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Teaching Levels & Types

Learning to teach is an essential component of academic training and professional development.

There are two levels of teaching fellows and five types of assignments at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Departments and programs are responsible for allocating teaching fellows to courses and determining the level of the assignment and its type. Additionally, teaching is categorized as stipend or non-stipend teaching. 

Teaching Fellow (TF) Levels

Teaching positions at GSAS are generally categorized into one of two levels:

  • TF Level 10 (up to 10 hours per week)
  • TF Level 20 (up to 20 hours per week)

The level is determined by faculty, based on how much time per week the assignment is likely to take. 

Teaching Fellow Types

Teaching assignment types can be assigned at either the TF10 or TF20 level and are distinguished from one another by their responsibilities.


Student graders/tutors may grade exams, papers, homework, or problem sets and meet with students for office hours and help sessions. They may also tutor students in language and other classes to supplement the  in-class meetings. The nature of the tutoring varies by discipline.

Discussion Section Leader

Discussion section leaders meet once or twice a week with small groups of students who are enrolled in a lecture course. Discussion section leaders are expected to meet with the faculty leading the course once per week and may be expected to attend lectures; grade papers, homework, problem sets and exams; and hold office hours. Many discussion sections have enrollments of 15 or fewer students, and the maximum number is 18.

Lab Leader

Lab assignments occur most frequently in the sciences. Lab leaders generally run laboratory sections for students enrolled in a lecture classes. Lab leaders are expected to meet with the faculty leading the course once per week and may be expected to attend lectures and grade papers, homework, problem sets, and exams. Lab sizes vary widely depending on the discipline.

Part-time Acting Instructor (PTAI)

Supervised by a faculty member, a PTAI conducts a section of an introductory course or teaches a seminar in their discipline. In the case of multi-section introductory courses, the supervision often includes the use of a common syllabus and examinations. PTAI assignments are made only at the TF20 level.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

If your native language is not English, you must meet the oral English proficiency requirement before you may begin teaching. If you have not fulfilled the requirement yet, please contact the staff of the English Language Program at the Center for Language Study. 

Students who have not yet met the English language proficiency requirement may serve as “graders without contact.” All other teaching fellow assignments require certified English proficiency. “Grader without contact” designates a student who grades assignments but does not have other contact with students in the class to which they are assigned. They do not hold office hours, tutor or advise. “Grader without contact” positions are to be distinguished from “grader/tutor” positions that routinely put graduate students in direct contact with the students in their class. A “grader without contact” assignment is considered part-time employment, and does not fulfill academic teaching requirements.

If you are a department or program administrator or registrar, and you need assign a student as a “grader without contact,” please contact us, as these assignments are processed differently from Teaching Fellow assignments. 

Stipend and Non-Stipend Teaching

Graduate student teaching at Yale is divided into two categories, stipend and non-stipend. 

Stipend Teaching

Students doing stipend teaching receive the standard departmental stipend, regardless of the level or type of assignment. Such teaching is included in your financial aid package and is considered part of your academic or financial requirement. Learning to teach is a requirement for Ph.D. students at Yale, along with attending classes, taking exams, and writing a dissertation. Stipend teaching never exceeds 20 hours per week. 

Non-Stipend Teaching

Once you have completed the teaching required by your program, you may continue to teach in addition to your financial package, if a position is available. This is considered “non-stipend” teaching. Non-stipend teaching assignments are those that are offered to GSAS students apart from an academic or financial requirement, or to students enrolled at a professional school. Non-stipend TFs receive $4,000 per term for courses requiring up to 10 hours of effort per week, and $8,000 for courses that require up to 20 hours per week.  If you are a Ph.D. student no longer receiving financial aid and beyond your sixth year of study, you may teach a maximum of three TF Level 20 assignments per year, or at the level set by your program.

Sixth-Year Teaching - Humanities & Social Science Students Only

  1. Eligibility: If you are a Ph.D. student in the Humanities or Social Sciences, entering your 6th year of study and without external funding,  you are eligible for 6th-year teaching.
  2. Duration: 6th-Year teaching is on a per-term basis during the 9-month academic year. There is no summer funding associated with 6th-year teaching.
  3. Requirements: 6th-Year teaching must be at the TF-20 level each term to qualify for the standard stipend supplement.
  4. Amount: Students will receive $8,000 for teaching a TF-20 level and a stipend top-up supplement, so that the total is equivalent to the annual stipend amount.

See the Sixth Year Initiative for more information. 

Teaching Beyond the Sixth Year- Humanities & Social Science Students Only

  1. Eligibility: If you are a Ph.D. Student beyond your sixth year of study, you may teach if positions are available.
  2. The Graduate School will pay your Continued Registration Fee if you are assigned a teaching position.
  3. You must be registered as a full-time student and in residence to receive an appointment through the Teaching Fellow Program.
  4. International students should contact OISS to discuss their eligibility.
  5. Duration: Teaching beyond the sixth year is on a per-term basis.
  6. There is no stipend top-up supplement funding associated with teaching beyond the sixth year. 
  7. Requirements: You may teach up to three TF-20 assignments per academic year. 
  8. Amount: You will receive $4,000 for a TF-10 level and $8,000 for a TF-20 level.

6th Year Teaching & beyond: Natural Science students 

Funding for graduate students in the natural sciences operates differently than funding for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences. A significant portion of stipend and tuition payments for natural science students comes from external grants. After university support in the early years, dissertation advisers typically provide financial support from research grants to their students through graduation, including during the sixth year if necessary. In rare cases when natural science faculty are unable to provide funding to advanced students, departments and the Graduate School work to assist students. 

International Students and Graduate Teaching

If you are an international student with F-1 or J-1 status, you may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Teaching Fellows appointments, along with any other on-campus employment, count towards the 20 hour per week limit. It is your responsibility not to exceed this limit and comply with immigration regulations that govern your status. 

  • International students holding TF Level 10 appointments are eligible for an additional 10 hours of work per week. 
  • International students holding TF Level 20 appointments cannot hold another on-campus position. 

Check with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) if you have questions about your eligibility.

If you are a J-1 student sponsored by Yale, you must also report in advance any on-campus employment opportunity to the Office of International Students & Scholars using OISS Connect

All off-campus employment in J-1 or F-1 status requires advance permission, and any unauthorized employment is a violation of immigration status. Consult OISS before accepting off-campus employment offers.

Except for participation in the GSAS Teaching Fellow Program, part-time employment beyond an average of 10 hours per week requires permission from your director of graduate studies, in consultation with the appropriate associate dean.

Looking for Teaching Opportunities?

  • Search the Graduate Student Teaching Opportunities site to explore positions for graduate and professional students.
  • Note: Teaching Fellow assignments through the Graduate School are only available during the nine-month academic year. If you are interested in summer teaching opportunities, please contact Yale Summer Session.