Teaching/TAing Requirement


Teaching Requirement

All PhD students must complete two (2) teaching units.  There are several options for accumulating teaching units:

   1. Serving as a teaching assistant (TA), where teaching units are assigned by the . Further information is available on the taczar website.
   2. Serving as the instructor for a 1-point or 1.5-point course, which counts as one (1) teaching unit.
   3. Serving as the instructor for a 3-point or 4-point course, which counts as two (2) teaching units.

Serving as a TA is the default.  All instructor (as opposed to TA) assignments must be approved by the Academic Committee Chair, currently (2008-2009) . All TA and instructor assignments must be approved by the advisor.

The teaching units must be accumulated while teaching or TAing regular on-campus fall or spring semester courses offered by the Columbia University Department of Computer Science. Teaching or TAing at another institution, during summer session, for CVN, Continuing Education, or another Columbia department or office, does not qualify towards satisfying the teaching requirement.

Teaching units are normally acquired while formally enrolled in the doctoral program (MS/PhD, PhD or DES).  However, teaching units as defined above that were accumulated while enrolled in a masters or professional degree program and appointed as a "teaching fellow" (not a "grader") by the Department of Computer Science at Columia University, can be imported into the doctoral program upon approval of the

[Change notes: Introduced pointer to relevant taczar webpage. Threw in 1.5 point courses, which in principle exist now.  Noted that TAing is the default, and Adam approves (finds) student instructors. Added that advisor must approve everything, previously the de facto but not de jure rule. Adapted ms/cse teaching fellows wording to work around reality of non-integral units, as had previously been done for doctoral units.  Clarified that taczar approves rather than just providing info about imports. Wordsmithing.]

Funding as a "Teaching Fellow"

PhD students are typically funded by the department as teaching fellows during the last semester in which they complete the final component of the teaching requirement, but the funding can be delayed until later at the advisor's request under some circumstances. Masters and professional degree students are funded as teaching fellows during the same semester as their assignment. It is not possible to be appointed as both a teaching fellow and as a GRA (Graduate Research Assistant) during a given semester; a student normally funded as a GRA is instead funded as a teaching fellow for one semester. The stipend, tuition and fees support for doctoral teaching fellows is identical to doctoral GRAs.

Special arrangements can be made for students funded through outside fellowships to fulfill the constraints of that external program. However, the PhD teaching requirement is indeed a requirement, never waived, regardless of funding source (including self-supported or employer-supported students).

[Change notes: Clarified, to the degree possible since its nondeterministic, when students are actually paid for their required TAships. Removed bit about incoming teaching fellows since we never do that anymore.  Moved info about voluntary teaching fellow semesters to additional teaching/taing section. Removed reference to ms/cse students seeing business manager.  Wordsmithing.]

Funding as a "Preceptor"

After completing the teaching requirement, a qualified student may apply for a preceptor position, which pays somewhat more than a teaching fellow or GRA position.  Information about qualifications and application procedures are here.

[Change notes: Wordsmithing only.] 

Additional Teaching/TAing

After completing the mandatory teaching requirement, students making satisfactory progress, and with advisor approval, may apply for voluntary instructor or TA positions when available.  All instructor assignments must be approved by the Academic Committee Chair, currently (2008-2009) . TA assignments are made by the . While in rare cases full funding may be available for certain positions to address the department's teaching needs, these students are typically paid relatively small amounts "add comp" (additional compensation, currently as of July 2008 its $2000 per semester for PhD students).

[Change notes: Extensive changes, basically rewrote from scratch, since was a big mess with redundant, contradictory and confusing info strewn around multiple sections but now combined and simplified here. Removed requirement of "level 10" on EPT, which oddly was required for the second instructor assignment but not the first; let's leave it up to Adam.   Introduced satisfactory progress prereq for voluntary TAs, already required wrt teach extra but not to TA extra, and added advisor's approval in both cases - it was already indicated as required on the outside activities page but not here. Removed blurb about university policies could change everything, since that true for all our rules.  Removed last vestiges of archaic recitation leaders - had missed some previously. Tried to match funding description to reality.]

Summer Teaching

Independent of the PhD teaching requirement, graduate students may voluntarily elect to serve in some teaching capacity for summer courses. The courses offered and payscale vary from year to year. Contact for further information. Note that such summer teaching or TAing does not count towards satisfying the doctoral teaching requirement, but it is not necessary to complete the doctoral teaching requirement prior to summer teaching.

[Change notes: Apparently available to all grad students not just PhDs, and not necessarily specific to the department. Wordsmithed.] 

Some generally useful information about graduate student teaching/teaching is availale from the GSAS teaching center.

[Change notes: Added.]

Last updated on September 13, 2008.