So you want to be a Teaching Assistant in the Mechanical Engineering Department? Be sure to read and understand these steps before you apply.
Are you eligible to hold a position?
Not all departments within the University have the exact same eligibility requirements. Read on to discover if you are a viable TA candidate in mechanical engineering. Are You Eligible?
What are the Job Commitments?
Applying for a TA position does not necessarily guarantee financial support. Additionally, teaching assistants in the ME Department must agree to numerous commitments that are above and beyond the classroom. Commitments & Requirements of ME TAs
Where do I find an application?
Applications for Fall will become available June 9, 2021.
The link will be posted here.
How Does the Appointment Process Work?
- The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) establishes a preliminary number of TA positions for each class
- Completed TA applications are distributed to course instructors based on which classes the applicant showed interest
- Course instructors make recommendations as to who they'd prefer to be a TA for that semester
- The DGS takes all course instructor recommendations and determines appointment offers for each class
- During the offer period, students are contacted by the DGS with offers and asked to accept or reject within a certain time frame
- Occasionally openings remain, or enrollments increase and assignments are made into the first week of classes
Frequently Asked Questions about the TA Process
No. In the interest of making this process as fair as possible, the DGS will not respond to e-mails asking for a higher priority ranking for TA appointments, nor will they discuss TA appointments in person.
Additionally, the DGS has access to all TA reviews (from faculty and students), as well as access to all graduate degree plans and progress towards graduation. This information will be taken into account in making TA appointments. The best things you can do to increase your chances of getting an appointment in the future are:
- Take challenging classes and do well in them
- Complete your graduate degree plan ASAP
- Complete your qualifying exams and written prelim exams in a timely fashion (PhD students)
- Make progress in your research (such that there are no concerns that a TA appointment will hinder your research progress
- If you get a TA appointment, work on becoming a good instructor to our students and be assistant to the instructor (i.e. take TA positions seriously)
Yes. Many of our incoming Fellowship students apply before arriving in Minnesota and taking their SETTA. However, the ME department requires all nonnative speaking applicants to have an ELP of 1 or 2 on file with the University to be eligible to TA. For most students, their TOEFL iBT speaking subscore will be automatically converted to an ELP rating when admitted to the University. This score will be confirmed by ME staff through UM reports. Note that the absence of an ELP on file at time of application may prevent applications from being fully processed unless further steps by the applicant are observed.
For nonnative students without an ELP on file with the University when they apply, the following steps are required:
There are many reasons why this takes so long. To start with, it's a multi-step process. Secondly, there are several people who must approve along the way. Lastly, candidates frequently drop out due to receiving RA positions. This causes some TAs to be reassigned and can create additional openings at the last minute.
At the moment there is no formalized TA application system for summer. However, it is not uncommon for email requests for interested grad students to be sent. As with spring and fall TAs, summer TAs are handpicked by the DGS after conferring with the course instructor. If you are interested in a TA position in the summer, it is always a good idea to directly notify the instructor of the course you are interested in.