Teaching (AI) Information

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.

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

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.