Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Guidelines

The CMST faculty and administration understand that your first priority must be your academic work. Graduate assistantships are designed to help you in your pursuit of an advanced degree. Should you find that your teaching responsibilities interfere with your academic studies, you should consult your main advisor or course supervisor. Either one will try to help you organize your time and work so that your duties as an assistant will not interfere with your graduate study. Your second priority is to the students enrolled in the classes you have been assigned and are paid to teach. Your responsibility to the students should take priority over extra-curricular events, activities, and interests. Lastly, you have a responsibility to fulfill teaching-related duties, such as attending staff meetings, maintaining office hours, and providing the department with certain materials and information related to teaching.

Award of Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Assistantships are awarded on the basis of the admission requirements outlined on page 4 of this guide. The more superior the student’s prior academic record, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and experience, the more likely she or he will receive an assistantship. All students who have been accepted into the doctoral program, including those who have been awarded MA degrees by the CMST department, will compete on an equal basis for available assistantships. Teaching slots will not be reserved in advance for MA students who elect to go on for the doctorate within the department. Louisiana State University assures equal opportunity for all qualified persons without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or veteran's status in the admission to, participation in, treatment in, or enrollment in the program and activities which the university operates. With respect to disabled persons, all reasonable accommodations will be made to assist the individual to perform the essential functions of the job in question.

Renewal of Graduate Teaching Assistantships

All graduate students are evaluated annually by the CMST graduate faculty and assistantships are awarded, renewed, or revoked based on that evaluation. MA students may have their assistantship renewed for 1 additional year, resulting in 2 years of funding. and doctoral students may have their assistantship renewed for 3 additional years, resulting in 4 years of funding.

Required Hours

Graduate teaching assistants are required to carry no less than 9 and no more than 12 hours of graduate credit during the fall and spring semesters. The Dean of the Graduate School will not approve any drops below 9 hours in the fall and spring for any reason. If a student teaches during the summer as a graduate teaching assistant, she or he must take no less than 6 hours of graduate credit.

Payment Schedule

The university issues pay checks for teaching assistants on or around the 21st of the month from September to May.

Policy for Time Limits on Funding Doctoral Students

  • Doctoral students will be eligible for departmental funding for the first four years after they are admitted into the program, irrespective of whether they receive funding on being admitted.
  • Students who receive funding in their first year may potentially be funded on a departmental teaching assistantship for four years, although this support is contingent upon maintaining professional standards in teaching and scholarship.
  • Students who first receive funding in their second or third years will be eligible for departmental funding until the end of the fourth year in the program, not the fourth year of funding. They are encouraged to apply for external funding from the University, fellowships, or grants.
    • A student funded for the first time in his or her second year may receive a maximum of three years of departmental funding
    • A student funded for the first time in the third year is eligible for two years
    • A student funded for the first time in the fourth year is eligible for one year of departmental support
  • Students who accept alternative funding (e.g., fellowships or research appointments on grants) within the four year period will typically not receive additional funding from the department after this. This is especially true for dissertation fellowships because applicants must commit to completing their degree in the following year.
  • Students who resign assistantships for other reasons (e.g., health or family considerations) must reapply for an assistantship when they plan on returning to the program full-time.
  • Occasionally, departmental circumstances may permit us to appoint a doctoral student for the fifth year. A decision to do so (or a decision to appoint one student rather than another) will be based on the following considerations:
    • Only students who have a completed and approved prospectus will be eligible for additional funding.
    • Priority will be given to students who are
      • Closer to completing their dissertation
      • Judged to be stronger teachers (based on student evaluations, grade distributions, submitted syllabi, course director evaluations, teaching philosophy)
      • Stronger in scholarly activity (articles, convention presentations)
      • Stronger departmental citizens