Teaching Assistants

General Information

Teaching assistant (TA) duties include, but are not limited to, duties primarily in support of instruction and educational services such as: leading discussion sections; leading class discussions; designing course materials; exam and homework preparation, proctoring and grading; holding office hours; meeting special needs of students with disabilities; and/or any other educational activity or service provided.

The TA schedule, stipend, fee waiver, and other benefits are outlined on the Graduate College Assistantships website.

Information regarding your assistantship appointment, such as the length of employment and your stipend, can be found in your offer letter. This letter also identifies the date that you need to arrive on campus to attend the MSCS Department TA Orientation and MSCS Department Area Meetings.


International Teaching Assistants

UIC requires certification of oral English proficiency for all international teaching assistants (ITAs). UIC has established minimum Speaking and Listening sub-scores for either the internet-based TOEFL (ibT) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). These minimum scores, combined with departmental teaching observations conducted during the MSCS orientation, will determine the level of teaching responsibilities the TA will be given. ITAs who do not have minimum scores will be given comparable duties until English proficiency meets minimum standards. For more information about language proficiency, refer to the English Oral Proficiency Certification website.

Completing Your Employment Paperwork

If you received a Teaching Assistantship from MSCS, please read this information thoroughly to avoid a delay in your first stipend check. There are several important steps that must be completed to ensure timely processing and receipt of your first stipend check:

  • You will receive a formal offer letter from MSCS and must decline/accept the offer by the deadline stated in the offer letter.
  • After you accept and return the formal offer letter for the assistantship Joyce Tucker, the MSCS Human Resources Associate, will enter the necessary information in the university database. This will trigger an email to you with logon and other information for UIC’s online HR system called NESSIE.
  • In NESSIE, you will need to complete the HR Application and Payroll information (demographic, educational, and bank deposit information).
  • Once you have completed this information in NESSIE, you will be instructed to complete and return a Statement of a Drug-Free Workplace and I-9 forms. The I-9 form is viewable in Nessie and includes a list of acceptable official identification you will need to bring in, with the completed I-9 forms for your HR enrollment meeting. Please contact Joyce to set up your appointment.
  • The processing for international students on a visa allows less flexibility in regards to the start date, so it is important to complete the necessary steps as soon as possible.

NOTE: If the TA contract is processed late, or any of the steps outlined above are delayed, there is a possibility of missing your first monthly stipend check. Although you will receive an adjusted payment a month later (assuming the beginning date is properly processed and assuming you worked for that period), not having the first check can cause financial issues you did not anticipate.

Teaching Assistantship FAQs

When do I begin work?

Your appointment becomes official and you are allowed to begin your duties after your HR paperwork is submitted and your signed TA contract returned to Joyce Tucker . It is also at this point that your Tuition and Service Fee Waiver, often referred to as a "TFW", can be applied toward your account, assuming you have registered for the required number of credit hours.

The TA contract outlines your official dates of employment.

When do I get paid?

You will receive a monthly stipend on the 16th of each month.

Do I receive other benefits?

Dental and vision insurance coverage is provided by the University for all assistantship recipients with at least a 25% appointment. See the UIC HR website for full details about eligibility and enrollment in these plans. All registered students are automatically enrolled in the student health benefit program provided through Campus Care: https://campuscare.uic.edu/

When do I receive my teaching assignment?

New TAs will be notified the week before the start of the semester directing them to the UIC Schedule of Classes to view their teaching schedule. 50% TAs can expect to teach three discussion sections of a large lecture; 25% TAs can expect a teaching load of two discussion sections. In addition to teaching, duties typically include 2 hours tutoring in the Mathematical Sciences Learning Center, proctoring exams, and assisting with grading.

TAs usually teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but must also be available to attend the lecture once a week during the term to help proctor exams. Per the hiring contract, all TAs must be available through the date determined by their course instructor, until final exams are graded and all course administration is completed.

Can I choose the course I want to teach?

TAs have the opportunity to request courses for each subsequent semester.  A complete list of courses with TA-led discussion sections is found in the MSCS TA Handbook. 

What if I have questions about my TA Contract?

The rights and responsibilities of Teaching Assistants (and Graduate Assistants) at UIC are detailed in the agreement established between the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO).