Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships

All AE PhD students are required to provide service to the University by holding a teaching assistantship (TA) of at least 25% in any Department while a graduate student in AE.  Normally, PhD students will be a TA in the AE Department; however, TA positions in TAM, MechSE, CS, etc., also satisfy the requirement.  Further, TA positions held by the student before he/she/they entered the AE PhD program, such as while working towards an AE MS or AE MEng degree, satisfy the requirement.  TA positions held by the student when he/she/they was not an AE graduate student do not satisfy the requirement.

Teaching assistants are appointed by the department. MS students cannot be supported by a teaching assistantship for more than four semesters and PhD students for more that two semesters. Teaching assistantships are not available for summer sessions. Typical duties assigned to teaching assistants include teaching laboratory courses or discussion sections of courses taught in the lecture-discussion format; preparing course materials such as problem sets, quizzes, and solution sets; grading homework and quizzes; and aiding in the development of new courses or laboratory experiments. Teaching assistants are also expected to schedule time for office hours each week for each class or section taught. A half-time assistant should expect to spend about twenty hours each week carrying out the assigned duties. Satisfactory performance of duties is determined by the faculty instructor in charge of the assignment and by the head of the department.

Although assistants on academic-year appointments are not entitled to vacations, the department permits teaching assistants to be absent during Fall Break and Spring Break or when classes are not in session between semesters, provided that they have completed their teaching duties.

The Graduate College's policy regarding assistantships can be found at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/assistantships. Some information from that site can be found below.

Academic Standing

To receive and hold an assistantship, a student must be in good standing (III.B.3).

Registration Requirements

In the fall and spring terms, students receiving assistantships must be registered for the semesters of appointment. If a student receives a summer assistantship (the period between May 16 and August 15), and the student was registered for the immediately preceding spring semester or has registered for the following fall semester, the campus policy does not require the student to register for the summer term.

English Proficiency Requirement

Illinois law requires that all instructors at the University of Illinois be orally proficient in English. Campus has established a minimum acceptable score for approved English proficiency exams that is required of all non-native speakers of English serving in instructional roles. There are no exceptions.

Please review Graduate College English Proficiency requirements for Teaching Assistants.

English requirements for admission differ from English requirements for TA eligibility. In order to be eligible for a TA and any type of funding that includes a TA, all non-native English speakers, regardless of citizenship status or prior enrollment at Illinois, must have a minimum of 24 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL or at least an 8 on the speaking portion of the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores must be taken within 2 years of admission to the program. This policy is required by the State of Illinois. Please be aware that meeting these requirements does not guarantee a TA appointment.

Tuition and Fee Waiver Information

Waiver-generating assistantship appointments are defined as appointments ranging from 25 percent through 67 percent time (based on a forty-hour week) for at least three-quarters of the academic term. The academic term is the period starting on the first day of classes and ending on the last day of final examinations. For fall and spring terms, three quarters is defined as 91 days. For summer term, it is defined as 41 days. A teaching assistant appointment between 25 percent and 67 percent for at least 21 days in Summer I (four-week part of Summer term) will be considered a waiver-generating appointment.

Tuition and fee waivers cover the base tuition, the service fee, the health service fee, $130/semester towards the health insurance fee, the AFMFA fee and the Library/IT fee.

TA Training

ALL new Teaching Assistants will be required to participate in a pre-semester orientation program through the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL).  The Department will register you for the is training and you will receive more information following your TA appointment.

Graduate Employees Organization (GEO)

Teaching Assistants and Administrative Graduate Assistants are covered under the GEO Collective Bargaining Unit

TA selection process

Admitted students may receive an offer of financial support that includes a teaching assistantship (TA). Teaching assistantships of at least 25% provide a monthly stipend for the semester of appointment and generate a full tuition and partial fees waiver.

***TA appointments are handled through Aerospace Engineering’s Graduate Programs Office.  Do not email faculty with TA inquiries. 

Priority for a TA assignment is given to AERO PhD students. This is because their program requires that they serve as a TA at least once during their program. AERO MS thesis-seeking students will be considered next.  The department evaluates its need and, secondly, faculty recommendations.

Students in any M.Eng. or MS non-thesis program are not eligible for TA appointments. 

MS and PhD students from other departments OR Aero MS thesis-seeking students without funding from their advisor who wish to inquire about TA positions should do so by filling out the following interest form.

TA Teaching Assistant (TA) interest form

***The Department of Aerospace Engineering first fills TA positions with AERO-enrolled PhD and MS students. Hiring from outside the department is done in very rare cases and should not be expected. 

Graduate Contacts

Ioannis Chasiotis   
Director of Graduate Studies

Jenna Russell

Jenna Russell
Graduate Programs Coordinator

Dung Quach Wisdom

Dung Quach Wisdom
Graduate Programs Advisor