Teaching Assistant (TA) assignments

CS TA Assignment Team

The CS TA Assignment Team is a shared effort between ISG and the CS Graduate Office. The team works to ensure that CS courses are staffed by appropriate TAs/IAs and that eligible graduate students are receiving their TA positions in a clear and fair way.

Due to the size of the School's undergraduate population, there are 250-450 TA units to assign each term across 40-50 courses. Each course covers different topics and specific research areas may lend themselves better to specific courses. 

The CS TA Assignment Team itself is small and the work is only made possible through cooperation from graduate students, graduate supervisors, and instructors. We ask that you keep a look out for our emails each month.

TA eligibility

To be eligible to TA, graduate students must be enrolled with a full-time course load and on-campus for the duration that they are TAing. TA eligibility is determined by the CS Graduate Office. Students who are eligible are guaranteed a TA unit assuming that they fill out the TA preference form and sign their TA contracts. 

New students

Students who are starting their degrees are not expected to complete the TA preference form to receive TA positions. New students are generally assigned to marking duties in first/second-year CS courses so that you can focus on adjusting to the university environment.

In Fall and Winter terms, you will be invited a formal TA Assignment Info Session within the first month to formally introduce the expectations for all TAs and how to participate in the TA assignment process.

Over-eligible MMath and PhD students

MMath and PhD students who have completed their TA unit requirements or have gone over their time limit are not guaranteed TA units. TA positions for these students are only possible if eligible TAs have all been assigned and a surplus of TA positions are available.

MDSAI students, MMath coursework students

MMath Coursework and MDSAI students are not guaranteed a TA position. These students are welcome to complete the TA preference form and may be contacted if there is a surplus of TA positions available.

The MDSAI program is academically demanding and time intensive. For these reasons, MDSAI students are not encouraged to apply for a TA position unless they are strongly confident that they can manage an additional 80 hours of work during the term that is expected of a TA unit.

Timeline for Fall 2024 TA assignments

  1. 2024
    1. Jun
    2. Jul
      1. TA assignments are drafted

        Around this time is when ISCs will determine suitable Instructional Apprentices (IA) based on instructor input and TA preferences forms. 

        The CS TA Assignment Team will then compile the list of eligible TAs, and based on all TA preferences and instructor/ISC requests, begin to assign grads to suitable CS courses.

        Factors that come into play are not just preferences but previous TA experiences, research backgrounds relating to course content, the number of TAs assigned, etc.

    3. Aug

TA assignment F.A.Q.

Why do I need to complete the TA preference form (again)?

By completing the TA Preference Form, our team will better understand your background, experience, skills, and preference for tasks, which we are able to consider when assigning you a course.

Your responses for some questions may be saved and preloaded for you the next time you complete the form, but you need to resubmit every term since your eligibility and preference might change term by term.

Additionally, some courses are only offered in certain terms

What happens if I decline a TA?

Your 'decline' will be counted as 1 TA unit towards your total entitlement.

What if I'm unsure about my availability next term?

In cases where you are unsure about your status (e.g. waiting for results for an internship), you should still complete the TA preference form and note the situation approrpriately. Once you hear that you have been accepted into a coop placement or your internship, then please notify the CS Graduate Office and the CS TA Assignment Team to keep us up to date.

Can I TA if I am a part-time student?

No, you must be a full-time student to be assigned a TA.

What happens to my funding if I switch to part-time studies?

If you switch from full-time to part-time, you will no longer receive Graduate Research Studentship funding.

Can I TA remotely?

No, the expectation is that you're on-campus when completing a TA.

Can I still be a TA if I am not eligible for a TA unit?

Non-eligible students are not guaranteed TA units, but may be offered TA units if there happen to be vacant positions available.

For this reason, non-eligible students are welcome to complete the TA/IA preference form and if there is a need, then the forms will be reviewed. If you do not submit the form, then you will not be assigned a TA unit in any case.

What should I do if I will be off-campus for a certain period of time next term?

You are expected to be available to TA from the first day of class until the last day of the term (inclusive). For this reason, you cannot make travel plans for a holiday if your TA duties haven’t been completed yet.

For a legitimate absence greater than two days (e.g., conferences) or an absence that occurs during a course duties that you are required to attend to, then you must inform your instructor/ISC immediately. You may likely need to find a suitable replacement for those days.

What factors are involved in the selection process? Why didn't I get the course I asked for?

There are more than 400 graduate students at the School of Computer Science and most are required to TA one or two units a term. With the number of courses that require TAs and the number of graduate students that need to TA, the TA assignment is a complex process to ensure all the courses have sufficient TAs while considering a number of factors. These factors include your eligibility, your previous TA experience and performance, your academic background, the balance of experienced and new TAs for each course, requests from instructors/ISCs, etc. The goal is to have the TA assignment done in the best interests of all parties.

The goal of the TA preference form is for the CS TA Assignment Team to understand your skill set as well as your preferred tasks. You might indicate your preferred courses, which will be treated as additional information to consider rather than a guarantee.

Can I switch my assignment if I'm dissatisfied with the course?

In general, swapping courses will depend on what other courses are available and only if you have a legitimate reason. Reassigning a student to a different course can be difficult and lead to challenges with finding suitable replacements for the course you are currently assigned to.

Please contact by the CS TA Assignment Team during the tentative assignment period to see whether a swap is possible or to be shortlisted for another course. Even if we are able to re-assign you, it may not be to one of your first or second choices 

I was not assigned the number of TA units that I wanted. Can I increase/decrease my TA units for next term?

If you would like to increase or decrease the number of units you are assigned, please contact the CS Grad Office (CS Grad Coordinator - Funding) first. Changing the number of TA units may affect your funding.

What is TA pay?

Your TA pay is for one term is $4378.20 per unit before taxes.

When will I receive my TA pay and is it bi-weekly?

Your TA pay will be disbursed to you monthly at the end of each month.

Please refer to the university's payroll dates for term specific pay days.

If I do a double TA, will I receive both double Graduate Research Studentship and TA pay?

No, you will only receive double TA pay, but your Graduate Research Studentship (GRS) will be lower than it would be for 1 TA.

Can I do two doubles/have 2 units two terms in a row?

No. Ideally, we don’t have students doing consecutive doubles and will prioritize assigned doubles to TAs who are overdue for a double term.

I was assigned a TA position but I want to decline/cannot TA next term. What do I do?

Please contact the CS Grad Office (CS Grad Coordinator - Funding) right away and CC the CS TA Assignment Team to have your position assigned to someone else. Please note that declining TA units may affect your funding.

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