Teaching Assistant Positions


Frequently Asked Questions


When should I start looking for available TAships?

Positions for the subsequent semester begin to be posted and advertised 3-4 months in advance, and the application window is usually open for about two weeks. So, keep a watchful eye out for listserv emails from the main office regarding the availability of these positions. The Graduate Secretary will typically post Winter GTAs and Sessional Positions during the last week of October or the first week of November, and Fall GTAs and Sessional Positions will be posted around the first week of April.

When positions open up, refer to the FAQs section in the Sessional TA webpage on how to apply ("Applying to a TA Job").

It seems hard to get a TA position in the department; why is that?

We have funding for about 35 full TA positions every year, which we split into 70 "half" (70-hour) TAships in order to provide as many opportunities for you as possible. However, there are over 150 of you, and students outside the department can apply for ABSc TAships too. Therefore, they are competitive to obtain. Also, you must follow the instructions in your applications, tailoring each application to that specific TA-ship, if you are to have a chance.

Where or how do I apply for TAships?

Go to the TA and Sessional Lecturers website where you can search for TA positions by department. You will need to make a profile that includes your "seniority points" (i.e. if you have never had a TA position before, you would have 0 points; each TA position is worth 1 point). You can apply for up to four positions at once, and in any department (e.g. Plant Agriculture, Population Medicine, etc. regularly advertise TAships that ABSc students may be qualified for).

If you are applying to positions in more than one department, or that are vastly different in their requirements, then it is a good idea to fill out more than one application because your answers to the long answer questions should be specific to each position and its "required" & "preferred" qualifications (see below).

How do they get allocated? Are there rules?

Since TA employees are part of a union (CUPE) and a collective agreement is in place, there are strict rules about how they are allocated (the rules for 2013-2016 are posted here)

For each and every post, students who are still "within program" (e.g. have been an M.Sc. student for fewer than 7 semesters, or a Ph.D. student for fewer than 10 semesters) get priority.

  • Each post should come with clearly specified "required qualifications" (the bare minimum attributes or experience that someone has to have to be awarded this TAship) plus "preferred qualifications" (extra criteria beyond the bare minimum). Your application should clearly state which you have (with evidence). Applicants who are within program, and who have both the required and all of the preferred qualifications, get priority over all other applicants. If there is only one such applicant, they will be awarded the TAship, while if there are more than one, the student with the most "seniority points" will get it. If no candidate has the required and all the preferred qualifications, then the next to be considered will be any that have the required and some of the preferred qualifications. Again, if there are more than one of these, the person with the most seniority points wins. If no candidate has the required and some preferred qualifications, then the next applicants to be considered will be any that have just the minimum qualifications (and again, if there is more than one candidate, the person with the most seniority points wins).
  • If no student within the program has even the minimum qualifications, then the professor/instructor will start looking at the students who are outside of the program and follow the same process all over again.
  • If you feel that the required qualifications and preferred qualifications aren't sufficiently clear, you should ask for clarification. If you think a hiring process has not followed this procedure, you should talk to Wendy, Diana or the Department Chair (followed by CUPE if you're still not happy).

How else can I get teaching experience?

There are other ways to get teaching experience: see the Professional Development page.