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Academic Student Employment

Academic Student Employment as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), Reader, or Tutor can be an important source of financial support for eligible Berkeley graduate students. Most financial packages for doctoral students, such as multi-year fellowships, usually require academic student employment (ASE) as part of the overall funding package.

About Academic Student Employment

Graduate students at Berkeley are most commonly appointed to the titles of Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), Reader, and Tutor. Students must meet certain academic requirements and other eligibility criteria to qualify for graduate student academic employment. Graduate students are also subject to Graduate Council and Graduate Division policies regarding appointments to academic and staff titles, including minimum enrollment requirements and limitations on percentage of appointment.

The titles GSI, Reader and Tutor are covered by a labor agreement between the University and the United Autoworkers (UAW). GSRs are not covered by this agreement, although university appointment eligibility rules apply to both ASEs and GSRs.

To learn more about graduate student academic appointment eligibility and employment requirements at Berkeley, please see the following:

GSI and Reader Appointments in Social Welfare

GSI and Reader appointments are made at the department level.

  • The term Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is synonymous with Teaching Assistant (TA) at other universities. A GSI serves as an apprentice under the active supervision of a faculty member who is the Instructor of Record for an academic course. Duties primarily include leading discussion sections, proctoring exams, and assisting with instructional tasks in collaboration with the instructor of record who has final authority.
  • Readers are employed to render diverse services as course assistants, which will normally include the grading of student papers and examinations. Subject to assignment by the department, duties might also include attendance at lectures, office hours, consultation with the instructor, and other course-related duties.

In the School of Social Welfare, preference for GSI and Reader appointments is given to Social Welfare doctoral students who have a work requirement as part of a currently active funding package. In the early spring of each year, an application for GSI and Reader appointments for the following academic year is distributed to all Social Welfare graduate students. Announcements are also posted on this page. Applications received under each announcement are reviewed by the Faculty Adviser for GSI Affairs and supervising faculty members who then contact students for interviews, usually in late April.

Appointment letters are sent in early summer to students selected for a GSI or Reader appointment in the following academic year. Hiring is not final until 1) a formal written offer is made by authorized departmental staff; and, 2) the ASE accepts the offer in writing.

GSR Appointments in Social Welfare

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointments are made at the department or research unit level. A GSR performs research broadly related to the degree program in an academic department or research unit under the direction of a faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator. GSRs do not perform teaching, administrative, or general assistance duties.

GSR positions are appointed directly by faculty researchers. Postings for GSR opportunities in the School of Social Welfare are distributed to students via email and online posting on this page as they become available. Students are also encouraged to network with individual faculty members, Principal Investigators, and Center Directors about GSR opportunities in Social Welfare as well as other campus departments.

Appointments in Other Departments

While graduate student academic appointments in Social Welfare are primarily limited to doctoral students, all graduate students who meet eligibility requirements can seek academic student employment in other campus departments teaching subjects or conducting research allied with their interests, or previous education or teaching experience. Here are some tips for locating and applying for ASE appointments:

  • Review the Graduate Student Academic Appointments guide from the Graduate Division to understand academic appointment eligibility, requirements, and policies.
  • Announcements received about ASE job opportunities in other departments are always forwarded to our departmental graduate student listservs.
  • Check with other hiring departments for information about specific GSI or Reader job opportunities that might be available. The campus Labor Relations Office maintains a list of Expected Academic Student Employment Oopportunities and departmental contacts. Also visit the campus career center site, Handshake, and websites of respective departments in which you have interest, to locate potential opportunities.

Academic Student Employment Resources

Berkeley Social Welfare ASE Policies & Procedures [pdf]
Current Labor Agreement [UC Office of the President]
Fee Remissions [Graduate Division]
GSI Teaching & Resource Center
Handshake [Career Center]
Work-Study [Financial Aid & Scholarships Office] 

Financial FAQ | Financing Your Graduate Education | Student Funding