The Work We Do

Welcome to a new section of GSU’s website, added in June 2016. On this page, we attempt to generate a comprehensive list of all of the ways in which University of Chicago graduate students earn money on this campus. Note that this list excludes all off-campus gigs: teaching at other colleges, private tutoring, yoga instruction, hosting paid guests, driving people around, and various other ways that University of Chicago graduate students have devised to meet their expenses. It also excludes fellowships, an important but not always reliable source of graduate student income. What it offers instead is a list of the various teaching, library, and administrative jobs that grad students typically perform on campus. In undertaking this project, we have two goals:

  1. To help fellow graduate students discover and compare job opportunities on campus; and
  2. To gain a bird’s-eye view of the working conditions we face as graduate students at the university. What work do we do here? How much does it pay?

To help us succeed, please contact the webmaster if you discover information that is incomplete or out of date. And if you know of a job on campus that is not listed here, please let us know!


Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

These two divisions collectively enroll the largest number of Ph.D. students (there were 908 Ph.D students in Social Sciences and 680 in Humanities as of Autumn 2015), and provide a large pool of teaching labor for the College’s core offerings. Not coincidentally, both divisions describe teaching as an “integral” (and indeed “required“) aspect of the graduate training they offer their Ph.D. students. All incoming students are required to accrue five teaching credits (1 per TAship; 2 per lectureship) in their first five years, and most will continue to seek teaching positions in the sixth year and beyond, when they enter Advanced Residence status and start paying $784 per quarter in tuition. Here are the teaching positions available in these divisions:

  • TA (or CA) in a departmental course ($3600 per quarter, plus tuition remission if applicable); apply through your department.
  • LA in a language course ($1500 per quarter); apply through the department in which the language is taught.
  • Writing Intern in a Hum core course ($3600 per quarter, plus tuition remission if applicable); apply through the Writing Program.
  • Teaching Intern in a Civ or SOSC course ($3600 per quarter, plus tuition remission if applicable); apply through the Social Sciences Collegiate Division.
  • Lector in the Writing Program’s Academic and Professional Writing (Little Red Schoolhouse) course ($2500 or $3000 per quarter, plus tuition remission); apply through the Writing Program.
  • Lecturer in a departmental course ($6,000 per per quarter, plus AR tuition remission if applicable); apply through your department.
  • Lecturer in a Hum, Civ, or Sosc course ($6,000 per quarter, plus AR tuition remission if applicable); apply through the Humanities Collegiate Division or the Social Sciences Collegiate Division.
  • BA preceptor in your department (pay varies by department, but in History it currently pays $7,500 plus tuition remission for the academic year); apply through your department.
  • MA preceptor for students in the MAPSS, MAPH, NELC and CIS programs (pays between $20,000 and $25,000, plus tuition remission for the academic year and possibly also health insurance); apply directly through these programs.
  • TA for an overseas program in London, Paris, Istanbul, etc. (quite well-paid, with housing included); apply through your department.
  • Writing Tutor ($13 per hour, no additional benefits); apply through the Writing Program.

Teaching in the Physical and Biological Sciences.

These divisions have considerably fewer Ph.D. students (673 in Physical Sciences, and only 412 in Biological Sciences), but certain departments–Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics–provide essential grad labor for the College’s course offerings in these subjects.

  • TA in Chemistry ($2,433 per month, plus tuition remission and health insurance). TAing is expected of most Chemistry Ph.D. students (those without special fellowships) from their first year onward. The Chemistry department is one of very very few with its own guide clearly stating policies and expectations.
  • TA in Physics. As in Chemistry, TAing is expected of most Physics Ph.D. students in their first year. Physics and Chemistry students are not permitted to teach their own courses, so there are no Lecturer positions available to them.
  • College Fellow or Lecturer in Mathematics. All second-year Ph.D. students in Mathematics serve as College Fellows, assisting faculty in teaching undergraduate courses. Third-year students and above are eligible to become Lecturers, responsible for courses of their own. Stipends for Mathematics Ph.D. students remain consistent over five years of study, and don’t appear to be tied to their teaching roles (is that right, Math folks?). More information about this arrangement is available on the departmental website.
  • TA in Biological Science (between $1200 and $1800 per quarter, or nothing at all). All Ph.D. students in the BSD are required to complete two quarters of TAships, for which they are not paid. (Instead, they receive stipends not tied to teaching.) BSD helpfully provides a handbook detailing the policies and expectations for TAs in the division.
  • Half-time TAship in Biological Science ($600 per quarter).
  • TA in the Institute of Molecular Engineering. As in BSD, the IME requires “pedagogical training” of its doctoral students, although their means of fulfilling this requirement are still ill-defined, with the institute’s website offering few details.

Teaching in the Schools of Social Service Administration, Divinity, Business, and Law.

These schools house relatively few doctoral students. Divinity has 163 students; SSA, 56; Booth, 116; Harris, 38; Law, only 19. What do they teach, and how are they paid?