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Teaching Assistants

Chemistry Ph.D. Students

The academic teaching requirement for completion of the UCSD Ph.D. in Chemistry & Biochemistry is four quarters. Three (3) quarters of teaching are completed in the first year, while the fourth is typically completed in the second year in the program. Students typically must TA at least two (2) labs as part of the 4 quarter teaching requirement. Exceptions to the teaching requirement and policies require prior Graduate Affairs approval.

PhD students typically TA in a variety of courses, including at least two laboratory courses.

Apply for courses you are qualified to TA: Choose courses for your preference in areas in which you are proficient, demonstrated by having completed equivalent course(s) with a grade of A- or better or, if applicable, passing the ACS Exam in that subject area.

Chemistry M.S. Students

M.S. students often request to TA as a means of financial support. Masters students typically TA laboratory courses.

When applying, select courses you are qualified to TA: You should have completed two or more quarters of relevant upper-division work with a grade of A- or higher or completed one or more quarters of relevant graduate courses with a grade of B+ or higher or passed the ACS Written Exam in the relevant area.

Chemistry JDP Students

There is no teaching requirement at UCSD for Chemistry JDP students.

Non-Chemistry Graduate Students

Minimum eligibility requirements that must be met by the start of the quarter of TA assignment:
  1. Completion of at least a Bachelor's degree.
  2. A year of general chemistry, including labs.
  3. A grade of A- or higher in the same or equivalent course/course sequence of TA assignment.
  4. A transcript showing degree conferral and chemistry courses completed must be uploaded via the online TA Application.
Non-Chemistry graduate students typically TA laboratory courses.

Undergraduate Students

For more information on opportunities for UCSD Undergraduates, please visit our page on Tutor and Reader positions.

International Students

An international graduate student whose native language is not English or who has serious pronunciation problems may not serve as a TA until s/he has passed the oral English Language Certification Exam (ELCE). The ELCE is given once every quarter. The graduate coordinator schedules the ELCE test date and time with the ELP-ii coordinator in Teaching + Learning Commons.  For more information, please contact the Graduate Funding & TA Coordinator, Divina Aleonar.

More information on the ELCE can be found on the Teaching + Learning Commons website and ELCE FAQs

Please visit our Resource page for course options to help non-native speakers refine their English language skills. 

Spring 2023 TA Application 


Application Deadlines:  February 19, 2023 

Minimum TA Eligibility Requirements

  1. For academic year TA employment in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, a student must be registered full-time (12 units or more).

  2. A graduate student must be in good academic standing:

    1. Meet departmental standards, including a satisfactory annual spring evaluation
    2. Maintain a GPA of 3.0 in upper-division and graduate coursework
    3. Must not have more than a total of eight units of F and/or U grades overall

  3. A graduate student must be within the departmental time limits:

    Ph.D. Degree Aim: A doctoral student must advance to candidacy by the Pre-candidacy Time Limit (PCTL) and also be within the Support Time Limit (SUTL) to remain eligible for campus employment. In addition, students may not be employed as a teaching assistant for more than 18 quarters.

    M.S. Degree Aim: Eligible for up to 7 quarters of employment.

  4. An international graduate student whose native language is not English or who has serious pronunciation problems may not serve as a TA until s/he has passed the oral English Language Certification Exam (ELCE).

CHEM 500/509 Enrollment

Students enroll in Chemistry 500 (4 units) every quarter they TA. A satisfactory ("S") grade is required in the Chem 500 course during each TA quarter to fulfill the PhD academic requirement. The first quarter in which students TA in the Department, they must also enroll in Chemistry 509 (2 units), a weekly Teaching Apprentice Training Seminar (see Schedule of Classes).

TA Responsibilities

A teaching assistant (TA) assists in the instruction of an upper or lower division course at the University under the supervision of a faculty member. The TA primarily assists the faculty member in charge of the course by conducting discussion or laboratory sections that supplement faculty lectures and by grading assignments and examinations.

Expectations for Satisfactory Performance. At the first instructor-TA meeting for the course (attendance mandatory), instructors will outline the actual TA duties for their course. More information about responsibilities are covered in CHEM 509 (Teaching Methods in Chemistry). However, duties typically required of all TAs are:

  • Attend all instructor-TA meetings.
  • Attend all lectures of the course they are TAing.
  • Lead one or more discussion or lab sections as agreed at the time of TA assignment.
  • Assist with grading and proctoring.
  • Hold office hours or cover Help Room (Chem 6A-B-C).
  • Other duties as needed for a particular course, such as quizzes, preparation for sections, and lab demonstrations.
  • Lab TAs must attend MANDATORY safety training and meetings.
  • Pre-Teaching Checklist
  • TA Performance Criteria

Performance Evaluations and Standards. TAs are evaluated by the instructor of the course and by the students they teach. TAs can access their evaluations at More information on performance standards is provided at the TA Training Seminar affiliated with Chemistry 509.

TA Workload

A typical TA assignment with the department is a 42% appointment, or a total workload of 184 hours over 12 weeks. Most of these hours are accrued in the 10-week quarter and finals week (see Schedule of Classes). Depending on the needs of a specific course, instructors will inform TAs of the need to work hours in the pre-quarter week.

  • Lower-Division Lecture Courses: Undergrad tutors lead one discussion section. Grad TAs lead two or three discussion sections. (6A-6B-6C, 6AH-6CH, 11,12,13)
  • Upper-Division Organic Chemistry Lecture Courses: Undergrad tutors lead one discussion section. Grad TAs lead two or three discussion sections. (40A-B-C)
  • Other Upper-Division Chemistry Lecture Courses: Undergrad tutors rarely used. Grad TAs lead two or three discussion sections. (114A-B-C, 120A, 126, 131)
  • Lower-Division Lab Courses: No undergrad tutors. Grad TAs lead one or two lab sections. (4, 7L)
  • Upper-Division Lab Courses: No undergrad tutors. Grad TAs lead one lab section. (100A-B, 105A-B, 108, 109, 123, 43A, 43AM, 143B, 143C)

Employment Information

  1. Official TA offers will be sent out through the Instructional Assistant (IA) System prior to the start of each quarter. TA assignments are not final until/unless you receive this offer via email
  2. The Chem/Biochem Student Affairs Office will contact you by email if you must complete employment paperwork.
  3. The standard 42% appointment will be for an assignment with one lab or three discussion sections for Teaching Assistants. The 28% appointment is typically two discussion sections.
  4. Graduate TAs are paid monthly. The payroll period for Fall quarter is October 1-December 31 (first check November 1). For Winter quarter, it is January 1-March 31, and for Spring quarter, it is April 1-June 30. Click here to view Pay Schedule.
  5. TA paychecks are distributed via the new HR/Payroll System, UCPath. View the following resources (First time log-in - UCPath, Job Aid: Self-service employee actions) to sign up for direct deposit, update your mailing address, etc. Note that students who do not sign up for direct deposit will have checks mailed to their permanent address listed in UCPath.
  6. Graduate students with academic appointments totaling 25% time or more are entitled to Tuition and Student Services Fee Remission and Graduate Student Health Insurance Remission, which is applied once an assignment is accepted.

    This includes coverage of all Resident fees with the exception of $219.66, which will be billed as normal (for MS students). Students are responsible for paying this fee balance by the quarter's fee payment deadline. (For MS, Non-Residents will also be billed for the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition, which is $5,034/quarter)

    Optionally, students may submit the Fee Deferment Form to have the fee balance ($219.66) automatically deducted from their TA salary in two installments. TA Fee Deferment forms must be submitted to Divina Aleonar by the indicated deadline for timely processing. Please email Divina ( for the current deadline. Additional information: TA Fee Deferment

  7. Graduate students employed in Teaching Assistant title code 2310 are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between UCSD and the ASE/UAW.
  8. Names and addresses of all ASEs are released to the UAW each quarter.
  9. ASE/UAW membership dues will be deducted each monthly paycheck. The amount of dues is a one-time $10 initiation fee for new members, 1.44% of gross TA earnings.
  10. See the Graduate Division website for additional information concerning Academic Student Employment (ASE).

TA Excellence Awards

Outstanding TAs are recognized quarterly and are awarded a $200 monetary prize. Past winners are featured here.

TA Description of Duties

TA Description of Duties documents are included with offer letters sent to TAs via the Instructional Assistant System. 


See below for resources and helpful links: