Instructional and Research Opportunities
Generally, all of our qualified graduate students who apply for assistantship positions in the department receive work. These positions not only provide some financial assistance to the student, but they also give the student the opportunity to gain experience, learn teaching techniques, understand first-hand the day-to-day work of being a professor, and become an integral part of the department.
As former students explain:
“Working as a GA or TA is the best way to gain practical teaching experience as a graduate student and was very worthwhile. It was a great opportunity to interact with students, observe the different pedagogical styles of several professors (I had the opportunity of working with three different professors as a GA and TA), and gain experience in structuring assignments and other coursework. It was a valuable experience for me, and I would highly recommend it to other graduate students, as well.” –Ben Wright
“I knew I wanted to teach at the community college level before I entered the Soc program at SDSU. I was also able to form strong bonds with fellow graduate students who were also TAs and we were able to bounce ideas off of each other. I learned a lot about myself and what kind of educator I want to be. I have developed my teaching persona within those four semesters as a TA. This experience has prepared me to do well after graduation when I enter the ‘real world.’ I am thankful that I will enter my very own classroom with a great amount of teaching experience and wisdom under my belt. I am also grateful to be able to use my teaching experience as leverage for getting jobs in the future." –Shannon Sellers
Applications for positions are available to all students each semester, including the semester you enter the program.
The available positions are as follows:
A Teaching Associate (TA) works under the supervision of a professor teaching the large Sociology 101 course. The TA works closely with the professor, and leads small “break out” sessions to aid student learning in these large courses. Hours and responsibilities may vary. TAs must be current Sociology MA students, and usually teach two to three sections.
A Graduate Assistant (GA) may help a professor with research and/or course tasks, such as giving several class lectures by mutual agreement of the GA and professor.
An Instructional Student Assistant (ISA) – alternatively referred to as a “Reader” – assists a professor by grading papers for a course (or courses), proctoring exams, keeping records and assisting with students. Reader positions vary depending on the size of the class as well as the overall undergraduate enrollment in the department.
For more information, please see the TA/GA Handbook on the Graduate Division website or the Sociology Graduate Student Handbook on the SDSU Sociology Department website.