TA (formerly GSI) Appointments

Teaching Assistant Positions

Instructors can stay up to date on resources on the Berkeley "Research, Teaching, and Learning" (RTL) website. RTL sends newsletters every two weeks and you can see the archive here. Check out the Academic Accommodations Hub with many resources. 

Application tips:

  • To increase your chances of getting a TA offer, especially if you are an applicant with a different home department, we recommend listing at least 1 of the larger courses in your rankings. (We always recommend external applicants apply for Bio1B -- as long as they are available for the mandatory Friday afternoon meetings.)
  • Please list your previous teaching experience and any relevant classes taken (at Berkeley and other institutions) in your provided resume.
  • Provide at least four different courses you might consider serving as a TA for. If you list less than four options, your application will not be reviewed by the instructors until it has been updated with at least four unique course rankings -- because of this delay, you reduce your chances of getting your top choice. 
  • If multiple classes are your top preference, students can rank multiple classes as their top choice (rank of 1)
  • When ranking your course choices, we encourage you to explicitly describe your motivations and experience with the topic.

If you are a graduate student from another PhD/MA program (outside Integrative Biology) we suggest highlighting the below items in your resume, if applicable:

  • previous TA/GSI experience at Berkeley (any topic)?
  • previously taught general biology classes in grad school?
  • previously taught any biology courses in grad school?
  • previous teaching experience outside of Berkeley?
  • previously taken general biology classes as an undergrad (or grad student)?
  • previously taken any biology courses as an undergrad (or grad student)?
  • previously taken Bio1B at Berkeley (in particular) with a grade of B or higher?
  • previous experience with biology content outside the typical classroom?
  • previous experience with (in particular) ecology/organismal bio activities, jobs, etc.?
  • previously served as a tutor, reader, or some other graduate level teacher/mentor? (Berkeley Connect, URAP, and similar programs are of interest)?
  • previously served as a group mentor/student leader/camp counselor/etc. outside of the Berkeley campus?
  • previous experience with a STEM communication/education-outreach activity?

Once our application deadline has passed, interested students can still fill out the application. Even after TA positions have been initially filled, sometimes the original TAs receive fellowships and rescind their offers. As we get closer to the start of the semester, our Graduate Student Services Advisor, Monica Albe, may contact other applicants to see if they are still interested in and available for positions. 


TA Placements and Appointment Information

  • Appointments are usually made for one semester at a time.
  • IB typically only offers 50% TA appointments in the Fall and Spring. (During the Fall and Spring, it's expected that IB TAs work ~20 hours per week.) These are salaried positions, not hourly pay positions.
  • Initial placements are made based on the provided TA applicant information.
    • Instructors review this material and rate the applicants who have identified the instructor's class in their (the applicant's) course preference rankings.
    • The instructors see the students' ranked preference for the course.
    • To help instructors evaluate your application, we suggest that when inputting your course rankings, please explicitly describe your motivations and experience with the topic.
  • The final TA assignments are made by Graduate Student Services Advisor, Monica Albe and IB TA Affairs Advisor, Professor Jim McGuire based on:
    • Student's previous teaching experience and course preference rankings (and other information provided in the application).
    • Instructor's rankings of the applicants for their course.
    • Students must be in good academic standing, and they must fulfill the campus TA (formerly GSI) requirements.
    • Preference is given to IB graduate students for all IB TA placements. Students in other graduate programs at UC Berkeley will be considered for positions if we have openings and they have previous experience that fits well with the course.
  • Please see the Graduate Division's Student Appointments Handbook for more information on TA appointments at Berkeley.


Pay Periods

Each semester has five paychecks. Appointments for Fall typically start on August 1, and students receive their first paycheck (for their Aug 1-Aug 31 work) on September 1. If appointed in both semesters TAs receive 10 paychecks, once a month, from September 1 through June 1.


Fee Remissions

In addition to salary, all Fall and Spring semester TAs appointed in 25% or higher positions are credited a fee remission -- see here for more details. 


TA Limits

During the Fall and Spring semesters, students can only hold up to 50% appointments without special exception from the head graduate advisor of their PhD program. If students plan to hold an additional appointment (either a Reader appt, GSR, or other employed positions within the UC system) please mention this in your application and follow up with Monica Albe. In almost all cases, we cannot offer a 50% TA position to a graduate student that already has a 50% position on campus for the same semester. International students may be limited to holding only one 50% position MAX -- if you are an international student, please consult with the Berkeley International Office.

There is also an absolute limit on the number of Fall and Spring semesters a graduate student at Berkeley can hold TA appointments. Typically, that is limited to twelve semesters serving as a Graduate Student Instructor. After the twelfth semester, a student can no longer be hired in that capacity. However, if a student was enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic semesters (Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021), campus has made an exception -- those pandemic students can pursue TA appointments up to a 14th time (student must be in good standing and special exception approval from Grad Div is required).

Students that are beyond their 12th semester of holding a TA at Berkeley can still hold summer TA appointments -- those are not capped like the Fall and Spring appointments. 


Summer Appointments

Limited positions are available for summer, these are not ASE (union) positions and the appointments are administered differently (official offers are sent via the Summer Sessions eHire system). These do not cover fee remissions. 

For IB PhD candidates, the summer appointments do not fulfill the IB PhD teaching requirement. The two semesters of TAship must be fulfilled by serving in TA positions during the Fall or Spring semesters at UC Berkeley, and they must be at least 25% positions.

Please note that for TA Step advancements, the IB department does not consider summer TA appointments in our step calculations. A student will be advanced to TA Step 2 after two full semesters (Fall or Spring) of serving as a TA at UC Berkeley. If a student has taught as a TA for 1 semester and 1 summer at Berkeley, the next time they serve as a TA, they will remain at Step 1 rate.

Teaching Evaluations

At the end of each semester the department provides each TA with teaching evaluation forms to be completed by their students and returned to the department. In addition, TAs are evaluated by the faculty in charge of the course.

The evaluations give TAs and faculty feedback on issues such as knowledge and preparation of subject matter, presentation, fairness and impartiality in dealing with students, etc. They become part of the student's record and may be used to determine future TA appointments as well as an assessment tool for subsequent letters of recommendation.


Previous Teaching Experience - Requests to Advance TA Step

In the past, it was IB Department policy that if a graduate student could show that they served as a GSI for the equivalent of at least 4 semesters at another institution, we would advance their GSI Step 1 to a GSI Step 2 for their IB GSI position -- permitted that they provide the required documentation listed in the form linked below. This was a policy established as of Fall 2019, and was not be retroactive -- advancement requests must be for the current semester or the following semester.

As of Fall 2023, the department is no longer able to accept TA (formerly GSI) Step advancement requests based on previous teaching experience external to UC Berkeley. Please contact our Graduate Student Services Advisor, Monica Albe, at ibgradsao@berkeley.edu if you have any questions.