Graduate Student Employment

Below are the descriptions and requirements for those graduate students hired as academic student employees (those represented by United Auto Workers (UAW) 4123, i.e., TA, GA, ISA).

Students:

Each department/school handles graduate student employment separately. If interested, contact your graduate program advisor/director for more information.

Faculty:

For more information on additional graduate hiring options, please talk with your college resource manager or SDSURF Sponsored Research Administrator.

Academic Student Employees

 
ta in conf room
  • TAs teach university courses and may also assist faculty or teaching staff with various professional and technical activities. Work assignments are closely associated with their program of study or the academic department/school in which they are enrolled.
  • May be appointed up to 0.50 timebase (part time, no more than 20 hrs/week - see table below) per semester or for the academic year. Pay is established by the hiring unit and follows the academic year payment schedule.
  • TAs with an aggregated appointment 0.20 or higher timebase are eligible to receive an in-state part-time tuition waiver for each semester they meet the requirements.
people in physics lab
  • GAs assist a faculty member or the teaching staff with various professional and technical duties associated generally with the subjects or programs in which the assistant is doing graduate work.
  • GAs may be appointed up to 0.50 timebase (part time, no more than 20 hrs/week - see table below). Monthly remuneration (pay) is set by the hiring unit.
  • GAs do not receive employment-based tuition waivers.
writing center tutoring
  • Under supervision, ISAs perform teaching, grading or tutoring duties. ISAs work part time (no more than 20 hrs/wk) and are compensated at an hourly rate for actual effort. They may work full-time during academic breaks.
  • Students must be currently enrolled in a graduate degree program of the university and the ISA appointment must be in the same department as their degree program.
  • ISAs do not receive employment-based tuition waivers.

Typical timebase appointment levels with corresponding number of units and expected number of hours per week. Link to FTE Table
Expected Hours/Week Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Weighted Teaching Unit (WTU)
4 0.10 1.5
8 0.20 3.0
12 0.30 4.5
16 0.40 6.0
20 0.50 7.5

Hiring TAs/GAs/ISAs

  • TAs, GAs, and ISAs are part of an academic student employee union (Unit 11/UAW 4123) with a collective bargaining agreement that governs their employment.
  • Students cannot be appointed in a Unit 11 position and also a non-represented stateside position (such as UGF Research Fellow).

Per the Chancellor’s Office guidelines: The student’s work assignment should not take precedence over the successful completion of the graduate degree program by the student in a timely manner.

When an employment overload is requested (total workload from all employment > 20 hours per week), or the student will be hired out of their home dept, the department/school or graduate program advisor/director may request an exception. The student’s degree progress and academic standing will be the primary consideration in all cases.

The academic college dean's office should route an exception request to the College of Graduate Studies, Graduate Employment Specialist at [email protected]

Employment-Based TA Waivers

  • TAs with an aggregated appointment of 0.2 or higher timebase are eligible to receive an in-state part-time tuition waiver (Grad TA Waiver) applied to Basic Tuition only. Eligible TAs will receive the tuition waiver each semester they are appointed.
  • California residents may be eligible for a State University Grant (SUG). If eligible, the SUG will be applied to the student account instead of the Grad TA Waiver.
  • International and out-of-state students appointed as TAs will receive a waiver for the Out-of-State and International Student Fee (OOS/I) through Summer 2026. TA employment is not associated with a Non-Resident Tuition waiver.

Important: Resignation from a TA appointment during the semester may result in the tuition waiver(s) being rescinded and the tuition balance being billed to the student account.

Employment Eligibility

Student standing at podium giving presentation

Information for Students

In order to be appointed as a TA/GA/ISA, students must meet all of the eligibility requirements:
  • An active graduate student; enrolled in a minimum of one course in the term of the appointment. (Exception for summer employment.)
  • Currently enrolled in SDSU courses that are part of their graduate degree program and the appointment should be in the same department/school as their degree program. 
  • Not on academic probation, i.e., cumulative GPA ≥ 3.0
  • Making good progress towards degree as verified by the graduate advisor/director.
  • Student cannot hold two concurrent appointments in different bargaining units (for example: Unit 11 and Unit 3).
  • Workload may not exceed 0.50 FTE total for appointment(s).
  • Short-term exchange students not seeking a SDSU degree may be ISAs only.
Faculty watching a presentation

Information for Hiring Unit

Prior to offering a TA/GA/ISA contract, the college dean’s office (or hiring unit) must verify all of the eligibility requirements:
  • Active graduate student and not yet graduated.
  • Enrolled in a minimum of one course in the term of their appointment.
  • Appointed in the same department/school as the student’s graduate program. (Exception Request required for out of department appointments.)
  • Not on academic probation, i.e., cumulative GPA ≥ 3.0
  • Making good progress towards degree as verified by the graduate advisor/director.
  • Not in any other stateside position (represented/non-represented).
  • Only in UAW/U11 (TA/GA/ISA) appointments totaling no more than 20 hours per week.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I become a TA?

Refer to Employment Eligibility above to check requirements. Each department/school handles graduate student employment separately. If interested, contact your graduate program advisor/director for more information. 

How do I know if I'm a TA or GA?

The colleges send out/email contract letters which outlines the appointment classification. Refer to your contract letter and description of duties for specific information about your appointment.

How much can I work as a TA?

TAs may be appointed to work no more than 20 hours per week in accordance with the Unit 11 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Where do I find policies and requirements related to working as a Teaching Associate?

University policies can be found in the online SDSU Catalog.

Where is my TA tuition waiver?

TA tuition waivers are sent to the Bursar’s office for processing once the TA appointment has been confirmed by the College of Graduate Studies. Only eligible graduate Teaching Assistants will be processed.

Are there TA tuition waivers in Summer term?

No. TA tuition waivers are only available in Fall and Spring semesters.

How long does it take to process my TA tuition waiver?

TA waivers can take up to one month to be reflected on the student’s financial accounts.

How do I know if my TA tuition waiver has been applied to my account?

The TA tuition waiver is only applied to Basic Tuition at the part-time registration value. In your Account Summary (in My.SDSU) the “Grad TA Waiver” will show in your account details for the term, and is the indication that the TA tuition waiver has been applied.

Please note that Basic Tuition is just one of the many different tuition and fee components on your SDSU bill. Reivew the Bursar's Tuition and Fees page for details.

If I am a GA, will I receive a tuition waiver?

Only eligible TAs receive employment-based tuition waivers.

Are there any other options in order to get tuition and/or fee waivers?

Talk to your graduate advisor/doctoral program director.

I didn’t get paid, who do I contact?

Contact the Payroll Technician for your college and the college dean’s office for support if you experience pay issues.

I am receiving an error message when trying to log in and report my time for the month.

First, be sure to use your SDSU employee email and not your student email to access PeopleSoft HCM. If you are still having problems logging in, email [email protected] with your name and EmplID and the error message you are receiving.

What’s the difference between Out of State and International Fee and Non-Resident Tuition & Fees?

The Out of State and International Student Fee is a fixed-rate fee charged to out-of-state and international students. The Non-Resident Tuition & Fees is a per-unit fee that charged to out-of-state and international students based on number of units enrolled. A breakdown of Tuition and Fees can be found on the Bursar's website.

Non-resident students in any SDSU doctoral program, including joint doctoral programs, are exempt from paying the Out of State and International Student Fee.

In addition, non-resident students serving as Teaching Associates (TAs) will be exempt from paying the Out of State and International Student Fee for each semester they are hired through Summer 2026.

For more information: Out of State and International Student Fee

Do TAs pay Non-Resident Tuition and Fees (Foreign Tuition)?

Yes. Please see the University Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees for detailed information.

How do I obtain a new SDSU work email address?

You will receive an email from [email protected] detailing important information on setting up your SDSU work email on your contracted start date. For further questions, please contact IT at [email protected].

Am I eligible for a Staff/Faculty parking permit?

Only TA/GA/ISA classifications are eligible to receive access to the Faculty/Staff parking permit. Please visit Faculty/Staff Parking FAQ for more information.

Graduate programs typically set up training for their TAs to meet the specific needs of their program's courses. SDSU's Center for Teaching & Learning also has a training resource available to TAs through a self-directed Canvas course. The Canvas site has resources available to TAs as well.

Have a question that isn't answered on this page?

If you have read the FAQ and still have questions, please let us know by filling out the Grad Student Employment Contact form.