Securing a Teaching Position

Securing a Teaching Position

Assignment of Teaching

Each department or committee has its own procedure for assigning teaching fellowships; assignment decisions are based on evaluations of each candidate’s proficiency in English, preparation, teaching experience, and satisfactory academic standing. Departments and committees will know the number of guaranteed slots that they can offer in each course in the coming academic year by mid-April. We suggest that you contact the relevant departments or committees early in the spring about which of their upcoming courses will require sections or tutors.

Preference for teaching fellow appointments is given to students for whom a guarantee was offered at admission; teaching preference is also usually given to students prior to the fifth year of residency. Departments and course heads are expected to consider all qualified applicants from within GSAS; special attention should be paid to qualified applicants from related departments and disciplines. In accordance with the faculty’s own policy, course heads are also expected to consider qualified GSAS students for teaching positions before hiring non-GSAS candidates.

If you are guaranteed teaching as part of your funding package but are unable to obtain a teaching fellowship appointment, you have the right to discuss this situation with appropriate departmental representatives to determine what can be done to locate an appointment. Be persistent. In some departments, positions are in short supply, so you will need to bring some entrepreneurial energy to the "job search".

A teaching fellow’s assignment to a course may change depending on undergraduate course enrollment. If the course attracts more students than anticipated, you may have the opportunity to teach an additional section. If the course enrolls fewer students than expected, you may need to find a teaching assignment in another course. Talk with your department administrator or graduate coordinator, who may know of last-minute openings resulting from increased enrollments or staff changes.

Whenever possible, teaching fellow appointments and provisional assignments should be made before June 1. Applicants who are not chosen for a teaching fellowship should be informed by early June.

Assignment of Teaching Fellowships in General Education and Other Committees

In addition to department courses, teaching fellowships are available in the Program in General Education, the Harvard College Writing Program, the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature, the Department of Literature and Comparative Literature, the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, and the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

Program in General Education

The Program in General Education (more commonly known as Gen Ed) is the largest employer of teaching fellows (TFs), appointing more than 200 graduate students from all three divisions each term. Faculty from nearly all departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) teach Gen Ed courses. These courses are unique in comparison to department courses—and challenging to teach—because they enroll a broader range of undergraduates, many of whom are non-concentrators and may have little background in the topic. Furthermore, the topic and the approach to the material may be different from that in the department.

Gen Ed seeks to connect in an explicit way what students learn in the classroom to the lives they will lead after college. The material taught in Gen Ed courses is continuous with the material taught in the rest of the curriculum, but the approach is different. These courses aim not to draw students into a discipline, but to bring the disciplines into students' lives. The Program introduces students to subject matter and skills from across the University, and does so in ways that link the arts and sciences with the 21st century world that students will face. In addition, the Program seeks to provide new opportunities for students to learn—and for faculty to teach—in ways that cut across traditional departmental and intra-University lines and that utilize hands-on teaching and innovative pedagogy.

Undergraduates must complete one letter-graded course in each of the following eight Gen Ed categories: 1) Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding; 2) Culture and Belief; 3) Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning; 4) Ethical Reasoning; 5) Science of Living Systems; 6) Science of the Physical Universe; 7) Societies of the World; 8) United States in the World. Additionally, one of these eight courses must engage substantially with the Study of the Past.

Faculty begin appointing TFs once they receive initial course enrollment estimates several months before the beginning of the term. These estimates are later adjusted according to student data from the Pre-Term Planning (PTP) process where all undergraduates are required to indicate courses they plan to take in the subsequent semester, allowing for better planning for teaching appointments, classroom assignments and course material orders.

You cannot apply to teach "in Gen Ed," but rather you must apply to teach in a particular course or courses. Most TFs are assigned to teach Gen Ed courses through their department, but interested graduate students may also contact Gen Ed faculty directly. Those interested in teaching for a Gen Ed course should check the General Education chapter of the online "Courses of Instruction" (available on the FAS Registrar’s Office website) to decide in which courses you are qualified and interested to teach. Then send by e-mail to the respective faculty member(s) a current c.v. and a brief outline of your academic background and teaching experience.

Hiring decisions for these courses are made by the faculty in accordance with FAS guidelines, which require that faculty give priority to qualified third- and fourth-year Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) students. When the pool of qualified GSAS students has been exhausted, students from other Harvard graduate degree programs may be appointed as Teaching Fellows, and teachers not currently registered in any Harvard graduate school may be appointed as Teaching Assistants. If you are selected to teach in a Gen Ed course, the faculty member or department will let the Gen Ed Office know, and you will be contacted by the Gen Ed Office to complete teaching appointment forms. To guarantee payment in the first month of the term, these forms must be submitted by May 15th for the fall 2013 term and by October 15th for the spring 2014 term. The first paycheck may be delayed if teaching appointments are processed after these deadlines.

The total number of TFs hired in Gen Ed courses each term depends on the number of undergraduates enrolled in each course. Since Harvard undergraduates do not finalize their course enrollments until the end of the first week of the term, some courses must enlarge their teaching staffs in mid-September for fall term courses or early February for spring term courses. If you have not been appointed for a course you would like to teach, it is recommended that you attend the first meetings of the course and speak with the faculty member(s) to see whether more TFs are needed.

Program in General Education
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center Suite 470
Phone: 617-495-2563
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stephanie Kenen, administrative director and associate dean of undergraduate education
Anne Marie E. Calareso, associate director

Harvard College Writing Program

Teaching positions in Expository Writing—at the rank of preceptor—become available each year. You can apply for these positions at the Harvard College Writing Program Office:

Harvard College Writing Program
One Bow Street, Suite 250
Phone: 617-495-2566
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thomas Jehn, Sosland director
Karen Heath, senior preceptor
Rebecca Skolnik, program administrator

Applications are due by late November (call for details). Interviews with the hiring committee take place in February and March.

Qualified applicants not selected in the spring due to a limited number of slots at that time are urged to keep their current addresses and phone numbers on file with the Harvard College Writing Program Office. Vacancies occasionally need to be filled even during late summer.

If you are not familiar with the Program’s current curriculum and would like further information before applying for a position, please make inquiries by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Committee on Degrees in History and Literature

The Committee on Degrees in History and Literature hires graduate students with interdisciplinary interests and experience. Most of its tutors come from languages, Comparative Literature, English, History, American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, History of Art and Architecture, and History of Science departments. The committee hires only candidates who have passed their General Exams and have prior teaching experience. Appointments are for one full academic year. Most tutors teach individual senior and small group junior tutorials, but there are sometimes placements in co-taught sophomore group tutorials. Once hired, tutors in History and Literature may have appointments renewed for subsequent years. Openings usually have specific requirements related to the subject fields chosen by the undergraduates in the concentration. Applications, available online in December, are due in January. The committee chair and director of studies interview prospective tutors in March. On the basis of credentials, recommendations, and interviews, the committee makes teaching offers in April for the following year.

Students interested in tutoring in this interdisciplinary concentration should visit the History and Literature Office:

Committee on Degrees in History and Literature
Barker Center 122
12 Quincy Street
Phone: 617-495-4029
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Stauffer (fall semester) and Jill Lepore (spring semester), interim chairs
Mo Moulton, interim director of studies
Jessica Shires, department administrator

Department of Literature and Comparative Literature

The teaching duties for the Department of Literature and Comparative Literature include instruction in junior and senior individual tutorials. Appointments are normally for the academic year for 1/5 or 2/5 time. The department prefers candidates who have passed their General Exams in a literature field and who have had some prior teaching experience in literature. Candidates are also expected to have expertise in at least two literatures (one can be English and American literature).

Application forms are available in the office and should be filed by March. To inquire about teaching fellowship appointments in literature, contact the director of studies:

Committee on Degrees in Literature
Dana Palmer House
16 Quincy Street
Phone: 617-495-4186

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , director of studies

Committee on Degrees in Social Studies

Teaching fellows in Social Studies teach tutorials for Social Studies 10, "An Introduction to Social Studies," and also advise senior theses.

Most social studies tutors come from the social sciences, especially the government, sociology, history, economics, and anthropology departments. Knowledge of social theory is essential for teaching in Social Studies 10, and as the course is an especially rigorous one, we typically hire experienced teachers. Teaching fellows in Social Studies also serve as academic advisers to their students and participate in the broader Social Studies community.

Applications to teach in Social Studies are due by the end of February each year. Applicants are asked to send a letter, c.v., and a summary of teaching evaluations. Two letters of recommendation specifically addressing your teaching abilities should be sent under separate cover.

Committee on Degrees in Social Studies
Hilles Library
59 Shepard Street
Phone: 617-495-2163

Richard Tuck, chair
Anya Bernstein, director of studies
Kate Anable, department administrator

Department of Visual and Environmental Studies

The Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) hires teaching assistants with specialized skills for classes in the studio arts, film, and photography, and teaching fellows for lecture courses on film studies, environmental studies, and contemporary art. Teaching assistants will often be graduates of the department or professionals from outside the Harvard community. Those interested should contact the director of undergraduate studies or manager of academic programs.

VES lecture courses, particularly in film studies, may employ teaching fellows from related departments such as Anthropology, Comparative Literature, and the History of Art and Architecture. Please contact the director of graduate studies for film and visual studies or the director of undergraduate studies for film studies for further information regarding teaching in these areas.

Department of Visual and Environmental Studies/
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

24 Quincy Street
Phone: 617-495-3251

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , director of undergraduate studies
Carrie Lambert-Beatty, director of graduate studies
Paula Soares, manager of academic programs Emily Amendola, graduate coordinator

Committee on Degrees in the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

The Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality hires TFs to lead sections and tutorials in conjunction with introductory courses and larger lecture courses. The program also hires graduate students to the tutorial board to work individually with juniors and seniors on specific topics. Since the concentration emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach, applicants should be well-versed in feminist theory, theories of sexuality, and/or gender studies in general, as well as within their own disciplines.

Current Harvard graduate students who wish to be considered for appointment as teaching fellows in WGS courses or as tutors for WGS Junior Tutorials must first apply for admission to the WGS Graduate Tutorial Board. Harvard graduate students may apply by emailing a brief bio form, c.v., and teaching evaluations (where available) to Caroline Light, director of undergraduate studies (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Please allow 3-4 weeks for a response. Qualified students will be selected for an interview. Accepted members of the Tutorial Board receive early notice of all Teaching Fellow openings.

Priority for teaching assignments is given to GSAS G3 and G4 students and to students enrolled in the WGS Graduate Secondary Field program who have not yet met the program teaching requirement. Please do not contact professors directly to inquire about TF positions.

Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Boylston Hall, Ground Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-9199
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Afsaneh Najmabadi, chair
Caroline Light, director of undergraduate studies

Harvard Summer School

Support teaching staff appointments are made by the Summer School upon the recommendation of the course instructor and, in some cases, with the recommendation of the department chair under whose auspices a course is being given. A preview of courses appears in January and is followed by the online catalogue in early March. Last summer, more than 200 support teaching staff members were hired for summer courses.

The Summer School hires teaching assistants, language drill instructors, graders, and course assistants. Appointments depend on enrollments and documented course needs.

Teaching Assistants and Language Drill Instructors: Most teaching assistant appointments are in computer, laboratory science, and foreign language courses (although larger courses in the humanities and social sciences may also need assistants). Teaching assistants are expected to attend lectures, lead their own labs or sections, grade assignments, and hold office hours. Language drill instructors hold daily drill sections in intensive language courses, grade assignments, and hold office hours. All instructional staff are expected to be present on campus for the entire summer session.

Graders: Courses with 30 or more students may have graders. Only undergraduate and non-credit students count toward the minimum enrollment requirement, since faculty are responsible for grading graduate student work. A normal workload for a grader includes two substantial written assignments (e.g., an hour exam and final exam, or a long paper and a final exam).

Course Assistants: Course assistants are sometimes hired in studio workshops that require extensive classroom work with small groups of students.

Student and Faculty resources and support are different in the summer; the Harvard Summer School Faculty Handbook will provide information about teaching in the summer session.

Teaching in the Summer School does not count as part of the four-year teaching fellow limit for GSAS students.

Contact Lisa Lauterbach Laskin, associate dean for academic affairs for the Summer School, for more information (617-495-0311).

Harvard Global Health Institute

The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) helps to match teaching fellows to undergraduate global health courses at Harvard College, and also partners with the Bok Center to offer focused workshops for global health TFs at the beginning of each semester, in conjunction with the Bok Center’s Teaching Conferences. Successful TFs in global health courses have come from a wide range of graduate programs and disciplines. There is a diverse range of courses that are part of the General Education curriculum in global health and the Global Health and Health Policy (GHHP) secondary field.

If you are interested in being a TF for a particular global health course, we recommend contacting the course leadership directly. If you would like to be considered for TF positions for global health courses as they arise, please sign up for the Global Health Student Registry, indicating your interest in serving as a TF. Those wishing to be TFs should express interest by early May for fall term courses or by the beginning of October for spring term courses. Because Harvard undergraduates do not finalize their course enrollments until the end of the first week of the term, additional teaching opportunities may become available if courses unexpectedly need to enlarge their teaching staff in mid-September for fall term courses or early February for spring term courses.

Harvard Global Health Institute
104 Mount Auburn Street, 3rd Floor
Phone: 617-495-8222
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cherie Ramirez, curriculum fellow