Teaching Assistantships & Financial Support

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs)

If you have been guaranteed a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) you will receive a preference sheet prior to the semester asking for your top ten choices. Every effort is made to provide you with one of your top choices, but sometimes you may be assigned a course that was not listed on your preference sheet.

If you have not been guaranteed a GTA or would like to apply for additional GTAs, positions are posted for 10 working days toward the end of each semester. Students must complete an application form that is available from the graduate program assistant or on the web in order to obtain a posted GTA position.

We strongly caution students not to take on additional GTA positions to the point that your ability to do a good job as a GTA and to complete your degree in a timely and effective manner are impaired.

Once you have been assigned, you will need to contact the professor that you will be working with. You should find out the professor's expectations for the assistantship and then negotiate its terms. If you feel uncomfortable with some aspect of the contract, discuss it with the professor at that time.

The department tries to place all teaching assistants in courses for which they are most suited. The professors of the courses are responsible for training teaching assistants. Students should also feel free to ask second year students for assistance as they will be glad to help.

One of the skills of a good graduate student is time management. If one of your responsibilities is marking, undergraduate students’ essays and final examinations are due at roughly the same time that your own assignments are due.

You have access to an office in MacKinnon 523 in order to hold office hours with students. Please contact the graduate program assistant to book office hours for this space. Remember that a GTA is a job and as such you are obligated to fulfill the requirements of the job in a professional manner.

Graduate Teaching Assistantship Contracts

Every GTA and professor must submit an Assignment of Work Agreement which will outline the expectations of the student during the assistantship and the amount of time to be spent on those expectations. The teaching assistant's duties should be as detailed as possible and must be submitted to the graduate program assistant within seven (7) days of the commencement of your employment.

You should keep one copy of the GTA duties and another copy should be kept by the professor you are working with. The contract should be followed as closely as possible throughout the semester. This form should be revised to reflect your agreement. Blank copies of this form will be distributed with the GTA assignment and are also available from the graduate program assistant (via email or in person).

You are expected to work 140 hours over approximately 14 weeks. On average, a full GTA is expected to work 10 hours a week and a half GTA is expected to work 5 hours a week. Under the terms of the collective agreement, GTAs cannot work more than 28 hours in any one week.

The program does not have money to pay overtime. If you are approaching the 28-hour maximum in any week, notify your instructor immediately. Along with your GTA assignments, there will be a time sheet for each GTA to keep track of her/his hours. This time sheet is for your own information and every two weeks you should inform your professor of how much time remains.

GTAs at the University of Guelph are unionized. Copies of the collective agreement between the University and CUPE will be put in your mailbox shortly after the beginning of your first semester. Check with the graduate program assistant as to which graduate student is the union representative.

Online courses required for new GTAs

First-time GTAs are required to take three online courses:

  • Accessible Service Provision
  • Health and Safety
  • Making Education Accessible

Completion of these courses should take no more than three hours in total. When you have completed each course, please forward the certificate of completion to the graduate program assistant.

You will only need to take these courses once. The hours for these courses are factored into your GTA Assignment of Work Agreement.

Travel Grants

The CCJP program has a budget to help defray some of the costs for graduate students who plan to take part in an academic conference or conduct research that requires travel. Successful applicants will receive an award of up to $500 (in exceptional circumstances, more than $500 may be granted). The funds are intended to subsidize cost of travel, not to cover them totally.

Priority will be given to:

  • graduate students who are presenting papers or posters that are subject to some form of vetting and have been accepted for presentation;
  • graduate students who are conducting thesis/MRP research in order to fulfill requirements of the master’s program.

There are typically two competitions per year, with deadlines usually on November 1 and March 1.

Other Sources of Financial Support

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Political Science make every effort to provide financial support for graduate students. Upon admission, some students will be awarded a Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarship and/or a Dean's Scholarship.

Students will be informed of the award in their offer of acceptance. Occasionally, the departments are able to offer a limited number of students one of these awards at the beginning of the second semester.

In addition to the Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarship and/or Dean's Scholarship, the departments offer GTAs and, occasionally, graduate research assistantships (GRAs). Please note that it is an exception to have any financial support during the spring term which runs from May to August.

You will generally have to make alternative plans for financial support during the summer unless, upon admission, you have been guaranteed this support. If you are not planning to study during the summer, you must apply for a leave of absence from the program.

Finally, there are a number of University/College scholarships and awards as well as external awards, such as the Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Scholarship, for which you can apply.

Please contact the graduate program assistant or graduate coordinator for further details about travel grants, college/university awards and external grants.