For available TA positions, please see our Employment Opportunities.

As a TA, your work directly impacts the lives of undergraduates and their learning. Doing your job well is essential to fulfilling the university's mission. There are many benefits to being a TA, including financial support for your graduate studies.

A teaching assistant position is typically 60 hours per term. The pay rate is based on the Collective Agreement. The department will try to give each graduate student in the MASc and PhD program one TA assignment as part of your funding package. If you take a second TA assignment, the stipend will be over and above your guaranteed funding package. MEng students are welcome to apply but are not guaranteed positions.

Selection Process

The department will be following the PSAC Local 901 Collective Agreement. Please watch this page for graduate teaching assistantship postings, as well as the Smith Engineering webpage and the Union webpage.

Before the beginning of term, students will email the department manager, Gabrielle Whan, the course they wish to TA. TAs and professors are notified of the course they are assigned. The department attempts to match graduate student TA responsibilities and areas of research. This selection will also be made based on past performance (in the case of current or former TAs), faculty recommendations, and departmental needs.

Responsibilities and Expectations

TA duties can include grading papers, exams and laboratory reports; organizing and instructing laboratory sessions and/or tutorials; holding office hours; and generating course websites. Because responsibilities range so widely, as soon as you receive your assignment, you should arrange to meet with the course instructor. This meeting will allow you to understand what is expected of you. TAs will be required to complete a TA agreement form with the course instructor and submit it to the Department Manager within the first month of classes.

Some ways to accomplish a good relationship between the course instructor and the students are:


The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers a one-day professional development day for new TAs. This training focuses on new developments in teaching and learning and key aspects of the roles and responsibilities of teaching assistants in undergraduate teaching. CTL also offers a workshop series.

A training session in the department is given in mid-September by faculty and graduate students who are experienced TAs. All first-time TAs are recommended to attend.

Smith Engineering offers training courses, some optional and some mandatory. You will be invited to participate depending on your assignment.


Be sure to meet with the instructor before classes start. You should have a clear understanding of what your tasks are and when you do them. You should know how many hours per week should be spent on these various tasks. Use the Teaching Assistant Agreement form to define your responsibilities. This workload should be well defined, including:

These should add up to a total of 60 hours per term for a single full TA. Note that not all TA positions are 60 hours, refer to your assignment for total hours. If your workload responsibilities do not add up to the assigned hours, there is a problem, and it needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Resources for Teaching Assistants

The Centre for Teaching and Learning has resources for teaching assistants including suggestions on effective training, leading tutorials and labs, lecturing and presenting, setting and marking assignments, counselling students and collecting feedback on teaching.

English Communication Assessment (ECA)

The English Communication Assessment is mandatory for all new International Graduate students who were required to submit an English Language test, such as TOEFL, for admission before they can assume a teaching assistant role that requires verbal communication. The test is performed by the Centre for Teaching and Learning and scheduled during the first and second weeks of September. This assessment resulted from the 2002 recommendation of the SCAD Sub-Committee on the Training of Teaching Assistants and was approved by Senate.

Students who do not obtain satisfactory results on the assessment are required to register for the course SGS 802: English Language Communication Skills for Teaching Purposes if they wish to assume a teaching assistant role. The course is offered in the fall and winter terms at no cost.