Graduate Teaching Assistantships
Applicants for admission to the three programs in English--Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Fine Arts (MFA)--may apply for a departmental Teaching Assistantship.
In the MA English and MS Technical Communication programs, we are able to offer assistantships to approximately one third of applicants. Assistantships are awarded upon admission and are only available for full-time students who begin their graduate work in the fall semester. To be considered for an assistantship, you must apply by the Feb.1 deadline.
In the MFA Creative Writing program, all admitted students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher are offered assistantships. To be considered for an assistantship, you must apply by the Feb.1 deadline.
English Department TAs receive full tuition coverage along with health insurance and a modest annual stipend intended to help defray living expenses. Although tuition is paid in full, the arrangement does not cover university fees and other living expenses.
Teaching assignments are based on departmental need. Most TAs in the MA and MFA programs will prepare to teach composition in the First-Year Writing Program (ENG 101). A smaller number of teaching appointments are available in creative writing, professional writing, the writing center, linguistics, and film studies. Follow the links below for descriptions of Teaching Assistantships in these programs:
Most GTAs in the MA and MFA programs will prepare to teach ENG 101--Academic Writing and Research in the First-Year Writing Program (FYWP). They assist ENG 101 faculty in the first year, participate in a one-week planning workshop the following summer, and teach their own sections in the second year. If you have an assistantship in the FYWP, you’ll follow the sequence of activities outlined below.
First year, Fall semester: Enroll in ENG 511--Composition Theory and Research*, in either the fall or spring semester of your first year. This course introduces prospective instructors to the theoretical and research scholarship that grounds current practices in writing pedagogy. Also in this first semester, you’ll participate in meetings with FYWP Associate Director Casie Fedukovich to prepare for the mentoring semester. You’ll also help plan and lead campus activities celebrating the National Day on Writing in October, under the leadership of the Associate Director.
First year, Spring semester: Shadow and assist a full-time Lecturer in an ENG 101 class. TAs attend all class meetings of their mentor’s ENG101, in addition to attending weekly cohort meetings, maintaining a reflective teaching journal, and participating in ongoing programmatic professional development workshops. You will gain experience in these areas: designing and teaching mini lessons; designing and teaching whole class sessions; designing and teaching extended lessons across class days; conferencing with students (individually or in groups); and conducting formal and informal assessment. Mentors file mid-term and end-of-term readiness evaluations for each TA, reviewed by the Associate Director.
Summer following first year: Participate in week-long course design workshop in May (directly following finals) to prepare to teach your own 101 course in the fall.
Second year, Fall semester: Teach one section of ENG 101 (4 credit hours). Enroll in ENG 624--Teaching College Composition*; this is the pedagogy practicum that supports the teaching cohort. Participate in FYWP professional development workshops. Mentors from the first year conduct classroom observations.
Second year, Spring semester: Teach one section of ENG 101. Participate in FYWP professional development workshops.
*ENG 511 and ENG 624 are 3-credit-hour graduate courses that may be used to fulfill open elective requirements in the MA or MFA program. In some MA concentrations, ENG 511 satisfies a distribution requirement.
Around half of the MFA students will prepare to teach undergraduate courses in Creative Writing. In the first year they shadow an instructor teaching ENG 287—Explorations in Creative Writing—in preparation for teaching their own sections in the second year. If you have an assistantship in Creative Writing, you’ll follow the sequence of activities outlined below.
First Year: Be prepared to attend an ENG 287 course in either the fall or spring semester of your first year. This mentored teaching experience prepares students to teach Creative Writing (287, 288 Fiction Writing, or 289 Poetry Writing) through observation and participation. TAs attend all class meetings, assist regularly as needed, meet periodically with the professor for mentoring and feedback, and participate in weekly cohort meetings on-line. You will gain experience in these areas: designing and teaching a full class lecture and creating an exercise on a specific craft technique; teaching a workshop across 2 class days; conferencing with students (individually or in groups); and responding to student writing.
In whichever semester you do not attend the ENG 287 course, you will informally visit and observe the classrooms of tenure-track faculty and second-year TA’s teaching ENG 287-8-9.
Summer following first year: Prepare a syllabus for 287, 288, or 289 and meet with supervising teacher for discussion and approval.
Second Year: Teach a total of three sections (9 credit hours) of ENG 287, 288 or 289. You’ll be scheduled to teach one section in fall and two in spring or vice versa. MFA faculty will conduct classroom observations.
TAs also support the teaching mission of the Creative Writing program in other ways, including
program assistance (website support, communication, publicity for events), special projects (research to support program initiatives), teaching technologies (utilizing smart classroom projects). TAs might be asked to facilitate a well-planned class activity for a professor who is away at a conference or presenting a reading.
GTAs in the MS in Technical Communication program train to become instructors of record for ENG 331 (Communication for Engineering and Technology), ENG 332 (Communication for Business and Management), or ENG 333 (Communication for Science and Research).
GTAs participate in two semesters of observation, training, and preparation in their first year. The training is completed in conjunction with the Graduate School’s Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching (CoAT) Program. GTAs in the MS in Tech Comm Program complete a specialized track in CoAT for Professional Writing and earn a transcript notation for successfully completing this program. More specific details are available on the Inquiry-Guided TA Training page located at:
Here is a brief overview of the TA training process and experience:
· First year, Fall semester: Enroll in CoAT program, participate in CoAT orientation through the Graduate School, meet with your TA Mentor, observe experienced teacher(s), attend PW seminars, complete the Inquiry-Guided TA Training program.
· First year, Spring semester: Continue to attend PW seminars and CoAT training, practice grading and participate in grade norming, practice delivering a full class session, create online resources and course materials, get comfortable with classroom technology.
· Second year, Fall semester: Teach ENG 331, ENG 332, or ENG 333 and participate in observations including pre-and post-meetings. GTAs teach a total of three sections (9 credit hours) in their second year; you’ll be scheduled to teach one section in fall and two in spring or vice versa. In the semester that you teach two classes, you will enroll in ENG 685 (MR Supervised Teaching) for 3 credit hours, the outcome of which will be a teaching portfolio.
· Second year, Spring semester: Review ClassEvals. Teach ENG 331 or ENG 332 and participate in observations including pre-and post-meetings. Complete work for CoAT including portfolio.
TAs in the MSTC program also contribute to our teaching, research, and outreach missions in other ways during their four semesters at NC State. Examples of such activities may include:
- providing program assistance (website support, social media coordination, administrative support for MSTC and the Professional Writing program)
- participating in special projects (research to support program initiatives), and
- taking leadership roles in the Technical Communication Association student association (event planning, assisting with the annual SpeedCon Unconference).
Students in the Rhetoric and Composition concentration of the MA English are eligible for appointment as a Graduate Assistant (GA) with the University Tutorial Center’s writing support services. This assistantship is designed as an administrative internship under the direction of Dr. Wendy VanDellon, Assistant Director and Coordinator of Writing Support Services for UTC. [ This assistantship option is not available 2017-2018.]
The GA will split their time between consulting in the Graduate Writing Center (GWC) and assisting with the administration of the undergraduate writing center, currently named Writing and Speaking Tutorial Services (WSTS). If you have an assistantship with the UTC, you will follow the sequence of activities below:
First year, Fall semester: Participate in consultant training, staff meetings, and development activities, and consult in the GWC. Meet with and shadow the Assistant Director as needed to become familiar with WSTS administration.
First year, Spring semester: Consult in the GWC. Shadow and assist the Assistant Director with WSTS administration and the undergraduate consultant training course, USC 210. Meet weekly with the Assistant Director to explore and familiarize yourself with current writing center research and theory. At the end of this semester you will propose a WSTS project to be completed during the second year of the assistantship.
Second Year, Fall and Spring: Consult in the GWC. Attend, and teach, lessons in the USC 210 course. Participate in WSTS administration and meet with the Assistant Director as appropriate. Implement your proposed WSTS project in the fall semester. Assess and report on the results of your project by the end of the spring semester.
Students in the Linguistics concentration of the MA English are eligible for appointment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) with the Linguistics faculty. Two such appointments are available each year. Alternatively, Linguistics students may be offered assistantships in the First-Year Writing Program.
The Linguistics GTA assists faculty teaching undergraduate linguistics courses, with assignments coordinated by the program director. Ordinarily, Linguistics TAs will serve as TAs for three different courses during their two years at NCSU: ENG 210 (Introduction to Language and Linguistics), ENG 326 (History of English), and either ENG 324 (Modern English Syntax) or another linguistics course such as ENG 525 (Variety in Language) or ENG 584 (Ethnolinguistics). These courses have been selected in large part because they are the courses that students are most likely to be asked to teach if they enter the college teaching profession later in their careers, though program needs may also figure into assignments. TAs consult regularly with faculty mentors and perform tasks as needed for the class, such as:
- Attending class whenever possible and taking careful notes on the lectures—not just on the content, but on how the faculty mentor teaches it. This is crucial so that the TA has materials with which to teach a similar course in the future.
- Filling in for the faculty mentor on occasion if needed. The TA may also have opportunities to lecture when the faculty mentor is present.
- Helping with in-class exercises and assisting students in the process.
- Collecting and keeping records of daily attendance.
- Grading homework assignments, quizzes, and tests.
- Recording homework, quiz, and test grades in a spreadsheet and sending updates of it to the faculty mentor periodically.
- Holding regular office hours during which students can meet with the TA.
- Assisting the faculty mentor in other ways, as needed.
The Linguistics program may utilize TAs in support of our teaching, research, and outreach mission in other ways, such as program assistance, special projects, and technological assistance. Examples of such activities include staffing the linguistics booth at the North Carolina State Fair, assessing video documentaries, preparing equipment for fieldwork, updating the interview archive (SLAAP), working with faculty on research projects and presenting them at academic conferences, and participating in the annual dialect curriculum teaching in Ocracoke. TAs also customarily serve, with pay, as proctors for the Linguistics Laboratory (Tompkins 204).
Students in the Film Studies concentration of the MA English are eligible for appointment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) with the Film Studies faculty. One such appointment is available each year. Alternatively, Film Studies students may be offered assistantships in the First-Year Writing Program.
The Film Studies GTA assists faculty teaching undergraduate film courses, with assignments coordinated by the program director. Whenever feasible, Film TAs will have opportunities to work with different faculty members in each of their four semesters. Supervising instructors provide the TA with opportunities to observe and participate in the following aspects of teaching film:
- delivering a lecture and leading discussion
- writing and/or grading written assignments
- meeting individually with students to work on assignments, including papers
The GTA meets regularly with the faculty mentor to discuss the course and receive feedback on his or her performance. The Director of Film Studies also observes the TA leading a class or a portion of a class session at least once in their first three semesters.
The Film program may utilize TAs in support of our teaching mission in other ways, including:
program assistance (website support, communication, publicity for events, archiving holdings),
special projects (research to support program initiatives), teaching technologies (dubbing clips for classes, and supervising production projects). TA’s might be asked to run a screening for an absent professor (i.e. one travelling to present a paper at a conference) or to facilitate another well-planned activity.
University and Department Definitions and Expectations
Teaching Assistantships at NCSU are defined by the Graduate School as one-half-time appointments. The workload in English thus averages about 20 hours per week. Depending on teaching assignment, this workload may be somewhat lighter in the first year, when TAs are beginning their training and assisting other instructors, and heavier in the second year, when they may be teaching classes of their own.
In the first year, TAs must earn 18 graduate credit hours in English to be eligible to teach their own ENG classes in the second year. (This requirement does not pertain to TAs who will not be teaching their own courses.)
Reappointment to a second year of an assistantship requires successful progress toward the degree as measured by maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA, the completion before the fall of the second year of 18 hours of credit in courses carrying letter grades, and the recommendation of those who have taught and supervised the TA during the initial year.
If you have been awarded a Teaching Assistantship, see this page for details about your first year: Essential Information for Teaching Assistants