8.2 Appointment Categories

This policy was last updated January 5, 2024. See the update history page for more information.

Instructor-g and teaching and research assistantships are Institute positions to which only full-time graduate students who are candidates for advanced MIT degrees may be appointed. However, in unusual circumstances, the Vice Chancellor may authorize appointments of undergraduates and special students. Assistants and instructors-g must be enrolled full-time during each term of their appointment, including the summer if they hold appointments then. Provisions relating to graduate fellowships and traineeships are described in Section 8.2.4 below, and in Graduate Policies and Procedures.

8.2.1 Instructor-G

Graduate students with considerable teaching experience may receive instructor-G appointments. These appointments are given only to mature students of proven teaching ability who, in the opinion of the department head, are competent to accept teaching responsibilities warranting the grade of instructor. The rate of compensation for such students is determined in each case by the dean of the School concerned, according to the circumstances of the appointment.

8.2.2 Teaching Assistant

The principal duties of a teaching assistant include assisting faculty members in classroom and laboratory instruction, preparing apparatus or material for demonstration, conducting tutorials and discussion sections, and grading quizzes. A full-time teaching assistant usually receives a scholarship to cover tuition costs, in addition to a stipend; a part-time teaching assistant may receive an appropriate partial tuition scholarship.

8.2.3 Research Assistant

The principal duty of a research assistant is to contribute, under supervision, to a program of departmental or interdepartmental research. The appointment is made with the understanding that the required services will contribute to the professional training of the graduate student. While research assistants are committed to performing assigned services, their work is usually suitable for, and used as part of, their thesis research to the extent approved by the head of the appointing department and the thesis supervisors.

A full-time research assistant usually receives a scholarship to cover tuition costs, in addition to a stipend; a part-time research assistant usually receives a partial tuition scholarship. Research assistants who indicate both an interest in and a capacity for teaching may be assigned some departmental teaching duties, but their principal activities should be confined to research.

8.2.4 Fellowships

Financial support for graduate students in the form of fellowships — covering a cash award to the fellow, tuition, and an additional allowance to MIT — is subject to the rules and regulations of the Committee on Graduate Programs. Faculty members who are soliciting fellowships should consult with the appropriate department head and the Vice Chancellor before making commitments.

Some research sponsored by industry may be carried out by awarding fellowships or scholarships to graduate students whose thesis work is in the field specified. Such awards are also subject to the rules and regulations of the Committee on Graduate Programs. If a student receives financial aid from a grant for thesis expenses or utilizes laboratories and equipment that are partly or wholly financed by special funds, the student must relinquish their rights (particularly with respect to inventions and publications) to the extent that the Institute is obligated to those who contribute financial assistance to its educational and research programs.