Campus Employment



Allocation of Positions
TA positions are an important form of graduate student support and vital to the support of the undergraduate programs as well.  Assigning TAships is a fine balance between these two basic needs.

Economics TA funding for the upcoming academic year is offered to prospective economics Ph.D. student applicants as part of their financial support. The actual teaching assignments are determined later in the academic year. Students are offered TA positions based on their class ranking and their past teaching performance. A high class ranking will not compensate for a poor record as a TA. When additional positions are available, TA positions are offered to our masters students based on academic standing and expertise for the position(s) available.

Assignment of Courses
TAs are assigned to courses that meet the enrollment criteria. Class needs are balanced with faculty and student preferences.  Assigning teaching assistants to courses is a complicated procedure. Course enrollments, financial support commitments to graduate students, budgetary constraints, and faculty needs must be considered. Overall department instructional needs take priority over faculty and student requests. Final assignments are made after the second meeting of the course each quarter when course enrollments stabilize.

TAs must respond to the formal letter and employment forms must be filled out prior to the start of employment. If the student decides to decline the TA offer after having already officially accepted the position, he or she must submit a statement in writing to that effect to the graduate programs coordinator. At the beginning of the quarter, each TA also completes a Teaching Assistant Responsibilities and Evaluation form with the course instructor. The following criteria applied to the TA responsibilities listed on the form will be the basis for the end-of-quarter evaluation: quality of work, detail, accuracy and thoroughness; interaction with students, co-workers, and instructor; knowledge of subject; dependability.

Description of Duties and Responsibilities
TAs perform a combination of duties: attend faculty lectures, hold regular office hours, conduct sections, attend TA training activities; and assist the faculty supervisor in grading homework and exams and in preparation of coursework materials. TAs conduct weekly discussion sections to clarify lectures, go over homework, and answer student questions. There are several office spaces available on the fourth floor of E2 for TAs to conduct office hours. They are located in the 403 hallway. Students can reserve these rooms with the graduate programs coordinator who will post calendars outside of each office.   

TAs are expected to work twenty hours per week. Faculty, however, realize that TAs are students who have their own exams, and plan workloads accordingly. TAs who are working more than twenty hours a week should first approach their faculty supervisors. If the problem continues, please talk to the TA Trainer about negotiating a solution.

Record Keeping/Evaluations
TAs are responsible for keeping records of student performance on homework and exams during the quarter. Teaching Assistants may also be required to keep attendance records for some courses. TAs are not solely responsible for writing a student's narrative evaluation.

Teaching Assistants receive a quarterly stipend, in addition to an educational fee waiver and paid health insurance. If you are employed as a teaching assistant for the full academic year, your first paycheck will be issued on November 1 and on the first of the month thereafter. The final spring quarter check is issued on July 1. When you sign your employment papers, you will fill out a payroll check disposition form to let Payroll know where to send your check. Direct deposit of your check is encouraged.

Fee Deferments/Payroll Deduction –    
Any student with a guaranteed source of income, i.e., teaching assistantship, graduate student researcher or grant from which to repay the deferment, may apply for a fee deferment through Accounts Receivable. The student must pay 1/3 down and the remaining 2/3 in installments. Registration fees can also be deducted directly from your TA or GSR paycheck. You must sign the forms authorizing both the deferment and the deduction in the Graduate Division Office, before the date fees are due, to avoid paying the penalty.

Economics teaching assistants play an important role in undergraduate instruction. The following campus workload policy was devised to clarify the responsibility and duties of teaching assistants, readers and student assistants:

1.       Teaching assistants are paid to work 50% time, which is 20 hours a week. This time may include attendance at lectures, preparing for and conducting sections, attending a weekly meeting with course instructor, participating in TA training activities, grading exams and homework, and holding one office hour per week per section (generally two office hours per week). Teaching assistants are expected to lead two sections of approximately twenty-five students per section, while undergraduate students are limited to one section of approximately twenty students. Readers are allocated no more than eighty hours per quarter. Graduate students must not work more than 20 hours a week.

2.       The creation of homework assignments and/or exams is the responsibility of faculty. The dates of midterms and finals should be marked clearly on the course syllabus enabling TAs to plan for grading time immediately after midterms and finals. If faculty rely on TAs for developing answer keys, they must maintain editorial control, otherwise gaps in TA understanding will be transmitted to the class.

3.       Writing narrative evaluations is the responsibility of faculty. TAs can be expected to write a rough draft of each narrative evaluation or to compose a short paragraph about each student's performance on homework or in sections to be included directly on the evaluation above the TAs signature. University policy, however, does not allow TAs to write the complete evaluation with no editorial effort from the responsible faculty member.

4.       TAs are required to participate in TA training activities. The Economics Department conducts a quarterly TA training seminar. New teaching assistants are observed once by the TA Trainer during their first teaching quarter.  The economics TA trainer meets with TAs to review their performance and makes suggestions for improvement. Midterm evaluations will be placed in TA and reader mailboxes during the fifth week of the quarter. They are to be passed out in section, and returned to the TA. The evaluations are a means to receive constructive feedback and are not for formal department evaluation. It is the responsibility of the TA or reader to forward these evaluations to the TA trainer for review and feedback.

5.       Faculty are responsible for supervising TAs including regularly discussing course materials, making workload expectations clear, observing the TA's section at least once, and giving constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement. At the beginning of the quarter, the supervising faculty and TA sign and submit a TA Responsibilities and Evaluation form to the graduate programs coordinator. At the end of the quarter, the faculty submits an evaluation of the TA and the faculty and TA sign the evaluation form once again.

6.       At the end of the quarter, TA evaluations are once again distributed, this time to the supervising faculty who hands them out to the students. These TA evaluations are filed in the economics office but TAs are encouraged to come in and review them at their convenience.  

7.       If a serious problem between a TA and their faculty supervisor arises, faculty and TAs should consult with the TA trainer or the department chair immediately to resolve the issue.

TA Loans
Since the first teaching assistant paycheck is issued a month after the beginning of a TA appointment, emergency loans are available from the Graduate Division. Loans can only be given during the first quarter of the teaching assistant appointment for the current academic year. Loan amounts range from $100 to a maximum of $800 with a charge of 1% interest for each $100 borrowed. The loan is automatically deducted in three equal amounts from the first three paychecks. Loans are available approximately twenty days prior to the beginning of the eligible quarter and may be taken out only once during the academic year.

TA Training
The Graduate Division holds a required training for graduate students and TAs at the beginning of the academic year.

The graduate program coordinator coordinates TA activities for the Economics Department. The program consists of several components including:  quarterly meetings, a mid-quarter evaluation by students, and final TA evaluations by students at the end of the quarter.

The quarterly meetings include orientation for new TAs (how to get through the first discussion section, general principles of teaching, and a panel of experienced TAs) and information for returning TAs. Topics include administrative aspects of being a TA and a short overview of the TA roles and responsibilities as well as brief information about teaching. At mid-quarter, students are asked to complete a mid-term evaluation of their TAs so that TAs can use the suggestions to improve their teaching. First-time economics Ph.D. TAs are observed and have the opportunity to discuss the observation with their supervisor or the TA trainer. Section observations are for improving teaching techniques only and are not used in the hiring process.


A graduate student researcher (GSR) assists with scholarly research under the direction and supervision of a faculty member.  Students are chosen by individual faculty for their achievement and promise as creative scholars. GSRs must be fully enrolled as graduate students for each quarter they are employed. Under the tuition remission program, non-resident tuition and in-state fees for GSRs with a minimum 25% appointment will be funded.

Fee Deferment and Paychecks
See Graduate Division website -

The University of California, Santa Cruz, makes a strong effort to provide financial support to graduate students who are making normal progress in their program of studies. This support may be in the form of a fellowship, a graduate student researchship, or a teaching assistantship, depending on the availability of funds and the recommendation of the student's department. Certain kinds of support are awarded on the basis of academic merit, and others are granted on the basis of need. Graduate students are encouraged to apply for both kinds.

As the graduate student population increases and state funding decreases, applying for extramural fellowships and scholarships becomes more and more critical for students. The Graduate Division assists students with grant applications and provides information on their website regarding various funding resources. In addition, before submitting a proposal to a granting agency, the student should have it reviewed and revised, as necessary, by a faculty member in the student's area of interest.

Financial Aid
Need-based financial aid such as scholarships, university grants, loans, and work-study employment are awarded to eligible students through the Financial Aid Office. Students apply in November for the following year. Graduate students must be in good academic standing and be making satisfactory progress to receive financial aid awards. Awards may be changed if additional resources (such as TAships, GSRships or scholarships) are awarded to the student after the original financial aid is awarded. All fellowship checks and financial aid checks are picked up at the Office of Accounts Receivable. A photo ID is required.


The priorities for the granting of departmental financial support for graduate students in economics are as follows:

Block fellowship grants:
1.       Top-ranked candidates being recruited for the entering Ph.D. class.
2.       Non-resident tuition fellowships for continuing second and third-year foreign students making good progress in the Ph.D. program with excellent performance in required courses.
3.       Other outstanding continuing Ph.D. students. These students are required to have attempted to obtain outside funding.

Graduate Student Researchers: Students are chosen by individual faculty for their achievement and promise as creative scholars.

Teaching Assistantships for M.S. students:
Depending on the number of available TAships and Ph.D. students, some TAships will be offered to M.S. students with excellent course records and course evaluations (if experienced TAs).