Graduate School

Teaching at Brown

Teaching is an integral part of the graduate experience at Brown, and most students are expected to teach as part of their professional training and scholarly apprenticeship.

As a teaching assistant (TA), the student is responsible for assisting faculty members both inside and outside the classroom on projects related to the instruction of a particular course. TAs do not bear primary responsibility for the course; rather, their role is to assist faculty as necessary.

TA Duties

The duties of a TA vary across courses and departments and may include:

  • Some classroom experience
  • Presentation of occasional lectures
  • Leading discussion sections
  • Preparing and supervising labs 
  • Conducting tutorials
  • Holding office hours
  • Grading papers, problem sets, quizzes, and examinations

Departments make every effort to assign graduate students to courses according to their interests, broadly defined; however, the need to cover courses and to broaden student teaching experiences may also affect teaching assignments. A full appointment usually requires at least 18 hours of work per week, but should not exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week in any given week.

Appointments are made on an annual or semester basis on the recommendation of the program. Double appointments are not allowed.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students who serve as Teaching Assistants receive tuition, health insurance, the health services fee, and a stipend.

Teaching Fellows

Teaching fellows are advanced students with teaching experience who are responsible for the design and teaching of their own course. Eligibility for Teaching Fellows varies across departments. Appointments are made by the Graduate School on the basis of departmental recommendations.

Doctoral students who serve as Teaching Fellows receive tuition, health insurance, the health services fee, and a stipend that is slightly higher than the stipend received by TAs.