Assistantships in Instruction are teaching assignments awarded to graduate students by the academic departments and programs. Graduate students serving in these roles are referred to as Assistants in Instruction, or AIs. They may also be referred to as teaching assistants. Most Ph.D. students at Princeton University serve as teaching assistants at some point during their enrollment, often during specific years of study. Individual programs specify whether and when such teaching may be required. With very rare exceptions, first-year students in Ph.D. programs may not be appointed as AIs. In all cases, graduate students should have the permission of their DGS and adviser before taking on an AI appointment. An AI can hold the following roles: Precept AI Lab AI Section AI Grader AI Head AI Practicum AI Collaborative Teaching AI To what extent and when a Ph.D. student may serve in a teaching role depends on the student’s length of enrollment and program of study, which may require teaching either as part of its curricular requirements for the degree, for financial support, or both. If teaching is required by a student’s program of study, the student’s performance as an assistant in instruction (AI) may be taken into account when determining academic and degree progress in the program. Depending on the program, some master’s degree students may also serve as teaching assistants. Most Ph.D. programs require some teaching during a student’s enrollment period, often in specific years of study. Departmental AI Allocations Each term, the Office of the Dean of Faculty provides each department with a budget or allocation of the AI hours that can be assigned to its graduate students. The AI budget is based on the teaching needs for undergraduate courses. AI hours are then assigned by departments and programs to graduate students, who may serve in a variety of teaching assistant roles under the direction of a faculty member. The most common roles are preceptors (who lead small discussion sessions, called precepts), laboratory assistants, and graders. Financial Support for AIs An Assistantship in Instruction includes a tuition component and a stipend component. The stipend component is discussed here as the tuition component varies based on degree type and status. (Visit the Financial Support section for more details, and for information regarding the coordination of funding.) The stipend for an AI is the same for students across all divisions and is higher than both the University Fellowship and Assistantship in Research stipend rates. This stipend rate is approved as part of the overall University budget, which is approved by the Board of Trustees. Budget recommendations are made by the University’s Priorities Committee, on which two graduate students sit. Full and Partial AI Appointments The portion of a student’s stipend that comes from an AI may be full or partial, depending on the time commitment associated with the teaching appointment. Like the stipend, tuition for the AI appointment is also apportioned on a pro rata basis, depending on the associated time commitment. Support from an AI appointment therefore replaces, in full or in part, any other funding provided from the University. A student may have an AI appointment that ranges from 1 to 6 AI hours. AI-hour appointments are generally associated with the number of contact hours per week that a graduate student has with students. For each hour of AI appointment, approximately three hours of time commitment are assumed. A full appointment of 6 AI hours is the maximum appointment possible for a semester and assumes a time commitment of 18 to 20 hours per week associated with the appointment. If less-than-full AIs are assigned, the tuition and stipend amounts are prorated according to the percent AI assigned. For example, if a three-hour AI appointment is assigned, or a 50% AI appointment, the AI appointment would provide ½ of tuition and ½ of the AI stipend. The balance of a student’s support would then come from other sources. Appointment Dates AI appointments and associated pay begin at the start of the academic semester as defined by the enrollment and funding schedules in effect for graduate students. AIs make a commitment for a five-month period. Vacations and time away must be planned accordingly in order to meet these expectations, and work for the semester will commence before the beginning of classes a few weeks later. Fall appointments: Begin in August and end December 31. Grading activities are expected to be completed prior to January 1. Spring appointments: Begin in January and end May 31. Grading activities are expected to be completed prior to June 1. AI Eligibility The following categories of student are NOT eligible to serve as AIs: First-year students in Ph.D. programs: Exceptions to this must be approved by Academic Affairs in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School. Students who have entered ET/DCC status: Such appointments are only available to enrolled graduate students. Such students may be appointed by a department in lecturer or other appointments that are not reserved for enrolled graduate students. Students who are on a leave of absence from the University or are enrolled in absentia: Students who are not physically on campus are not eligible to serve as AIs. Non-degree students: This includes VSRCs, non-degree trailing students, visiting students, exchange students, and qualifying students. Open AI position listings Occasionally academic departments and programs have AI positions that they are unable to fill and for which they would welcome expressions of interest from eligible graduate students enrolled at the University. Open AI postings can be found via The Office of the Dean of the Graduate School. Grievance Process Graduate students serving as AIs have resources and support available to them if they encounter situations in their teaching where they believe they have been treated unfairly or have experienced inappropriate conduct. Teaching Support McGraw AI Training & Teaching Workshops The McGraw Center oversees mandatory training for all new Assistants in Instruction (AIs). The mandatory training, required by the Graduate School for all first-time AIs, provides a base-level introduction to essential teaching issues and skills, with further support available through one's teaching engagement. Quin Morton Teaching Fellow Program Princeton graduate students who will be in Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE) status in the following year are invited each spring to apply for one-year positions as Quin Morton Teaching Fellows. GradFUTURES Teaching and Mentoring GradFutures offers support and opportunities related to teaching experiences outside of the University. Collaborative Teaching Initiative in the Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate School Teaching Award The Graduate School Teaching Awards honor those graduate students who have made a significant contribution to undergraduate teaching. Students are nominated each spring by academic departments and programs. Winners are selected by a committee chaired by the deputy dean of the Graduate School, and comprising the academic affairs deans and staff from the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.