VIII. Graduate Student Academic Appointments

Information on Graduate Student Academic Appointments

Academic apprentice positions provide the single largest source of UCSC graduate student support. They also constitute an important aspect of graduate training under the guidance of UCSC faculty. All students who receive academic appointment positions must be enrolled graduate students.


To be eligible for any academic appointment, graduate students must be:

• Currently registered and in good academic standing.

• Chosen for academic appointment on the basis of high scholastic standing.

• Certified as having language proficiency in spoken English if their native language is not English.

Terms and Conditions

Appointment or reappointment may be for a period of one year or less. Graduate students holding these academic appointments should be under the direction of a UCSC faculty member. Graduate students in teaching appointments may not supervise or evaluate other graduate students.

Students who are appointed to Associate In ___, Teaching Fellow and Teaching Assistant titles fall under an agreement between The Regents of the University of California and the Association of Student Employees, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), and AFL-CIO pursuant to the provisions of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA). Departments are required to post on the campus web site vacancies in these titles.

50% Employment

During academic sessions, graduate students may not be employed in any capacity by the University beyond a maximum of fifty percent service time. The purpose of the University-wide policy is to limit the amount of time graduate students spend on University activities that do not lead directly to the successful completion of their academic programs. Exceptions are rarely granted; experience has shown that service obligations in excess of 20 hours per week, on average, almost always have an adverse effect on a student's academic progress. Also, graduate students employed more than fifty percent time cannot be counted as full-time students for budgetary purposes. Lastly INS regulations prohibit the employment of International Graduate Students in excess of 50% time during the academic year.

Four Year Rule

The total length of time a student may hold any one or a combination of the following titles may not exceed four years (12 quarters): Reader, Teaching Fellow, Teaching Assistant, Associate In ___. Under special circumstances, an exception may be granted for additional appointments beyond 12 quarters System-wide regulation does not permit graduate student appointment beyond 18 quarters.

The Training of Academic Apprentices

The Graduate Division encourages all departments to train graduate students to teach and serve as Teaching Assistants. Departments may promote professional preparation of their students by offering classes, colloquia, and workshops to ensure effective teaching and professional development. All departments should ensure that students are well-prepared to assume the responsibilities for teaching undergraduates. In addition, new TAs should attend orientations held prior to the start of the fall quarter.

Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP)

All graduate students are assessed a quarterly fee for mandatory Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP) unless the student has opted out of the program with the Cowell Health Center. Students obtain waivers by demonstrating to Cowell Health Center that they have comparable coverage under another health insurance policy. Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Associates In, and Graduate Student Researchers who have appointments of 25% time or greater will have the fee covered for them either by UCSC or by their hiring professor the quarter of their appointment. GSHIP provides year-round and worldwide coverage.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Appointment Title

A Graduate Student Researcher is a full-time registered UCSC graduate student appointed to assist in performing research under the direction of a ladder-rank faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator.

Terms and Conditions (GSR)

GSRs are selected for high achievement and promise as creative scholars; they may collaborate in the publication of research results as determined by supervising faculty members. GSRs may not be assigned teaching, administrative, or general assistance duties. A graduate student must be registered in the previous spring quarter to be eligible for a summer GSR appointment. The Dean of the Graduate Division must approve all exceptions to appointment criteria.

No appointment as a Graduate Student Researcher, either by itself or in combination with other University employment, shall exceed half time (twenty hours per week) during an academic quarter. Graduate Student Researchers may work more than half time between quarters (including summer) without an exception.

Fee and Tuition Remission for GSRs

Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) qualify for full fee and tuition remission if they are appointed for at least 25%, in all GSR appointments combined, over the three months of the quarter. Full fee and tuition remission includes the payment of fees, health insurance for all eligible students, and nonresident tuition if applicable.

These benefits must be paid from the funding source that pays the student’s salary. Fellowship funds may not be used for this purpose. The cost of these benefits will be charged to the funding source quarterly. Please note, if a student’s fees/health insurance/nonresident tuition are being paid by an external funding agency (e.g., foreign government, private agency), they are not eligible for fee remission benefits.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Appointment Title

A Teaching Assistant is a registered graduate student in full-time residence, chosen for excellent scholarship and for promise as a teacher, and serving an apprenticeship under the active tutelage and supervision of a regular faculty member.

Terms and Conditions for TAs

The department chair, acting upon nominations made by department members, is authorized to appoint TAs. However, the Dean of the Graduate Division must approve all exceptions to appointment criteria.

The selection, supervision, and training of all TAs are important responsibilities of the teaching department, and in particular the department chair. All candidates for appointment and reappointment should be subjected to careful review and recommendation.

The TA is not responsible for the instructional content of a course, for selection of student assignments, for planning of examinations, or for determining the term grade for students. A TA should not be assigned responsibility for instructing the entire enrollment of a course or for providing the entire instruction of a group of students enrolled in a course. The TA is, instead, responsible for the conduct of recitation, laboratory, or quiz sections under the active direction and supervision of a regular member of the faculty to whom final responsibility for the course’s entire instruction, including the performance of TAs, has been assigned.

Fee and Tuition Remission for TAs

Teaching Assistants whose appointment is at least 25% time qualify for a partial fee remission and payment of health insurance.

Teaching Assistant Emergency Loan

Loans are available to teaching assistants only during the first quarter of the teaching assistant appointment for the current academic year. Loan amounts may range from $100 to a maximum of $1,000. There is a charge of 1% interest for each $100 borrowed. The loan will be automatically repaid by deductions in three equal amounts from the first three paychecks.

The Associate In ______ Title

An Associate provides instruction in a course.

Terms and Conditions for Associates In ______

Minimum qualifications for this position require the possession of a master’s degree or equivalent training and at least one year of teaching experience. All Associate appointments require the review and approval of the Graduate Dean.

Fee and Tuition Remission for Associates In ______

Associates In _____, whose appointment is at least 25% time qualify for a partial fee remission and payment of health insurance.

Teaching Fellows

A Teaching Fellow is a registered graduate student in full-time residence who has advanced to candidacy for the doctorate, or otherwise has achieved appropriate professional maturity, and who has been chosen because of competence to conduct the entire instruction of a group of students in a lower division course under the general supervision of a regular faculty member.

Terms and Conditions for Teaching Fellows

(1) Advancement to candidacy for the doctorate, and

(2) At least two years of teaching experience (including that of a teaching assistantship) in or outside the University.

(3) If the appointment is to a teaching fellowship in a professional school, the following conditions may be substituted for those stated in (1) and (2) above:

(a) A Master’s degree in the field offered by the professional school, and

(b) At least two years of teaching or appropriate professional experience.

Subject to the general supervision of a faculty member designated in catalogues and published schedules as “in charge” of the course, a Teaching Fellow should be competent to provide the entire instruction of a lower division course to a group of students, and normally should be given such assignments. Assignment to conduct instruction in an upper division or graduate course or course section may not be made except with the approval of the Committee on Educational Policy or Graduate Council.

Fee and Tuition Remission for Teaching Fellows

Teaching Fellows whose appointment is at least 25% time qualify for a partial fee remission and payment of health insurance.