Bren School Teaching Assistant Information



Bren School TA Positions


The University has provided the Bren School with 2.5 FTE (full time equivalent) Teaching Assistants (TA) positions.? This is equivalent to 15, 1-quarter, 50% time positions.


Teaching assistants are assigned to core courses and courses with a significant lab or field component. In some cases, depending upon availability, teaching assistants are assigned to elective classes with large enrollments or special considerations.


Only PhD students are eligible for Bren teaching assistantships.? University rules do not allow masters students to TA graduate level courses that are taken primarily by their peers.


Academic Standing


To be eligible for a TA position, PhD students must, throughout the period of their appointment, be:


  • Currently registered and enrolled in at least 8 units
  • In good academic standing

?  ?>= 3.0 GPA

?  Fewer than 12 units of unfinished coursework

?  Not on academic probation or subject to dismissal

?  Advanced to candidacy if they have been a graduate student for 4 years or more

?  Within normative time

  • Certified as having language proficiency in spoken English if their native language is not English.


Generally, TA positions are NOT awarded to Bren PhD students who are not in compliance with the PhD guidelines.


Non-Native English Speaking Students


Non-native English speakers must take the locally administered English Language Placement Examination (ELPE) prior to their first quarter of enrollment. All prospective TAs for whom English is not the native language must meet minimum proficiency requirements in spoken English before they can be certified to have sole teaching responsibilities for graduate classes.

TA language evaluations of English speaking proficiency are conducted jointly by representatives of the ESL Program and Graduate Division and a faculty member from the academic department of the prospective TA. If the student does not pass the evaluation, s/he cannot be certified for sole classroom teaching responsibilities. In addition, the student will be required to take ESL courses to improve oral proficiency. The student must enroll in ESL classes and demonstrate sufficient progress in order to be eligible for reevaluation. These standards are necessary to ensure quality instruction at UCSB and the Bren School. The required level of speaking proficiency expected of a TA is higher than what may be expected of a person in everyday conversation and is meant to ensure effective communication of subject matter.


Selection Process


Each winter, Bren School faculty are queried about their current and incoming PhD students? funding needs for the following year and whether their student(s) should be considered for TA positions. Current PhD students are also queried directly about their interest in TAing and what classes they feel they are qualified to TA. This information is provided to the Bren School?s RAS (Recruitment, Admissions, & Support) Committee.


RAS assigns teaching assistantships. The following factors are considered in making TA awards:


  • Appropriate academic preparation
  • Scholastic achievement
  • Teaching experience and past performance
  • Funding need


The most important factor is teaching qualifications. If there is evidence that a student is not qualified to TA a specific class because of lack of knowledge, prior experience, and/or poor past performance as a TA, they will not be awarded the position.


In addition to these general qualifications, the Bren School gives priority to:


  • PhD students that have University fellowship commitments that must be honored
  • PhD students studying under Assistant Professors that have no other source of funding


Finally, if other factors are equal, the following considerations are taken into account in the decision-making process.?


  • How active the PhD student has been at trying to secure other sources of financial support (i.e. extramural grants)
  • How much School-based support the student has received in the past.


A student who has prior experience TAing a particular class is not guaranteed re-assignment if there are other qualified candidates with priority consideration.


If there are no qualified Bren students to TA a particular class, we seek PhD students from other departments to fill TA positions.


Award Notification


Once the course faculty and the RAS Committee have confirmed the TA positions, the Bren School?s Payroll/Personnel Assistant is notified.? S/he prepares and delivers award letters following the procedures mandated by the UAW, AFL-CIO (the Union). This letter requires the student to indicate whether they accept or decline the offer of employment.? This signed letter is then placed in the student?s file.


Before the start of the quarter for which the student has agreed to TA, the Payroll/Personnel will write and deliver a second letter following the procedures mandated by the Union that describes the course, its time and location, and the expectations of the TA by the course instructor.? A copy of this letter is also placed in the student?s file.


Hiring Process

Before the start of the quarter for which a student TAs, the student must make an appointment with the Bren School Personnel/Payroll Assistant to complete hiring paperwork.? The Payroll Assistant will explain TA salary and benefits, start and end dates, etc. at this meeting.

Information on salary and benefits for Teaching Assistants, can be found at UCSB Graduate Division website:

Additional Information


For more information on the TA Development Program and an on-line version of the TA Handbook:


A valuable resource for TAs: A Handbook for Teaching Assistants at UCSB can be found on the Office of Instructional Consultation website at:


Additional information on TA policies for both the University and the Union can be found on the College of Letters & Science (via Academic Personnel) web site at: