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Graduate assistantships

As a graduate student, you have the opportunity to become a teaching assistant and/or a research assistant. At McGill, teaching and research assistants play a vital role in the educational process. Graduate assistantships are part of McGill funding and may be a part of your personalized funding package. Be aware that the elements of your funding package may change from year to year. One year, you may have a teaching assistantship and another, a research assistantship.

Teaching assistantships

Teaching assistants provide support to McGill professors and lecturers in a variety of ways. They may lead labs, seminars, study sessions and offer one-on-one office hours to enhance the undergraduate learning experience. Since there is a large undergraduate population at McGill, there is ample opportunity to hold teaching assistantships during your program.

Being a teaching assistant is a rewarding experience. As a teaching assistant, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge in your area of expertise. You will also gain valuable experience in teaching, facilitation, supervision and evaluation. Teaching assistantships are an excellent opportunity for professional development, especially if you are considering an academic career in teaching.

As a teaching assistant you may:

  • lead undergraduate discussion seminars, conferences or labs
  • participate in teaching an undergraduate level course
  • assist in the evaluation of students
  • motivate students and enhance their learning experience
  • conduct study and review sessions
  • gain valuable experience
  • work under the supervision of the course supervisor

Teaching and Learning Services

If you choose to become a teaching assistant, there are professional development workshops available to you. These workshops are designed to help students that are new to teaching. Teaching and Learning Services provide a variety of professional development sessions, Learning to Teach conferences and workshops to graduate student instructors throughout the year. Visit their website to learn more about these exciting sessions.

Research assistantships

Many faculty members have research grants or contracts and employ qualified graduate students as research assistants. As a research assistant, you will aid your supervisor or other senior researcher, in conducting groundbreaking research at McGill. Research assistantships are paid positions, and may be part of your McGill funding package.

As a research assistant you will:

  • perform research-related tasks assigned by the professor
  • perform research in your field of study
  • perform work that can be used for preparing a thesis


Teaching and research assistantships are handled by the academic unit (department, school or institute) and may be part of your McGill funding package. Guidelines, criteria, qualification expectations and duties vary from department to department. Please contact the academic unit for more information on assistantships.

Association of graduate students employed at McGill

All Teaching Assistants at McGill are covered under the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM).

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