Teaching Assistantships (current students only)

Students who serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) receive compensation in the following forms:

  • Credit or stipend
  • Health insurance
  • Tuition.

A number of Teaching Assistantships (TA-ships) are available to graduate students affiliated with SIPS.  If you are a continuing graduate student (M.S., M.S. /Ph.D., or Ph.D.) in SIPS and you are looking for teaching experience, or if you are looking for financial support, you can apply to serve as a TA in one of the many courses taught by SIPS. (View the application form.The list of courses needing TAs is included in the application.

See below for FAQ and other information on how to apply.

SIPS students are also eligible to serve as TAs in the Undergraduate Biology Program. Biology TAs assist in the instruction of Core Introductory Courses in Biology. Teaching in the biology program satisfies the teaching requirement for those fields having a teaching requirement. More information about Undergraduate Biology Program Teaching Assistantships.

TA Application Procedure

By completing this application, you will be considered for a Teaching Assistantship in one of the SIPS Courses.  The courses are conducted in a variety of different formats and consequently each instructor may have different expectations of their teaching assistants.  All courses require their TAs to have a good command of spoken and written English, organizational skills, and interpersonal demeanor.

TA applications are due by January 31, 2024, at 8am E.S.T. Review of applications and subsequent offers will begin immediately thereafter and continue until all positions are filled.  We anticipate filling all positions mid Spring semester.  In general, TAships are awarded in the spring for the following academic year.

You can find additional information about the rights and responsibilities of Graduate Students by reviewing Cornell University Policy 1.3 “Graduate Student Assistantships”. If you need additional information please contact the Graduate Field Coordinator for your home Graduate Field in SIPS.



Note:  these salary levels are for AY 2023-2024. New levels will be set in mid-February. We have been told they will likely be adjusted upwards.

  • Average number of hours required/week during teaching weeks: 15
  • Single-semester stipend: $16,247
  • Two-semester stipend (if offered): $32,494
  • Appointment period*    
    Fall appointment: August 21 – January 5
    Spring appointment: January 6 – May 20

*As per University Policy 1.3: “TA assignments follow the academic year calendar.  Because the academic calendar does not always correspond with the appointment periods, TAs should be informed that, when a semester either begins or ends outside that period, they may be required to fulfill teaching responsibilities outside of the appointment period

Double TAships: There are restrictions to serving a double TAship during a single semester.  Please review and follow the Graduate School’s Code of Legislation.  View the code in its entirety.

All students who are planning to TA or who would like to request TA support must submit an application by the stated application deadline. Even those students who have been promised a TA position in their initial offer must submit a TA application in order to be assigned to a TA appointment in the coming academic year. You can check on the status of your application by contacting the GFC for your home Field. Only SIPS Graduate students in non-professional degree programs (i.e., MS and PhD) are eligible to apply.

Fill out and submit the web-based application form. Your application will then be vetted to assure that you can serve as a TA, e.g., you are not on some other fellowship, in a graduate degree program that does not allow TAships, etc.

Mid December

  • TA solicitation for the coming academic year is released

January 31   

  • TA applications due

Early March

  • Initial TA appointments announced for the coming Academic Year
  • Applicants not receiving appointments remain on waitlist

May 1 - ongoing    

  • TA rebalancing to fill vacant TA positions for the Fall semester
  • Waitlisted applicants are given priority for open slots

May 15    

  • TA appointments finalized for the Fall semester

August 1 – ongoing    

  • TA rebalancing to fill vacant TA positions for the fall and spring semesters
  • Waitlisted applicants are given priority for open slots

August 15    

  • TA appointments finalized for the Spring semester

All assignments for each Section will be approved by the DGS and/or Chair of that Section. Your application will initially be reviewed by the DGS, GFC and/or Chair of your home Section/Field to be considered for TA assignments within your home Section. Following initial review by your DGS, GFC, or Chair, your application may also be considered by members of the SIPS Graduate Field Council to be considered for TA assignments in other SIPS sections. In some cases, your application may also be reviewed by course instructors. Those applicants that do not receive an initial TA assignment will be waitlisted. Each year some number of TA appointments are declined by students, due to the adventitious availability of grant and fellowship funding. Students on the waitlist will be given first priority for TA positions that become available when a TA assignment has been declined. Once all TA positions are filled the remaining applicants are dismissed from the waitlist. A new application needs to be made for each new academic year in which TA support is requested.

TA selection is based on multiple criteria and the weighting placed on each criterion will vary from year to year and from Section to Section based on the needs of instruction and the need to support all of our continuing graduate students. The two main priorities for TA selection are to ensure that: all of our MS and PhD students receive tuition and stipend support while they remain in good standing, and that all of our courses are well staffed by qualified TA’s. The following are criteria that will be considered in selecting individuals for assignment to TA positions:

  • applicant skills, training, and prior teaching experience
  • instructional needs of the course and instructor needs for support
  • applicant funding plan for the coming academic year
  • the availability of alternate sources of funding for the applicant
  • explicit guarantees of support which must be honored
  • the number of previous TA appointments the applicant has received
  • whether the applicant needs to TA to meet a teaching requirement
  • approval of the faculty adviser

If you are offered a TAship, you must accept it by the date give on the offer letter. Your failure to accept an offer by the specified deadline may preclude you being offered the same TAship again. If your situation changes, please let us know immediately. 

If your funding situation changes before and/or after you are offered a TA, e.g., your NSF GRFP/USDA-NIFA proposal is awarded or your Advisor is awarded funding, please let us know immediately so that we can either remove your application or assist in finding a suitable replacement. Bear in mind that some fellowships (e.g. NSF GRFP/USDA-NIFA) can be deferred or paused to enable you to take on a TAship, and some allow the student to combine the stipends. (See Stipends Rates policy.) Also, even if funded separately, a student can TA for credit. These options should be explored in a good faith effort to fulfill your obligation to TA once you accept an assignment. You may contact your Graduate Field Coordinator (Shelby, Karin, or Josh) regarding the status of your application.  If initially a position is not available, we will retain your application. Quite often slots become available even late in the spring and summer, and we will continue to make offers until all positions are filled.

To reiterate, only your DGS and/or GFC can make an official offer.  All conversations with course instructors or other members of the Cornell community are purely a preliminary review and those entities cannot make an offer.  Moreover, TAship offers can only be made to students in a research track paying contract college rates of tuition.  If you are in a professional graduate program, e.g., MPS, you will be excluded from consideration.


Can be found within the application form.