Teaching fellows (TFs) teach part-time under the supervision of course heads (who hold formal teaching appointments) as an integral part of their training for the PhD or, in exceptional cases, for a master’s degree.

The teaching fellowship is not a formal teaching appointment: only those holding appointments as professor, lecturer, or preceptor are responsible for the structure and content of a course. Since each course offered at Harvard is different, the TF experience varies from course to course. Because teaching is an important part of a student's development as a scholar, faculty supervise and regularly evaluate teaching fellows. Information about teaching stipend rates and schedules can be found in GSAS Policies.

Resources are available to help graduate students learn how to teach, how to access accommodations for the classroom, and how to become comfortable speaking publicly. You can also access information about teaching fellowship policies online.

TFs receive complimentary membership at the Harvard Faculty Club, located at 20 Quincy Street. The club’s facilities include restaurants, private function rooms, and guest bedrooms. Reciprocal privileges exist with many faculty clubs within the US and throughout the world.

Teaching Fellow Assignments and Appointments

While the TF assignment process differs from department to department, decisions generally take into account level of English proficiency, preparation, teaching experience, and satisfactory academic standing. By mid-April, departments will have estimated the number of teaching appointments needed for the coming academic year; if you are eligible, express your interest by contacting the administrator in the department hosting the course(s) you would like to teach. Whenever possible, TF appointments and provisional assignments are made before June 1. TF assignments are adjusted in the fall based on undergraduate course enrollment, which may result in an adjustment to the number sections associated with a course. TF appointments are provided first to students guaranteed teaching as part of their admissions offer and to those in their third and fourth years. If you find yourself in need of an additional teaching opportunity, speak with your department administrator, graduate coordinator, or director of graduate studies, who can help you identify last-minute openings.

Students may also access the Central Application for Teaching Sections (CATS), a tool academic departments in the humanities and social sciences use to make TF opportunities visible to graduate students. The tool facilitates interested students’ submission of their qualifications for posted teaching opportunities and conveniently packages students’ credentials for review by the department in their TF selection process.

Review GSAS Policies for more information on TF appointment policies.

Teaching Evaluation and Recognition

The Q Guide

The Committee on Undergraduate Education and the Committee on Graduate Education oversee the Q Evaluations, which provide feedback on course structure, the quality of the presentation, and the nature of assignments. Participation in the Q Evaluations is mandatory for TFs and the survey data is integrated with the online course selection tool at my.harvard.edu, which allows students to access and compare course evaluations while deciding which courses to take.

Summary statistics and comments submitted by students are made available to the course heads of evaluated courses after final grades for the term have been submitted. All verbatim evaluation responses remain confidential. Department chairs can view evaluation results for all faculty and section leaders teaching in their departments. Individual course heads access only their own results, although they can view the results for section leaders teaching in their courses. Section leaders only see the responses that apply directly to their teaching.

TFs are encouraged to include this information in their professional dossiers.

The Office of Undergraduate Education reviews the evaluations for instructional support staff when their average overall rating raises concerns about the quality of instruction. In such cases, the dean of undergraduate education will send the TF a letter, requesting that the student seek guidance from the Bok Center on how to improve their teaching. In the rare case when a TF receives a second such letter, they may be prohibited from further teaching in the FAS.

Teaching Awards

The University recognizes excellence in teaching with Certificates of Distinction awarded each term by the deans of GSAS and of Harvard College. These certificates are presented by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning to TFs and teaching assistants who receive exceptionally high scores on the Q Evaluations. Other teaching awards administered through academic departments or by special committees include:

  • Allen Young Prizes in Social Analysis 10 (economics)
  • Jack M. Stein Prize (Germanic languages and literatures)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award (government)
  • Botein Prize (history and literature)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prizes
  • White Award (physics)
  • Travel Study Prize (Romance languages and literatures)
  • Thomas Hoopes Prizes and the Levenson Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (special committees, awarded by the Undergraduate Council)
  • Stanley Hoffmann Prize (social studies)
  • Derek C. Bok Awards for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates (selected from among Bok Center Certificate of Distinction awardees), made possible by a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. David G. Nathan, AB ’51, MD ’55

Teaching Consultants and Department Teaching Fellows

A select group of experienced TFs who have achieved distinction in their teaching are selected for affiliation with the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Their work as teaching consultants includes helping with TF training programs, observing classes taught by other TFs, and providing feedback. A number of department TFs also do this work, nominated by and based in their home departments. For additional information, contact the Bok Center.

Additional Teaching Opportunities

In addition to department courses, TF appointments are available in the Program in General Education, the Harvard College Writing Program, the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard Summer School, and the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator.

Program in General Education

The Program in General Education (Gen Ed) is the largest employer of TFs, appointing more than 200 graduate students from all three divisions (and SEAS) each term. Faculty from nearly all departments in the 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 pedagogical aims are different than those of department courses; Gen Ed courses are intended to help undergraduates connect classroom learning to the lives they lead outside of college, while most departmental courses are intended to introduce and train students in a discipline. Most TFs are assigned to teach Gen Ed courses through their departments, however, graduate students interested in teaching a particular course may contact the course head directly by e-mailing a current CV along with an outline of any relevant academic background and teaching experience.

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. Faculty and departments begin appointing TFs once they receive initial course enrollment estimates several months before the beginning of the term, and adjust appointments as enrollment data is confirmed. 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.

Hiring decisions are made by faculty and departments in accordance with the FAS guidelines. If you are selected to teach in a Gen Ed course, the faculty member or department will inform the Gen Ed Office, who will contact you to complete teaching appointment forms. To guarantee payment in the first month of the term, these forms must be submitted by the last Friday in May for the fall term and by the last Friday in October for the spring term. Your first paycheck may be delayed if teaching appointments are processed after these deadlines.

Program in General Education
Laura Hess, Director
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, Suite 470
Phone: 617-495-2563

Harvard College Writing Program

Teaching positions in expository writing—at the rank of preceptor—become available each year and are typically posted in the autumn months. 

Harvard College Writing Program
Thomas Jehn, Sosland Director
Karen Heath, Associate Director
Rebecca Skolnik, Program Administrator
Colleen Desrosiers, Staff Assistant
One Bow Street, Suite 250
Phone: 617-495-2566
Email: expos@fas.harvard.edu

Committee on Degrees in History and Literature

The Committee on Degrees in History and Literature hires PhD candidates in American Studies to teach year-long junior tutorials. History and Literature tutors teach across our seven undergraduate fields of study: American Studies, Ethnic Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, the Medieval World, the World before 1800, and the Modern World. We are especially interested in candidates whose research interests include race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and comparative or transnational approaches. The committee hires candidates who have passed their general exams and have prior teaching experience. All appointments are for one full academic year. In addition to teaching a junior tutorial (usually three students), the teaching fellow is also responsible for grading junior essays and other responsibilities shared by all members of the Tutorial Board in History and Literature. Openings usually have specific requirements related to the subject fields chosen by the undergraduates in the concentration. To apply, please send two documents to histlit@fas.harvard.edu by April 15: 1) a CV that includes contact information for three recommenders; and 2) a cover letter that includes a paragraph describing the applicant’s dissertation. Interviews will be conducted and hiring decisions will be made in May. 

Committee on Degrees in History and Literature
Philip Deloria, Chair
Lauren Kaminsky, Director of Studies
Jessica Shires, Department Administrator
Barker Center 122, 12 Quincy Street
Phone: 617-495-4029
Email: histlit@fas.harvard.edu

Department of Comparative Literature

Graduate students in the Department of Comparative Literature generally teach 100-level lecture and seminar courses as well as tutorials offered in the department’s undergraduate program, General Education and Humanities, the History and Literature program, various language and literature departments, and related fields, including history, history of science, music, and philosophy.

Comparative Literature 100-level courses

The Department of Comparative Literature offers a number of 100-level courses on a variety of topics for which graduate students often serve as TFs. Interested students are encouraged to reach out to comparative literature faculty directly about these opportunities during the spring preceding the year in which their courses are offered. Students who would like to teach for department faculty members, whether in Comparative Literature 100-level courses or in their General Education/Humanities courses, also are required to participate in the department’s teaching application process, which takes place every spring.

Undergraduate tutorials

Department graduate students supervise junior and senior tutorials (Comparative Literature 98a/b and Comparative Literature 99a/b), required of all juniors and seniors concentrating in comparative literature. In junior tutorial, tutors work with students to design a reading course based on the student’s specific interests and fields. Senior tutorial is devoted to the research and writing of the senior thesis and preparation for oral examinations. Tutorials meet weekly for one to one-and-a-half hours. All tutorials are reading and writing intensive, forming the core around which a student develops a larger field of study. Each tutor also serves as the student’s academic advisor.

Tutors are ordinarily expected to participate on the tutorial board in the fall and the spring semesters. Tutoring two students each semester is the equivalent of a 1/5 teaching appointment. Interested students should participate in the department’s teaching application process, which takes place every spring. Interviews and hiring decisions are made in April.

Department of Comparative Literature
Sandra Naddaff, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Dana-Palmer House, 16 Quincy Street
Phone: 617-495-4186
Email: snaddaff@fas.harvard.edu

Committee on Degrees in Social Studies

TFs in Social Studies teach tutorials for Social Studies 10, “An Introduction to Social Studies,’’ and advise senior theses. Most Social Studies tutors come from the social sciences, especially from 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, the Committee typically hires experienced teachers. TFs in Social Studies also serve as academic advisors to their students and participate in the broader Social Studies community.

Interested students should apply through the Harvard Academic Recruiting Information eSystem (ARIeS); applications are due by the end of February and must include a cover letter, CV, and a summary of teaching evaluations.

Committee on Degrees in Social Studies
James T. Kloppenberg, Chair
Anya Bernstein Bassett, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Kate Anable, Department Administrator and Undergraduate Program Administrator
William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street
Phone: 617-495-2163

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, filmmaking, and photography and teaching fellows for lecture courses. VES lecture courses, particularly in film studies, employ TFs from the PhD program in Film and Visual Studies (FVS). At times, additional TF positions become available and VES looks to related departments, such as anthropology, comparative literature, and the history of art and architecture to fill them. Please contact the FVS director of graduate studies or the graduate programs coordinator for more information.

Department of Visual and Environmental Studies
Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Director of Graduate Studies
Emily Amendola, Graduate Coordinator
Ruth Lingford, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Paula Soares, Manager of Academic Programs
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
24 Quincy Street
Phone: 617-495-3251
Email: FVS@fas.harvard.edu

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

The Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS) hires TFs to lead sections and tutorials for introductory courses and larger lecture courses. The program also hires graduate students to the Tutorial Board to work individually with juniors 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 graduate students who wish to be considered for appointment as course TFs or as tutors for junior tutorials must first apply for admission to the WGS Graduate Tutorial Board by e-mailing a brief bio, CV, and teaching evaluations (where available) to Caroline Light, director of undergraduate studies. Please allow three to four weeks for a response. Qualified students will be selected for an interview. 

Priority for teaching assignments is given to GSAS students in their third or fourth years of study and to students enrolled in the WGS graduate secondary field program who have not yet met the program teaching requirement.

Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Robin Bernstein, Chair
Caroline Light, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Sarah Richardson, Director of Graduate Studies
Boylston Hall, Ground Floor, Harvard Yard
Phone: 617-495-9199
Email: wgs@fas.harvard.edu

Harvard Summer School

Harvard Summer School hires teaching assistants, language drill instructors, graders, and course assistants. Appointments depend on enrollments and documented course needs; last summer, the School appointed more than 300 support-teaching staff. The Summer School’s online catalog will be available by the beginning of February. Most courses are listed at that time, but a few courses are added between February and May. 

Teaching Assistants and Language Drill Instructors: Courses with at least 18 students are eligible for a Teaching Assistant. 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). Specific duties are assigned by the course instructor, but generally, teaching assistants are expected to attend lectures, lead their own labs or sections, grade assignments, and hold office hours. Language drill instructors teach 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.

The Harvard Summer School Faculty Handbook and faculty website provide further information about teaching in the summer session.

Teaching in the Summer School does not count toward the four-year TF limit for GSAS students.

Harvard Summer School
Karen Flood, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
51 Brattle Street
Phone: 617-998-1133
Email: kflood@fas.harvard.edu

Global Health Education and Learning Incubator at Harvard University

The Global Health Education and Learning Incubator (GHELI) is a University-wide resource supported by the Office of the President and Provost of Harvard University to promote innovative teaching and learning about global health challenges. We design and pilot new pedagogical tools and instructional strategies that bridge disciplinary fields, educational spaces, and groups of learners. Areas of interest for aspiring or active teaching fellows include:

  • Opportunities for Teaching Fellows in Global Health. Through the co-sponsorship of a global health departmental teaching fellow, GHELI facilitates connections between prospective TFs and global health courses and hosts periodic workshops for professional development. Successful TFs in global health courses have come from a wide range of graduate programs and disciplines. If you are interested in being a TF for a particular course, contact the course leadership directly. If you would like to receive updates about opportunities relevant to global health TFs, please subscribe to GHELI’s newsletter or directly e-mail Anshul Kumar, global health departmental teaching fellow.
  • Resources for Teaching Fellows in Global Health. Our website offers narratives and curated resources on rotating global health themes, shares multimedia prototypes created in our learning studios, and provides an overview of schools and cross-University hubs that support education in global health, public health and environmental health. Our digital repository includes more than 500 high-quality reports, articles, graphics, fact sheets, country profiles, and teaching cases. Resources are selected to represent the interdisciplinary “knowledge terrain” of contemporary global health, and are searchable by topic, sector, population, and region. 

Global Health Education and Learning Incubator
104 Mount Auburn Street, 3rd Floor
Phone: 617-495-8222
Email: gheli@harvard.edu