Teaching assistants (TAs), graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) and graduate research assistants (GRAs) are an important part of the chemistry program. Graduate students in these roles offer extra one-on-one support to undergraduate students while building valuable experience for their future careers. Several of our graduate assistants have earned GW’s university-wide Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the educational process.
The Chemistry Department offers these positions on an invite-only basis depending upon availability.
Note that under GW policy, students cannot combine simultaneous positions as a graduate research assistant, graduate research fellow or graduate fellow.
Expectations may vary by professor, but most teaching assistants are responsible for these basic duties:
- Work about 20 hours per week, including office hours, grading and class preparation
- Attend all lectures the first time they are teaching the course
- Take all examinations the first time they are teaching the course
- Follow and enforce safety rules
- Receive evaluations (PDF) from students and supervising faculty
- Supervise students closely and move around laboratory classes to answer questions; maintain a calm, orderly learning atmosphere
All graduate students are responsible for the content of our recommended safety manuals:
Official guidance on preventing accidents while working with chemicals, prepared by the Committee on Chemical Safety of the American Chemical Society
Official GW policy on correct handling of the hazardous materials found in chemical labs
Manual developed by the GW Office of Health and Safety to promote safety in campus laboratories
Typical research and teaching assistantship packages are a minimum of $26,680 for nine months. Students normally receive departmental support for the summer through an assistantship or fellowship at a level comparable to the academic year rate, which brings the support for the full calendar year to a minimum of $35,573. Note that all tuition expenses are included in our assistantship packages for doctoral students.
Current fellows or GTAs must be reappointed each year. Reappointment is not automatic and depends upon a satisfactory teaching and academic record. PhD students may repeat courses for up to four years (or three years if the student came into the program with at least 18 transfer credits). GTAs may elect to pursue a TA position (without tuition benefit) after their GTA term ends.