widely depending on the needs of the supervising professor. Responsibilities can include anything from grading exams to conducting lab sections of undergraduate introductory core courses. TA experience is valuable for anyone hoping to pursue an academic career since it provides teaching experience. The Graduate Chair, in consultation with the Undergraduate and Graduate Committees, makes TA assignments each semester. TAs are evaluated by the supervising professor, and continued TA support depends on satisfactory performance. TA appointments are for 9 months, but a small number of TA positions are sometimes available in the summer.

Research Assistant

RAs work with professors who have extramurally-funded research projects. Often, an RA will be part of a lab group, but they may also work independently. RAs will usually be expected to collect, analyze, publish, and present research results related to the project. As such, RAs often build significant publication and application development portfolios. RAs often wind up carving out a part of the funded research project as their own thesis or dissertation work.

Because individual professors hire RAs with their own grant funds, applying to be an RA involves connecting with professors and expressing your interest in working with them. A professor may identify a potential RA from a new student application, from the performance of a student in a course, from recommendations of colleagues, or from being approached by a student. Professors often announce the availability of RA positions in the graduate seminar. RAs are usually appointed on 11-month contracts and typically work on the research project in the summer.