TA Information Sheet
From Electrical Engineering TA Handbook
What is a teaching assistant?
"Teaching Assistant" is a generic term including many specific positions for students who assist in teaching classes at Stanford. It is also a specific term for one category of such positions. We here use the term in its general sense as almost all appointments for Teaching Assistants in the School of Engineering are officially called "Course Assistants" as defined by the University. A Course Assistant (CA) is a graduate or coterminal student who works part time helping an instructor with a class. The CA's responsibilities can include office hours for individual student assistance, review or study sessions, occasional lectures, preparation of assignments, grading exams and projects, and solutions. A CA for a laboratory class may also be responsible for laboratory supervision, equipment, or demonstrations.
Who is eligible to be a TA?
By University regulations a TA must have graduate standing or be a coterminal student with at least 180 units completed. The TA appointments are not restricted to EE students; students from other departments may apply, but we do give preference to EE students since it is a form of financial aid. A student with TGR status can be appointed as a TA; however no matter which percent appointment is held ONLY the TGR fee will be paid. Any units taken will be at the TA's own expense.
The EE Department requires that students provide an unofficial copy of their Stanford transcript with their application.
How many hours does a TA work?
TAs are appointed on a percent time basis. Most of our TAs are 50% appointments and work 20 hours per week. We also offer 25% (10 hours per week) and 15% (4 hours per week) appointments. These levels of work are typical, however some appointments may require more effort and others less. Under no circumstances should a 50% TA work more than 20 hours per week. The TA should consult the course instructor and possibly the EE CA administrator if the workload is too heavy.
Work in addition to appointment
It is University policy that a student on full fellowship or 50% time assistantship may work no more than eight hours a week in addition.
NOTE: International students on F and J visas may NOT work more than 50% time.
What is a TA paid?
A TA is paid a tuition grant and a quarterly salary (paid semimonthly over the quarter).Students must first be admitted to candidacy, as outline in the EE Graduate Handbook (http://ee.stanford.edu/gradhandbook/Program_Information:Ph.D._Degree), in order to receive the Post-Quals rate.
|Appt||Pre-Quals TA||Post Quals TA|
|Appt||Mentoring TA and Teaching Affiliate|
|$8,930||8- 10 UNITS FOR 50% APPOINTMENT|
|$4,465||5 UNITS FOR 25% APPOINTMENT|
Does a TA appointment restrict a student's registration?
The University typically restricts the academic load of a 50% TA to 10 units per quarter. The philosophy is that a student cannot work half time and take a full academic load and do both justice. This 10 unit restriction has both good and bad features; the 50% TA's tuition is completely covered by the tuition grant, but the TA's academic progress is slowed down (a 50% TA normally takes 5 quarters to complete the Master's program). A 50% TA can register for 10 units. This may become necessary to enable you to fulfill your seminar requirement. In rare cases 50% TA's may register for more than 10 units and then only after receiving permission from their advisor and the department chair. They must then pay for the extra unit. 25% and 10% TAs are generally required by the School of Engineering to take a full academic load and must pay for the difference between full tuition and the TA tuition grant (i.e., in 2004/05 the TA must pay $3,450 per quarter in addition to the tuition grant for a 25% TA). Other appointments of less than 50% will be calculated according to the percent time and the units of tuition granted for them.
How does a TA register and use the tuition grant?
Tuition for the TA appointment will be credited to the University bill. If you have a late TA appointment and there is no credit on your bill, simply defer that portion of the tuition that will be covered by the TA tuition grant. The portion of the deferment covered by the TA grant will be automatically canceled when the tuition grant is processed. Please do not defer ASSU or other fees, as they are not covered by the tuition grant. Any deferment fee not on the portion covered by the TA grant must be paid by the student. Please see Graduate Student Assistantships Guide  for a complete discussion of tuition grants with unused units.
May I apply for an RA, a TA in another department, or other support while I am requesting a TA position?
Yes, you are welcome to try for other appointments while we are considering your TA application; however once you accept a TA appointment you are expected to fill it. Therefore you must withdraw your TA application immediately after receiving other support. The maximum total appointment per quarter is 50%.
Requirements for applicants for whom English is not the first language
Students who expect to hold teaching assistantships must be screened for English proficiency if they are from countries where English is not the first language. To be screened, a student must
- contact Tracey A. Riesen, firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment, and
- take an introductory undergraduate engineering textbook to the appointment .
The screening consists of a simulated office-hour conversation (about 30 minutes) between a TA and an undergraduate student. The TA being tested does not need to prepare for the screening. No exceptions are allowed to this requirement. Failure to comply may result in the delay or loss of an appointment.
How to apply
The EE Department accepts applications on a quarterly basis. All students who wish to apply for a Teaching Assistantant appointment must do so quarterly. To submit an online application, please go to 
For questions regarding our online application, please contact