TA Appointments

Individual departments establish their own procedures for appointing and reappointing TAs, as well as determining specific TA assignments, which may include:

  • teaching your own class;
  • leading a recitation/discussion/laboratory section;
  • grading;
  • laboratory supervision; or
  • other academic duties as dictated by need.

  • Notification of a TA appointment is made by the department in a letter
    • that sets out the basic terms of employment
    • Students are expected to respond to this letter as soon as possible, whether accepting or refusing the appointment.
  • The term of appointment for teaching assistants is from August 25 to Commencement
    • for payroll purposes runs from September 1 to June 30
  • all standard appointments are made for one year only
  • Appointment to a teaching assistantship one year does not guarantee reappointment the next year.
  • All questions about reappointment should be directed to your graduate program administrator or director

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Hours and Duties

A full-time teaching assistant works normally at the maximum rate of fifteen clock hours per week (average your total hours worked for the semester by the number of weeks—some weeks, especially around exams, require more work while other weeks require less). The number of hours varies according to the time of semester. For example, TAs who are hired as graders should expect to put in more hours during those times of the semester when exams or papers are scheduled.

If you are unhappy with your assigned duties or feel overburdened by the amount of work and time you are expected to invest, try talking to other TAs within your own department to see if your experience is unusual and your expectations are realistic. (It is unrealistic to compare the workload of one department to another; because of the variety of duties and the disparity of disciplinary demands, what is usual in one program is by no means a measure for any other.) Discuss the cause of your displeasure with the department chair to see if changes can be made for the next semester. Most faculty members are sympathetic to the problems of the TA and try to be fair in their assignments.

If you feel, however, that you are being asked to perform duties which are inappropriate, or that you are being exploited or overburdened, do not suffer in silence. Speak to someone. You should not be putting in so many hours as a TA that your graduate work suffers. Your advisor is a good person to begin with, but if you get no satisfaction there, you should make an appointment with the course or department chair. If that does not help, then try one of the deans of the Graduate School, who can determine whether your complaint is valid and, if so, help you resolve the problem. TAs should not be required to run personal errands for faculty or staff, or to work for so many hours that they are unable to complete their own work. Recognize the fact that you can say no to a faculty member who is overwhelming you with work. You are a professional and deserve to be treated like one.

Salary and Benefits

In addition to a salary, paid every two weeks during the contract year, the full-time TA at Rutgers is entitled to a variety of benefits, such as health and life insurance, dental insurance (an optional benefit for which the TA must pay a portion of the cost), and tuition remission.

Full tuition remission is given to all TAs on standard appointments; this will cover up to twelve credits a semester and six credits during the summer following a full-year appointment. In order to take advantage of this benefit, TAs must submit a completed RT100 form when registering for summer session. The RT100 must be signed by the department where the assistantship is held which may or may not be your home department. RT100 forms are available from the cashier's office, your program administrator, or online.

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Getting Paid

Certain information must be entered into the university computer system before a paycheck can be issued; without this information, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get paid. Be diligent in completing and prompt in returning the forms the department mails to you, since it may take up to six weeks to activate a new name in the payroll system. If you have any questions, check with your department administrator.

International TAs must report to the Center for Global Services in order to complete the proper payroll forms. Contact the Center to learn the scheduled times for processing employment verifications (I-9s); this cannot be done on a walk-in basis. Until international teaching assistants complete employment verifications, their payroll papers cannot be processed (see information about the Center for Global Services).

Many students already have a United States Social Security number. If you do not, apply for one immediately. This is one piece of information required by the payroll department, without which you cannot be paid. If a problem arises at the beginning of the semester and your paycheck is delayed, speak to the department administrator to find out whom to contact in order to trace your check. If necessary, the department administrator may be able to process a request for an emergency check. Since this entails even more paperwork, however, it is best to try to get everything straightened out before the semester begins. Checks are distributed through the department on alternate Fridays, or you can arrange to have your checks deposited directly into your bank account by filling out the necessary form. Payments begin in September. For TAs appointed for the fall term only, payments run from September through January. TAs appointed for spring term only are paid on alternate Fridays beginning in February and running through June.

Health Benefits

Off-Campus

In addition to the Rutgers Health Service, the university offers a variety of benefit plans from which all full-time TAs may select. To be covered you must fill out the necessary forms including a State Health Benefits Application at the beginning of the semester.

For information regarding medical plan choices, prescription drug plans, and dental coverage information call the Benefits Office 848-932-3990.

On-Campus

Comprehensive group health care facilities are available to students on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campuses. All full-time students are entitled to use the Rutgers Health Service, and TAs on standard appointments are considered full-time. (A standard teaching assistantship counts as six E credits, which combine with your other credits to give full-time status (see E-Credits). Appointments are required by the health centers.

To establish a medical file and make treatment more efficient, try to use the same center for all of your visits. Because Hurtado is the one center open all year, many resident students choose it as their primary facility.

The locations of the three student health centers for New Brunswick/Piscataway students are listed below. To make an appointment at any of the centers, call 848-932-7402:

Hurtado Health Center
11 Bishop Place, CAC
848-932-7402
Pharmacy 848-932-8033

Busch Livingston Health Center
110 Hospital Road
Livingston Campus
848-932-7402
Telepharmacy 848-445-3606

Cook Douglass Health Center
61 Dudley Road
Cook Campus
848-932-7402
Telepharmacy 848-932-8590

If the health centers are CLOSED you may call the RHS Advice Nurse Line at 1-800-890-5882

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E-Credits

Your teaching assistantship (standard appointment) carries with it six E credits. (Partial TA appointments have proportionally fewer E credits.) The E indicates that no credit has been earned toward the degree and no grade computed in the cumulative average. This means that if you are registered for at least 3 other credits of coursework or research you maintain full-time status in the university, thus insuring that you receive all the benefits of a full-time student.