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Graduate Teaching Assistantship Overview

Teaching Assistant in English (Revised 2010)

Qualifications, Job Description, and Stipend

  • Acceptance into the English MA program. Only MA students are eligible for teaching assistantships.
  • During the academic year, a TA may not hold a teaching position at another institution. Part-time work (e.g., in the SUNY New Paltz Tutoring Center) of up to 10 hours per week is permitted.
  • Teach two courses per academic year: Composition 1 (fall); Composition 2 (spring)
    • 41160 COMPOSITION 1 (3 credits)
      Training in critical reading, the process of composing, academic forms of writing, and computer literacy. Movement from expressive to expository writing. Papers assigned to develop particular writing techniques. A first-semester English course.
    • 41180 COMPOSITION 2 (3 credits)
      Training in critical reading and academic writing, particularly research, critical analysis, and argumentation. Oral presentation and library component. Papers assigned to develop academic writing skills, including the research essay. Prerequisites: ENG160 Note: Composition 2 follows a first-year seminar model. Instructors select a “theme” and design individual courses accordingly.
  • Stipend: $2500 per semester ($5000 per academic year) plus tuition waiver for two graduate courses per semester (other fees may apply).
  • Support is provided through 30 credits. The maximum number of semesters of support is therefore five, and the number of semesters of support will be reduced by one for each six credits of course work completed before entering the TA program. Students must have at least 9 credits remaining in their graduate program when they begin the assistantship; the minimum duration for an assistantship is two semesters. (Note: if an odd number of courses has been completed before entering the TA program, support will be provided through 33 credits.)


  • Enroll in ENG 515, Modern Theories of Writing
  • Hold three office hours per week
  • Attend a weekly practicum in Teaching College Writing; Tuesdays 11:30-12:20 PM
  • Attend two, two-day orientations per academic year, one in fall and one in spring
  • Note: In both fall and spring, the first orientation day is required for all-university TAs; the second day is required for TAs in English and includes instruction in syllabi and daily lesson planning, designing paper topics, and teaching writing.
  • Attend two all-Composition faculty retreats, one in fall and one in spring
    Note: The fall retreat includes training and a calibration session for annual internal Program assessment.

Procedures and Support

  • Offices are assigned upon acceptance of TA position and after all paperwork is in order
  • Observation of Teaching: Composition Program Coordinator or full-time faculty members in English observe you teaching one class at least twice a year, usually once in fall and once in spring; observer conducts a follow-up conference with you and also writes a letter documenting the visit to your class
  • Support Cohort: Coordinator, Composition Program; Faculty Mentor; TA in English “Buddy”

The Gradute Teaching Assistant Handbook

Official SUNY New Paltz Graduate Teaching Assistant Handbook is available online.
Note: For more information about teaching assistantships or graduate studies at SUNY New Paltz please consult our official handbook.