Teaching Assistantships

For incoming doctoral students, the announcement of these awards is usually made at the time of admission via a letter from the Department Head. For continuing doctoral students, the announcement of these awards is usually made before the end of spring semester. The deadline for acceptance is April 15. Additional announcements may be made in June or later in the summer if assistantships are still available.

There are no assistantships available for incoming MA students.

All teaching assistantships involve teaching freshman composition, other lower-division English courses appropriate to the assistant's background, or tutoring in the Writing Center.

Students who are post-preliminary exams may apply for a cotutelle at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. 

Course work

All teaching assistants are required to carry at least eight hours of course work per semester.


At the PhD level, appointments are one-half time (50% FTE) and require teaching two classes in the fall and one in the spring, or occasionally vice versa. In the first term, incoming PhD students do not teach. Rather, they take ENGL 555 - Teaching College Writing. This counts as the course they would have otherwise taught. PhD students are also entitled to a "dissertation leave" semester without teaching responsibilities in the Spring following successful preliminary exams.

All doctoral students qualify for such awards by virtue of having been admitted into the program, and are required to serve as Teaching Assistants for at least four semesters, unless they are exempted by the Director of Graduate Studies on the basis of other teaching experience. The requirement reflects the departmental conviction that teaching experience is an integral component of training at the doctoral level.

Students holding assistantships in Spring semester automatically receive a tuition and fee waiver for the Summer term, but are not required to register unless they hold a summer teaching appointment.

Stipend and Tuition and Fee Waiver

The standard Teaching Assistantship carries with it an annual stipend announced each year by the Graduate College. As a 50% FTE appointment, the English PhD student stipend amount is generally more than $18,000, although the final amount changes from year to year. Students are informed of the final amount in the assistantship agreement contract. Its renewal is contingent on satisfactory performance in the program.

Assistantship waivers cover the following fees assessed by the University:
* Full tuition
* Service fee
* Health service fee
* Academic facilities maintenance fund assessment (AFMFA)
* Library and Information Technology Assessment (LITA)
* CampusCare Health Insurance if the student chooses to be covered by the plan (Fall and Spring Semesters only).

Assistantship waivers do not cover the following fees assessed by the Unviersity:
* General fee
* CTA transportation fee
* Student-to-student fee
* Sustainability fee
* Office of International Services student fees (international students only)
* The remainder of the cost of health insurance over the amount listed above (i.e., summer coverage or coverage for dependents).

Visit the Office of Admissions and Records website for the most recent and accurate list of tuition and fees.

Length of Term

Teaching assistantships are available to PhD students for a maximum of six years, and are contingent on sufficient progress through the program. Students and faculty complete an annual department review in order to ensure that students are making sufficient progress towards the degree.

Students with additional fellowship assistance within or outside the university are not provided with an automatic extension of assistance from the department beyond the sixth year. Extensions of assistance are awarded at the discretion of the DGS, the Department Head, and the Associate Head.


The following information is for graduate students appointed as first-year or second-year Teaching Assistants in the English Department.


First-year PhD Teaching Assistants ordinarily receive two-thirds time appointments requiring the teaching of three classes (two in the fall and one in the spring) each year. Teaching assignments may be in composition or some other course assigned by the department and appropriate to the Teaching Assistants' backgrounds. Summer-term teaching is often available but cannot be guaranteed.

Non-Native Speakers

All international students who will have student contact must pass UIC's "SPEAK" test. Visit the International Teaching Assistant Program for more information about arranging for a "SPEAK" test.

Hourly Work Requirements

All Teaching Assistants are required to attend a workshop during the week before classes begin in Fall semester. For each section a teaching assistant is assigned to teach, he or she is expected to devote approximately the following amounts of time each week: three or four hours of class meetings, three hours of preparation, two hours of office conferences, and four hours of reading and evaluating students' writing. All Teaching Assistants assigned to a composition course must attend regular staff meetings.

English 555

Instead of teaching, all first-year Teaching Assistants take ENGL 555 - Teaching College Writing, during fall term. Assignment time for this course, and the course itself, are a part of each teaching assistant's academic program, and are separate from the remunerated work requirement of the assistantship, but a portion of the weekly assignment time for the course (approximately three hours) is devoted to the supervised reading and evaluation of compositions written by students in English 160.

Teaching Evaluation

Teaching Evaluation is mandatory for all Teaching Assistants, who are required to participate in the departmental student evaluation of courses which occurs in all classes each semester. These evaluations are made available to the Head or those he/she designates without the option of the teaching assistant to withhold them. Faculty will also occasionally visit Teaching Assistants' classes to evaluate their teaching progress. These evaluations will be consulted in considering Teaching Assistants' applications for renewal. Teaching Assistants may also wish to make  available to faculty writing recommendations for his or her placement files. Teaching Assistants who fail to maintain expected standards of academic and teaching professionalism will have their Teaching Assistantships reduced or revoked at the discretion of the Director of the First Year Writing Program and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Composition Committee.

Teaching Assistants elect one of their number to serve on the departmental Composition Committee.