Teaching Fellow Requirements

Learning to teach is an essential component of your academic training and professional development. As a teaching fellow, under faculty guidance you will learn to become an effective teacher and to evaluate student work. Teaching requirements vary by program and discipline, but most PhD students will teach at least one to four courses. 

Teaching for the first time can be a little overwhelming, but we have many advisers, mentors, and resources to help prepare and guide you along the way.

Your path to becoming a teaching fellow

Timeline and Resources

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Understand your program's teaching requirements

Familiarize yourself with the teaching requirement for your specific program as outlined in the Programs & Policies handbook.

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Communicate early and often with your program

Be in touch with your program registrar or director of graduate studies (DGS) at least one term in advance of teaching to ensure that you understand the timeline, expectations, and teaching opportunities available in your program. In humanities and social science programs, you should begin coordinating your teaching assignment in the spring of your second year. In natural and biological sciences programs, you may teach as early as your first term. Most students will begin teaching by the second year.

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Review your teaching appointment letter

You will receive a formal appointment letter by email once your teaching assignment is confirmed. The verification email will include important details about your teaching assignment, including the course name, instructor of record, teaching level, and type. Appointment letters are typically sent to teaching fellows in early August for fall term courses and in mid-December for spring term courses.

Poorvu Center Classroom

Attend the required workshop for new teaching fellows

Teaching@Yale Day (T@YD) is a requirement for all first-time teaching fellows and new part-time acting instructors in the Graduate School. Be sure to register and attend. Other Yale graduate students, professional students, and postdocs are welcome to attend, but registration is limited.

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Connect with your faculty instructor

You should consult with the instructor of the course regularly, as they will serve as your primary guide and mentor. The Graduate School encourages teaching fellows and instructors to meet informally to discuss teaching over a free meal through the FEAST for Teaching and Meals for Mentoring programs.

Stone Carving of Student Reading Sterling Memorial Library

Details. Details. Details.

Once your teaching appointment begins, remember to take the following actions to ensure that you are aware of the requirements of your teaching appointment: 1. Review your semi-monthly pay slip. Note that teaching fellows typically have tax withheld from their teaching stipend and so this may affect your income tax returns. 2. Consult the Deans' Expectations for Faculty and Teaching Fellows memo, which is sent by email to all instructional faculty at the beginning of each term. 3. Fill out the Verification Survey that you will receive at the beginning of term about your teaching appointment so that we can confirm your teaching assignment is accurate and appropriate, and that it meets the expected level of effort (TF10/20). 4. At the end of the term, your undergraduate students will have the opportunity to submit an evaluation of your work as a teaching fellow. The University Registrar's Office will notify you by email when the results are available so that you may integrate the feedback into future teaching assignments.