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jaaaayciee

Are TA positions offered to Master's Students?

20 posts in this topic

Each TA that I've known are all working for their PhD, compared to just their Master's Degree. I'm kind of counting on getting offered a TA position, but are they not offered for those working on their Master's Degrees?

If so, are the qualifications the same as those who are working for their PhD?

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This would depend on the school so there isn't going to be a definitive answer that we can give you. Often it's the case that there are more students interested in TAing than open positions, and in that case the question becomes how to prioritize who gets positions. One way to go about it is to say PhD students before MA students, in which case in some schools it may mean that MA students hardly ever get TAships. Or they may say more senior students before junior ones, or in-field students before others, or more experienced ones before less experienced ones, or anything else that would make sense. Bottom line is you would need to find out how things work at the particular school you have in mind. 

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4 hours ago, jaaaayciee said:

Each TA that I've known are all working for their PhD, compared to just their Master's Degree. I'm kind of counting on getting offered a TA position, but are they not offered for those working on their Master's Degrees?

If so, are the qualifications the same as those who are working for their PhD?

Unless you've been offered a position, I wouldn't count on it. As for qualifications for being a TA, it can range from having a pulse to being able to teach the class of you had to.

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It really is discipline-specific. I know that at many schools master's students serve as the lab instructors for introductory courses in chemistry, biology, geology, physics, etc. That said, often you can't be an instructor of record without a master's in hand, which limits options for scheduling master's students to TA positions. I know that there were MA students in sociology, geography, and anthropology with TA positions at my graduate institutions. YMMV obviously.

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If you are offered TAship as a Master student. In addition: my friend was a Master-with-thesis working under a professor. That prof had some labs whose assistant position were vacant and my friend fortunately became the TA of that lab. No guarantee.

Edited by ShogunT

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I taught as instructor of record for both years of my MA (with no teaching exp), but, as everyone else has said, it's about the school/program needs and commitments. You can also seek out independent RA/GA positions with Writing Centers, ResLife,Tutoring Centers, ect.

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I was a TA as a master's student. The school didn't do it normally, but I asked my advisor (who I TA'd for), the registrar, and the dean - together they approved it and I got to be a TA (money+experience+CV cred). I got to co-teach an entry-level graduate course in my field and teach an undergrad course in a tangental field. I know this was a positive contribution to my PhD applications (I was told this by a couple of interviewers). 

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Chiming in here to add that I received a TAship as an MA student. Many of the students at my university receive TA/RA/GAships of some kind. It is possible and, in my experience, normally the department to which you are applying will state on their website what kind of assistantships are available and normally awarded to MA students. 

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Like everyone has said, it totally depends on your school/college. Though it is less common to find MA students as TA as compared to PHD student, my friend got to assist a professor's class while doing his masters. Check with your school to see if they have any set criteria for TAship 

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Just chiming in as well...

I am going for my MS and was offered a TA. I had applied back in April after being encouraged to do so by the program director and received the offer a couple weeks ago. Since I was out of the country at the time, I didn't get a chance to sign and submit the acceptance until today. I do not know what the specific school/department's normal offering of the position is. I was only told that they received many applications for a TA, although it also did not specify whether they were PhD students, Master's students, or a good mix of both.

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This is entirely dependent on the school/department. Be very careful. My department only has an MA, no PhD. Here, almost all first year MA students are given a year of funding up front. Almost none receive any funding after that, and have to pay for it out of pocket (I got lucky). Many schools won't tell you this so that you attend, then pull the funding out from under you just as you are halfway through the program.

Qualifications won't be any different from a PhD student, being a student in the department. Just try to keep your grades up, because as soon as they see a reason to, they will give your funding to newer students. Being a senior student doesn't mean anything if the department is using the funding as a way to recruit new students.

Again, this is entirely dependent on the department. Best to ask.

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I'm not sure where the previous poster is coming from, but that is an incredibly uncommon practice. While many MA programs only offer partial funding, or none at all, it's uncommon for them to not put up front how long your funding is for (1yr, 2yr, 4yr). Some can't guarantee a second year (because MAs are second priority in many cases behind PhDs) but to pull funding without warning from every 2nd year MA is just idiotic and going to lead to a bunch of people not finishing.

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@bhr I don't dispute that it is probably a rare practice, and I definitely don't dispute that it is an idiotic one. But it is an open and accepted one in the department I'm in right now. I'm amazed anyone finishes, but most students who enter the program here are finishing and some go on to PhD programs. The only reason I mention it here is as a cautionary tale. 

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It might depend on the field, as well as the level at which your institution operates. I attended a terminal master's program, so all graduate students that received funding were either GTAs or GRAs. I was the GTA for my advisor, which included independently designing and teaching a supplementary lab course to his introductory biological anthropology course. 

If you want funding at the master's level, terminal programs are your best bet. That's part of the reason I attended the program I did.

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Schools that only have a MA program and not a PhD program sometimes do.  I'm applying to a few schools with really research oriented programs that help set you up more for a PhD (although they are terminal programs, obviously).  They only have 6-8 people per cohort so its not as competitive for the assistantships and they apparently TA research lab , stat's or intro to (subject) classes. There are also opportunities to be research assistantship for professors. Its harder to find that set up if there is a PhD program above it, since typically the PhD students are favored and get more opportunities than the masters. 

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Posted (edited)

I applied for the PhD in Statistical Science at Indiana University Bloomington, but got accepted into the MSSS instead and they said I'd move to the PhD after the core courses are finished.  I was offered a TA.  So yes they are offered depending on which university you get admitted to and depending on their needs.

Edited by fiboniz

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I wasn't offered a TA but a GA position. So I also think it boils down to whether a school has only masters programs vs masters/PhD programs. So I agree with @Paloma . I also liked how my program offered funding for anyone who wanted it, it makes the environment less cut throat in my opinion.

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I also have a question re: TAship as well.

For the moment, I have a 10 hour/week guaranteed of RAship with my supervisor until the end of my master's studies. My career goal is to teach social work either in college or at university. So I wish I could have a TAship experience as well throughout my master's studies. Do you believe that doing both TAship and RAship in my 2nd year of study would be too much? Does anyone here do that? (I have zero classes in my second year except for working on my thesis and writing).

 

 

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This semester, I am teaching one class for 10 hours (office hours/grading added) and work 5 hours for a professor and 5 hours in the English department office for a total of 20 hours per week. I have one class and thesis hours this semester. It's been very busy. Would you be working 20 or 30 hours per week? A lot of people work fulltime and take grad classes, so I suppose it can be done. It just seems like a lot. Best to look at your RA contract. Some contracts won't allow any other work on campus without special permission.

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Technically, the school I'm attending in the fall gave me a GA (Graduate Assistantship) but I have to work 20 hours a week helping whomever I'm assigned in the Fall (won't know until I'm there) my primary responsibilities will be grading and possibly helping with a discussion or two if the prof isn't available. Full stipend & tuition waiver, 17K~/year (COL is low) for a two year program contingent on the fact I maintain at least a 3.0! 

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