Teaching Assistantships

The Mathematics Department is strongly committed to the financial support of graduate students who are making good progress toward either the MA or the PhD. degree. A teaching assistantship is the most common form of financial support for graduate students in good standing. For the purpose of financial support, a student's progress is measured against the degree programs timetables (PhD, MA). 

Students facing special financial hardship are urged to make this known to the department in a timely manner. Funding requests can be made via the Mathematics Funding Request Form if desired. The Department will do everything in its power to insure that all students in good standing are given sufficient financial aid to enable them to continue their study of mathematics. 

All students are strongly encouraged to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year by the beginning of fall quarter. The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for need-based awards and to apply for support from the Financial Aid Office as well as from the Department. No need-based fellowship can be awarded to a student who does not have a current FAFSA on file.

TA Appointments, Assignments, and Duties

TA appointments are usually made at 50% time (an assigned workload of ~220 hours per quarter). TAs are under the supervision of the faculty member responsible for the course. TAs are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the University and the United Auto Workers (UAW). Click HERE for information about academic student employee representation.

Faculty and TAs will be notified of the preliminary course assignments as soon as possible. These preliminary assignments are always tentative pending student enrollment information. Early in the quarter, TAs may be reassigned at short notice, based on the course enrollments. Students who are not offered a TAship from the Department may seek employment as a TA in another department by joining the TA Jobs Google Group

Instructors and their TA(s) will meet at the beginning of the quarter to complete the Notification of TA Duties Form in order to identify the agreed upon tasks. The performance of these tasks will form the basis of the end-of-quarter performance evaluation, and will use the following criteria: quality of work; accuracy and attention to detail; interaction with students, peers and instructor; knowledge of subject; dependability. The specific allocation of TA duties is subject to change, depending on enrollments and the number of teaching assistantships in the department allocation.

The general duties vary, depending on the course assigned and level of the course:

  • Upper division course duties include leading 1-2 sections, writing solutions, holding 3-5 office hours, assisting with grading midterms and finals, and may include some homework grading.
  • Lower division course duties (depending on enrollment) include leading 2-3 sections, writing solutions, holding 3-4 hours of office hours, assisting with grading midterms and finals, and may include homework grading.
  • Entry-level course duties include leading 3-4 sections, write solutions, hold 3 office hours, and assist with grading midterms and finals.

Please note that some classes now utilize online grading, which means there is no homework grading for faculty, readers, or TAs. In other cases, one or more readers may be assigned to the class to grade homework.

All TAs are required to participate in the department's Teaching Assistant Training Program.

Four Year Rule (APM 410)

The total length of service rendered in any one or any combination of the following titles may not exceed four years:

  • reader on annual stipend,
  • teaching assistant,
  • teaching fellow and/or associate.

Under special circumstances, the Chancellor, upon recommendation of the department chair and the Dean of Graduate Studies may authorize a longer period, but in no case for more than six years or 18 quarters.

Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP)

All graduate students are automatically assessed a quarterly fee for mandatory Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP) unless the student has opted out of the program with the Cowell Health Center. Students obtain waivers by demonstrating to Cowell Health Center that they have comparable coverage under another health insurance policy.

Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Associates In, and Graduate Student Researchers who have appointments of 25% time or greater will have the fee covered for them either by UCSC or by their hiring professor the quarter of their appointment.

GSHIP provides year-round and worldwide coverage. Please click HERE for more information.