TA work mandatory for grad students?

1. Sep 13, 2006

Nothing000

Do grad students have to be TA's? Or can they just go to classes like undergrad students?

2. Sep 13, 2006

Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
If you're willing to pay your own tuition, you will not have to TA.

If you are in grad school for a PhD, you will sooner, rather than later, have to join a research group and work towards your dissertation.

3. Sep 13, 2006

Integral

Staff Emeritus
Being a TA is an execellent learning experiance which should not be missed by any Science or Math grad student.

4. Sep 13, 2006

chroot

Staff Emeritus
In all truth, TAing can be a very rewarding and educational experience. If you intend on staying in academia, of course, you better get used to teaching.

- Warren

5. Sep 13, 2006

Nothing000

I deffinetely don't plan on staying in acedemia. I am an electrical engineering major. And I want to work in the industry. So do you guys think that TAing is as beneficial to engineering grad students as it is to science students?

6. Sep 14, 2006

TMFKAN64

Actually, when I was a grad student many years ago (albeit not in physics), there was a requirement for every student to TA at least one class. This applied to students supported by the department as well as ones with external funding.

So the real answer is, it varies from school to school.

7. Sep 14, 2006

J77

And in the UK, you get paid for it.

Which is a bonus

8. Sep 14, 2006

Nothing000

How much do you get paid?

9. Sep 14, 2006

J77

Blimey - from memory...

Approximately: marking was 15 GBP per hour, supervision was a bit over 20, undergraduate lecture around 35 and postgrad around 50...

Like I say - from remembering back a good 5+ years now

10. Sep 14, 2006

Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
In the US, a typical TA appointment covers tuition + a stipend of anywhere from $1000 to$2000 a month, depending on school and location. Or, as our administration informed us recently, the total amount spent on a TA is roughly \$50 an hour.

Last edited: Sep 14, 2006
11. Sep 14, 2006

Staff: Mentor

As stated, you don't have to be a TA if you've got the cash. (Though some schools wisely require it.) But I thought TAing was a blast--even though I had a fellowship, I still TA'd during summer sessions. I got to correct all the errors made by the profs.

Generally you will need to be a TA until you get picked up by a research group--then you're an RA and way too busy.

I strongly recommend against trying to avoid being a TA. It's important experience.

And, yes, you still have classes to attend!

12. Sep 14, 2006

Cyrus

Really? At my school, grad students get full tuition if you are full time (for engineering). You don't have to be a TA. If you are a TA or do research, you get paid 24k a year (which is nothing considering that most companies pay for your school AND pay you full salary at 50-60k starting)...so the school is just trying to be SOMEWHAT competitive).

As for being a TA, I have no desire to become a teacher, and I am going to avoid being a TA at all costs. I would rather do research than waste time as a TA. When I was at work, they were looking for a new hire. The guy had little research experience but boasted he was a TA. The guy at work told him, were not looking to hire teachers here.

So, I would say it depends on what you want to do. Just keep the end picture in mind. I would do research over a TA, even if it is a great experience and 'fun.' But that is just my personal feelings on the issue.

I was talking to an advisor who told me if you do not find someone to do research with, you usually get stuck as a TA until you get assigned a professor to do your research with, and it might not be something your intrested in.

I would rather work (and gain some experience in something tangible) and do school, than TA (which if you do not want to become a teacher, I do not see as being important to any employers) and do school, if I did not have research as an option.

Last edited: Sep 14, 2006
13. Sep 14, 2006

Nothing000

I would assume that is how employers outside of acedemia would look at it.

I completely agree. I don't ever plan on becoming a teacher or professor, so why not spend that time actually getting work experience.

14. Sep 14, 2006

franznietzsche

Beacuse teaching material helps you learn it more thoroughly.

15. Sep 14, 2006

Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
That is so completely true. It's amazing how well you think you understand something.... until you try to explain it to someone else!

16. Sep 14, 2006

chroot

Staff Emeritus
On the other hand, with careers that closely parellel academia, like my own -- integrated circuit designer -- TA experience can be an asset.

Employees who know things, but lack the ability to clearly explain those things, are not worth much in a field like mine. What we need are people who are both knowledgeable, and capable of expressing themselves very clearly.

- Warren