A Teaching Assistant (TA) assists faculty with the general duties of preparing for class and provides logistical support or coordination as needed for coursework, course/AV set up, room scheduling, transportation, etc. They may NOT assign grades or serve as substitute instructors in the absence of the instructor of record, nor can they hold office hours. 

Students in good standing are eligible for positions as teaching assistants. They normally are GSD students, although occasionally a student from another Harvard school may serve as a TA at the GSD. 

Teaching Assistant Responsibilities 

Teaching Assistants (TA) may be responsible for the following: 

  • Reserving classrooms and setting up equipment 
  • Being available by e-mail 
  • Taking attendance 
  • Managing Canvas* 
  • Making copies 
  • Collecting assignments** 
  • Providing support for in-class lessons 
  • Scanning and posting readings 
  • Attending discussion sections 
  • Creating and managing course folders on the GSD network 
  • Arranging separate review sessions 
  • Interfacing with the library and CRG 

Teaching Assistants may not:

  • Assign grades
  • Serve as substitute instructors in the absence of the instructor of record
  • Hold office hours
  • Access student data

*TAs are able to perform all administrative functions within Canvas with the exception of those related to student data. Student data includes but is not limited to student work, academic progress, and enrollment information. In no case are TAs granted instructional access. 

**Due to restrictions protecting student data, TAs may only collect student work outside of Canvas, either physically in the classroom or via file transfer from the instructor. 

Teaching Assistant Compensation

 TAs earn $20.00/hour and typically work 3-7 hours per week.  

TAs may not assist faculty in any professional or personal work not directly related to instruction or research at the GSD. 

Students who have been awarded federal work-study as part of their financial aid package may use these funds for their TA positions, in which case a portion of the student’s salary will be paid by government funds. 

Hourly rates for the same type of job with the same level of experience must be paid at comparable rates across the GSD, and a work-study student cannot be paid more than a non-work-study student for the same type of job. 

Teaching Assistants can self-register here after completing their hiring paperwork: http://admin.gsd.harvard.edu/ta_registration. 

Hiring for Students

Students seeking employment at the GSD should familiarize themselves with the GSD Student Payroll procedures.  

If you are looking for a teaching assistant opportunity, there are several approaches: 

Contact an instructor to make a direct inquiry about the possibility of serving as a teaching assistant in one of their courses. You may want to check in with the instructor’s department office first, as the departmental office may have information about instructors who are looking for TAs or who have already planned for the semester and are no longer looking. Note that while academic departments can assist in coordination, they do not play a role in the allocation of teaching assistantships. Instructors may also advertise a teaching assistant position through the Office of Career Services, or through their academic department if they are seeking a TA from a specific program. 

Students can work a maximum number of 20 hours/week in total, inclusive of all jobs combined at the University when classes are in session, and 40 hours/week in total during breaks. Students should not be incurring overtime pay. 

Hiring for Faculty

Go to Hiring Students: Information for Facultypage.