Teaching Assistantships

Jump to information on:

Pay and Duties

Teaching Assistants are paid approximately $1,678 per month for each of the nine months of the academic year. (This sum is paid in halves, on the tenth and the twenty-fifth days of the month, from October 10 to June 25.) Teaching Assistants are exempted from paying most University tuition and fees but are required to pay some tuition and fees each quarter after the exemptions. Teaching Assistants are expected to carry a minimum study program of ten applicable credit hours each quarter.

Teaching Assistants' principal service to the University is to teach, under the supervision of a faculty member, one elementary language class of about 24 students, meeting five hours each week. Teaching Assistants are given instruction at the beginning of the year and other advice and assistance as needed. Supervisors and Teaching Assistants meet periodically for discussion of relevant problems. Teaching Assistants' duties, including class preparation, correction of papers and quizzes, office hours, and meetings, amount to an average of twenty hours each week, to a maximum of 220 hours per quarter.

Eligibility and Renewal

Eligibility for appointment is dependent on admission to the Graduate School and acceptability to the department as a teacher of Spanish. Within the limits of our financial possibility and subject to certain conditions (the most important of which are maintaining satisfactory progress toward a degree and demonstrating competence as classroom teachers), Teaching Assistants holding regular appointments will be reappointed annually for the full term of their eligibility (six quarters for M.A. students).


All newly appointed Teaching Assistants attend a ten-day training program that prepares them for their teaching assignments. New and returning appointees must be present for the required planning and training period, and will be notified in writing of the date when that training begins (usually about September 16). Training will include lectures by the faculty, filmed and live demonstrations of college language courses, practice readings, and the preparation of teaching and testing materials. Additionally, international students are required to attend the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) program which covers cross-cultural communication, teaching strategies, and second language practice.

Pedagogy Coursework

All teaching assistants are required to register in SPAN 510 (5 credits) in autumn quarter of the first year of their appointment.

Teaching in the Summer

Summer TAships are often available between the first and second years of MA study, and occasionally after the second year of study. Students must take the following coursework in order to be eligible to TA in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese:

  • MA students in Hispanic Studies must take one 500-level SPAN seminar in order to TA in the summer. This is the only course required, regardless of whether the student is teaching one or two classes during the summer.
  • MA and PhD students from other programs who wish to TA for Spanish or Portuguese in the summer must take one course (credit count is not important) that will satisfy a requirement for their individual program of study and advance their progress toward degree. This is the only requirement regardless of whether the student is teaching one or two classes during the summer.

Health Benefits

Teaching Assistants are eligible for the benefits provided by the Graduate Appointee Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance Program (GAIP) designed for University of Washington academic student employees and their dependents. The program is underwritten by the MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company (MEGA) and administered by Welfare and Pension Administration Service, Inc. (WPAS). The program provides full payment of student only coverage and a portion of the dependent coverage cost. A plan book with a full description of the specific benefits is linked to the GAIP website.


Complete, save, and upload the Assistantship and Fellowship Application form into your Graduate School application.  To ensure consideration for a Teaching Assistant appointment for the academic year beginning next fall quarter, all application materials must be submitted by December 15th.

Admission to the Graduate School is a necessary condition for every appointment to a Teaching Assistantship. This matter should be attended to with care and dispatch, since the University places limits on enrollment. The Graduate School informs applicants directly of admission decisions. International students should submit their Application for Admission to the Graduate School at their earliest opportunity, preferably by November 1 of the year prior to desired admission.

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies is not presently accepting applications for Out of Department Teaching Assistants.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants who are not native speakers of English must take the TOEFL, IELTS, MLT, or PTE and meet at least the UW Graduate School’s minimum score to be considered for admission or for a Teaching Assistantship. Most applicants will take the TOEFLiBT. If you are considering applying, please register for the test right away. Complete testing score requirements for teaching assistant appointments can be found on the Graduate School's FAQ page and Memo 15 of the Graduate School Memoranda.

Announcement of Awards

The Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies will notify applicants by May 1 of the Department's action on their applications. Written acceptance of positions offered is required for a Teaching Assistantship to be considered official.

Salary Withholding Information

Income taxes will be withheld from your salary at graduated rates based on the W-4 form that you file.

Union Representation

Your appointment classifies you as an Academic Student Employee (ASE) and is governed by a contract between the UW and GSEAC/UAW. You will be offered an opportunity to join GSEAC/UAW and, as a member, you will pay dues each pay period. If you should choose not to become a member, the contract requires that you pay a monthly service fee.