Assistantship load!!

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Benfit
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:57 am

Assistantship load!!

Postby Benfit » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:00 pm

I believe that every one, who has got admitted somewhere, has already received the information of assistantship and financial package.

How much does assistantship (teaching, research...) take you a week?
how do you guys think, 10 hours a week is too much?

bestbearblackbear
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby bestbearblackbear » Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:12 pm

That seems like it is on the low end...

Benfit
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:57 am

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby Benfit » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:34 pm

yep. Another school requires me to devote at least 20 hours per week - Wow, i would be their slave rather than a grad student, right?
So, how many hours per week will you need to devote to TA, RA?

User avatar
will
Posts: 399
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:26 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby will » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:51 pm

20 hours per week is a lot as far as TA workload goes... But you're hardly a slave. Plenty of fresh college graduates work 50 hour weeks for certainly not 2.5 times your stipend (even including their benefits), let alone full time student tuition.

bestbearblackbear
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby bestbearblackbear » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:25 pm

Yeah. The programs I am deciding between lists 15-20 hours a week - who knows what that actually equates to practically.

User avatar
quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby quizivex » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:08 pm

yeah compared to all the fields where people actually have to pay tuition to get a PhD I'm pretty grateful I'm getting free that would otherwise cost $40k per year... oh yea and they give me free money to get an apartment with and buy frozen dinners with... how cool is that!!! The least I can do is run a silly undergrad lab, lol!!

In fact if I had to choose, I'd rather TA than RA cuz I like teaching and I feel my experimental expertise is minimal and I'd rather give myself some time to build up the skills than to dive into research from the very beginning.

User avatar
butsurigakusha
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:05 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby butsurigakusha » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:39 pm

When comparing offers, I think it is important to take into account that after the first year, we're all going to end up doing research anyway, if your an experimentalist. I guess it is more common for theorists to have to TA after their first year. A lot of the fellowships that are offered are only for the first year. Plus, I think some schools actually require you to work as a TA at some point in order to receive your PhD. Even if it isn't required, I think most people will tell you that they recommend it, especially if you are hoping for a career in academia.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby twistor » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:51 pm

RA is definately better than TA. You're getting a Ph.d. not a teaching certificate.

User avatar
butsurigakusha
Posts: 293
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:05 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby butsurigakusha » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:51 am

I definitely wouldn't want to TA for more than a couple of semesters, but I actually am more than happy to work as a TA. Especially since I am not really sure what kind of research I want to do anyway. That is, as long as I am not spending the majority of my time grading. Grading seriously sucks.

User avatar
al-Haytham
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:14 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby al-Haytham » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:56 am

don't worry, you shouldn't be stuck with grading. At my undergrad institution grading is assigned to those grad students whose weak English prohibits them from interacting with students, and when I visited UIUC, a professor said that they also had a similar approach towards appointing graders.

Benfit
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:57 am

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby Benfit » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:02 am

will wrote:20 hours per week is a lot as far as TA workload goes... But you're hardly a slave. Plenty of fresh college graduates work 50 hour weeks for certainly not 2.5 times your stipend (even including their benefits), let alone full time student tuition.


They require me to devote at least 20 hours for RA (not TA). The rest of time of the week is for classes and self-study. So I will probably work + study more than 50 hours a week, even 60 hours since there are plenty of classes. I am thinking of turning down this offer.

You guys, so I really want to know how many hours per week you need to use for TA/RA since this information is important to me to decide whether or not to turn down the offer. But you are discussing diffirent things in this thread.

Plz, share your information. Thanksssssssssssssssssssssssssss :D :D :D :D :D

User avatar
will
Posts: 399
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:26 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby will » Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:16 am

It seems there are few schools where the time commitment for assistantship is under 15 hours. 20 isn't exceedingly bad.

There's a lot more than 50-60 hours in a week.

gatr1126
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:56 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby gatr1126 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:39 am

UF would be one of them. 20K stipend only needs me to work 13.3 hours per week according to them. That just means the extra 154.7 can be spent worrying about qualifying exams, coursework, finding an advisor, research, and maybe, just maybe....sleep.

User avatar
dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby dlenmn » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:14 am


admissionprof
Posts: 364
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby admissionprof » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:32 am

Focusing on hours per week isn't realistic. Many institutions put down 20 hours a week for legal reasons (makes it half-time), but students don't actually work that many hours. Easy to check--ask some current graduate students how many hours they actually work as a TA. At many, one has a couple of three hour labs plus setup and grading, which is more like 10-12 hours/week.

Benfit
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:57 am

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby Benfit » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:37 pm

admissionprof wrote:Focusing on hours per week isn't realistic. Many institutions put down 20 hours a week for legal reasons (makes it half-time), but students don't actually work that many hours. Easy to check--ask some current graduate students how many hours they actually work as a TA. At many, one has a couple of three hour labs plus setup and grading, which is more like 10-12 hours/week.


Well, My friend has been at this school for more than 4 years. He said that 20 is standard, sometimes TA takes students even more than 20 hours and the stipend is paid only for 20 hours. On the other hand, it is clearly stated in the offer letter "devote AT LEAST 20 hours".

bestbearblackbear
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby bestbearblackbear » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:08 pm

Do schools take the time needed to "re-learn" material into account when they list the number of hours...? Because I can imagine that labs at different school will either have material that a TA has not seen in awhile or, in some cases, at all.

Benfit
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:57 am

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby Benfit » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:38 pm

bestbearblackbear wrote:Do schools take the time needed to "re-learn" material into account when they list the number of hours...?


It seems like they don't. <delete.....it's too much>
Last edited by Benfit on Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
will
Posts: 399
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:26 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby will » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:24 pm

If you feel taken advantage of, don't go. No one is holding a gun to your head.

bestbearblackbear
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby bestbearblackbear » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:05 pm

Thanks will, that's helpful.

___
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:57 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby ___ » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:45 pm

twistor wrote:You're getting a Ph.d. not a teaching certificate.


Aren't they the same thing?

forecast8
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:55 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby forecast8 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:25 am

At the different schools I've talked to the story is suprisingly uniform. They want first year TAs to teach 6-8 hours of labs, spend 2 - 3 hours grading those labs and have 2 office hours each week. For TAs who don't speak english well enough to pass the speak test it is all grading. Most TAs I've talked to spend the 2 office hours almost exclusiely doing their own homework since few undergrads seek help.

Most schools want students in the first three semesters doing TA instead of RA. This is make sure the student can pass the comps. Grad students never spend a minute more on TAing than they need to, but every school will have horror stories of grad students who let their course work slide and failed out while spending 40+ hours a week on a really interesting RA.

sltrukshan
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:30 pm

Re: Assistantship load!!

Postby sltrukshan » Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:37 pm

admissionprof wrote:Focusing on hours per week isn't realistic. Many institutions put down 20 hours a week for legal reasons (makes it half-time), but students don't actually work that many hours. Easy to check--ask some current graduate students how many hours they actually work as a TA. At many, one has a couple of three hour labs plus setup and grading, which is more like 10-12 hours/week.


I think you are correct. I asked from one of my seniors at the U of Mississippi and he works in two lab classes (two hours each) and 3 office hours. That means 7 hours per week. But the agreement says that we should work 20 hours. I think they have included the time taken for grading.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests