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 (providing between $1000 to $1200 per semester for each 5 hours of work per week), 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 to 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:
Readerships (also called Student Assistants or Instructional Student Assistants)- are positions in which a graduate or undergraduate student assists a professor by reading papers for a course (or courses) and also may do some exam proctoring and assisting with students. A Readership is a good entry-level position and may be helpful in obtaining a GA position. Reader positions vary depending on the size of the class but are usually from 5-10 hours a week.
A Graduate Assistant – may help a professor with research work, and/or may help a professor with a class: grading, holding office hours, and sometimes assisting with a lecture or two. These positions are 5 hours a week.
A Graduate Teaching Assistant – works with a professor teaching the large Sociology 101’s. The assistant works closely with the professor, and teaches his or her own “break out" sessions to aid student learning in these large courses. These positions range from 10-20 hours a week depending on the number of break out sections assigned.