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Graduate Opportunities

Biology PhD Students

PhD students participate in a supervised teaching program designed to expose students to a variety of distinct instructional environments by moving the student gradually from small group instruction in a laboratory setting to leading discussion sections and review sessions for lecture courses. To achieve this, students assist as a Graduate Instructional Apprentice (GIA) for one laboratory course and two lecture courses.  In addition to practical classroom experience under the direct supervision of a biology course instructor, students will enroll in the appropriate BGGN 500 series course (as designated by the Division) where they will also benefit from the instruction of a teaching faculty member.

A link to the application for the upcoming academic year will be sent via UC San Diego email to all Biological Sciences PhD students who need to complete program requirements to assist as a GIA.  The application is typically open in May/June prior to the academic year of the apprenticeship.  See also Graduate Instructional Apprentice Experience.

Biology MS Students

MS students with the following qualifying experience are eligible to apply for paid Teaching Assistant positions:

  1. completion of a Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprenticeship (as evidenced by a passing grade in BISP 195, CHEM 195, or BGGN 500) or
  2. a previously completed graduate student TA appointment in another department at UC San Diego

MS students with no prior qualifying experience may apply to participate in a Graduate Instructional Apprenticeship, earning four units of academic credit (BGGN 500).  Assignments are based entirely on divisional need and are offered solely at the discretion of the Division of Biological Sciences. While an instructor may request a student as a GIA/TA, such a request does not guarantee placement, nor does it constitute an offer of apprenticeship or employment.

Non Biology PhD Students

The Division of Biological Sciences has TA service agreements with the Biomedical Sciences Program, the Department of Neurosciences, and the graduate program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Doctoral students in these programs should contact their graduate coordinator in the spring quarter prior to the academic year in which they would like to assist as a TA to inquire about eligibility and the application cycle.

The application is typically open in May/June prior to the academic year.

PhD students from other departments and programs can access the application for PhD students, typically in May and June prior to the academic year, through the Academic Student Employment System.  Prior qualifying experience as a Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice (as evidenced by a passing grade in BISP 195, CHEM 195, or BGGN 500) or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment in another department at UC San Diego is required for consideration for paid Teaching Assistant positions.

Non Biology MS Students

Biological Sciences has a large pool of applicants within the division, both master’s and doctoral students, from which IA positions are staffed. The number of applicants far exceeds the number of open positions, so hiring of MS level students from outside the division is rare. Students may apply through the Academic Student Employment System.  Prior qualifying experience as a Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice (as evidenced by a passing grade in BISP 195, CHEM 195, or BGGN 500) or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment in another department at UC San Diego is required for consideration for paid Teaching Assistant positions.

Non-Students

Biological Sciences has a large pool of applicants within the division, both master’s and doctoral students, from which IA positions are staffed. The number of applicants far exceeds the number of open positions, so hiring of IAs from outside the division is rare. At this time, the Division of Biological Sciences is not accepting applications from non-students.

Undergraduate Students

For more information on opportunities for UC San Diego undergraduates, please visit the page on Undergraduate Opportunities.

Eligibility

In order to assist as a Graduate Instructional Apprentice or Teaching Assistant, students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units (upper-division and/or graduate level) at UC San Diego during the quarter of assignment. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of six units in spring quarter to be eligible for summer positions.  Prior qualifying experience as a Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice (as evidenced by a passing grade in BISP 195, CHEM 195, or BGGN 500) or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment in another department at UC San Diego is required for consideration for paid Teaching Assistant positions.

GIA/TA Performance Expectations

Actual duties for a particular course may vary and will be defined by the supervising instructor. Typical duties may include:

  • Attend lectures
  • Lead discussion section(s) or lab section(s)
  • Hold office hours
  • Assist with development of exams
  • With faculty oversight, develop new (written) course material for use in discussion sections/ homework/ exams/quizzes/ review sessions
  • Proctor and grade exams
  • Meet regularly with the instructor
  • Assist with course management
  • Mentor undergraduate instructional assistants
  • Other applicable duties as assigned by the instructor
  • 12-20 hours per week (average)

Performance Evaluations and Standards

All Instructional Assistants are evaluated by the instructor of the course and by the students enrolled in the course via online evaluation surveys conducted at the end of the quarter.

GIA/TA Workload

A typical Instructional Assistant (GIA/TA) assignment with the Division of Biological Sciences is a 30-50% appointment, or a total workload of 132-220 hours over 12 weeks. Most of the hours are accrued during the 10-week quarter and finals week.  If required, instructors will inform IAs of the need to assist in the pre-quarter week.

BGGN 500 Series

Each BGGN 500 series course will have an in-class component led by a faculty member with expertise in evidence-based teaching methods and biology education research, as well as an apprentice teaching component.  All students enrolled in BGGN 500 attend a weekly seminar.  All BGGN 500 series grades are based upon both the seminar and practicum (instructional apprentice duties) participation.

Training

Qualifying experience as a Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprentice (as evidenced by a passing grade in BISP 195, CHEM 195, or BGGN 500) or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment in another department at UC San Diego is required for consideration for paid Teaching Assistant positions.  Students assisting for the first time in a lab course must also attend a one-time Safety Training for Laboratory Instructional Assistants and complete other online safety training requirements.

Employment Information

  • A Division of Biological Sciences’ Payroll Specialist will contact you by email if you must attend an employee sign-up session.
  • Graduate students employed in Teaching Assistant title code 2310 are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between UC San Diego and the ASE/UAW. 
  • 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.
  • Graduate students with academic appointments totaling 25% time or more are entitled to a full Graduate Student Health Insurance Premium Remission, and Tuition and Student Services Fee Remission, and other applicable benefits as set forth in the ASE/UAW Agreement. Please review the ASE/UAW Agreement for the specific eligibility requirements and amounts of each remission.
  • Names and addresses of all ASEs are released to the UAW each quarter as a condition of employment in the represented title codes.
  • ASE/UAW membership dues or agency fees will be deducted from the paycheck.
  • See the Graduate Division website for additional information concerning Academic Student Employment (ASE).

Application (MS)

Apply here for BILD 4, Spring 2017

Apply here for all other classes, Spring 2017

Questions? Send them to biota@ucsd.edu