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Graduate Teaching Assistantships

A limited number of teaching assistantships are available to applicants in our masters programs and are awarded annually in the School of Social Work. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) receive full tuition coverage along with health insurance and 20 hours of pay for hours worked within/for the School of Social Work. Although tuition is paid in full, the arrangement does not cover university fees and other living expenses.

Availability of Assistantships

The number of assistantships in the School of Social Work varies from year to year and awarded on an annual academic year basis. Assistantships are awarded upon admission and are only available for full-time students who begin their graduate work in the fall semester. To be considered for an assistantship in Social Work, you must apply to the MSW Program by the Jan. 8 priority deadline.

Categories of Teaching Assignments

Teaching assignments are based on departmental need and vary demand within the School of Social Work. See descriptions in the blocks below.

  •  Explicit Curriculum: In Social Work, most of our first-year GTAs prepare to teach an undergraduate class in the BSW Program.
  •  Implicit Curriculum: A smaller number of GTAs in Social Work assist by supporting the curriculum in ways that provide group and peer curricular needs, such as preparing and presenting materials in class and coordinating educational activities.

Essential Information for FAQs

Required Courses and Preparation

Once you’ve been informed of your Teaching Assignment, review the training activities for professional development.

Explicit Curriculum Track GTAs are assigned to teach specific BSW courses that are reviewed and assigned in accordance with the Associate Head, DGP, GTA Coordinator and the lead faculty member that the GTA will be assigned to precept with, in their first year, as they prepare to teach in the second year. GTAs will receive their assignment from the GTA Coordinator and then be responsible for communicating with their preceptor for tasks. No special course registration is required for these teaching assignments in other areas. GTAs will attend GTA Committee meetings and workshops, shadow a faculty preceptor, and participate in other preparatory activities throughout the year. Additional information is provided to GTAs during the annual orientation meeting.

Course Load and Registration Requirements 

The standard full-time graduate course load is 9 hours for all programs. GTAs must enroll in and maintain full-time status in order to be eligible for the assistantship.  The health benefit and GSSP require full-time status in the MSW program. 

Each semester, GTAs must be registered full-time by Census date (usually the 10th day of class). If you are not registered full-time by this date, your GSSP benefits will be automatically discontinued. Unfortunately, the Graduate School cannot make any exceptions, so please make sure that you are registered correctly. This means that you need to check the number of credit hours for which you are enrolled, not just the number of classes, as some classes have variable credit hours. 

GTAs are not permitted to take more than 17 hours in a semester while teaching.  In addition to supporting you as a teacher and as a graduate student, the School of Social Work is responsible for supporting the undergraduate students in your classes–by ensuring that you are well prepared to teach them and that you have sufficient time to devote to them throughout the semester. If you have a compelling reason to take more than 17 hours, consult with the GTA Coordinator for approval. Overload requests are rarely approved.

Important! 18-hr Requirement 

GTAs must earn at least 18 hours of graduate credit in Social Work and 18 hours of classroom instruction with a preceptor, in the first year in order to be eligible to teach classes in their second year (as instructor of record). Please be mindful of this accreditation requirement as you select courses in your first year.

Health insurance coverage and tuition remission are provided through the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP) for incoming and current GTAs. Graduate TAs are responsible for understanding the terms of the GSSP and meeting its eligibility requirements at all terms as covered on the Graduate School’s website.

Extent of Appointment

Teaching Assistantships are one year appointments renewable for a second year as indicated in your Terms and Conditions letter. All TAs are limited to two years by the terms of the GSSP. GTAs may take summer classes, but those who do pay their own tuition. Health insurance, however, remains in force during the summer.


Teaching Assistantships at NC State are defined by the Graduate School as one-half-time appointments. The workload in the School of Social Work thus averages about 20 hours per week.  Depending on your teaching assignment, this workload may be somewhat lighter in the first year, as GTAs begin training and assisting in curricular areas, and perhaps increased demands in the second year, when teaching as instructors of record. 

Constraints on Additional Employment

Please note that your appointment as a GTA places some constraints on your eligibility for other employment on campus.  

  •  First of course, is the workload.  Your assistantship duties are designed with your full-time courseload in mind; you must maintain a full-time load and stay in good academic standing each semester to retain your assistantship. We do not recommend taking on additional employment lest it affect your success in one or both of these arenas. 
  •  A second constraint is the campus payroll system. Students on assistantship are technically permitted to work up to eight or nine extra hours per week with the approval of the academic unit. However, if that limit is exceeded you will be ruled ineligible for your assistantship (because you’ll no longer look like a full-time student).  To avoid jeopardizing your GTA appointment, correspond with the GTA Coordinator, before you commit to any additional employment.


Students will receive an ebill approximately one month before the beginning of each semester.  For GTAs, the in-state tuition charge is covered and the mandatory student health insurance fee is removed under GSSP.  Tuition and the student health insurance will appear on your bill, but you may ignore those charges because they will be removed at a later date.  GTAs are responsible for other charges on the bill, including fees.  A thorough explanation of required fees is provided at the Student Services Center page, “Explanation of Tuition and Required Fees.”  For more information about tuition, fees, and estimated annual expenses, please visit the Student Services Center page, “Tuition and Fees.”  For information regarding fee payment, with Tuition Management Systems (TMS) or financial aid, please visit the “Bills, Payments and Refunds” page at Student Services Center.

Direct Deposit

Direct Deposit is mandatory for GTAs. The deadline is one week prior to your first paycheck.  Please refer to the bi-weekly pay schedule to see when you will receive your first paycheck.  Remember, your first day of hire is August 16th so please look at the payday for the pay period in which August 16th falls.  You will want to have direct deposit completed at least one week before your first payday. 

Information about enrolling in Direct Deposit can be found at the NC State Human Resources webpage entitled, “Direct Deposit Information.”  

Please note, even if you completed direct deposit for financial aid, you must also complete direct deposit for your role as a GTA.  

Health Insurance

You will be automatically enrolled in the Graduate Student Support Plan’s RA-TA Health Insurance Plan if you meet the minimum requirements on the GSSP Eligibility Summary (Checklist). Under the GTA-GRA Health Insurance Plan, you will be automatically waived from the university’s mandatory Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

If you prefer to keep your own personal insurance, please be sure to submit two different health insurance waivers. One for the GTA-GRA plan and another for SHIP. These waivers must be submitted by the waiver deadline. The deadline and instructions are posted on the GSSP webpage. Please be aware, after you submit your two waivers, SHIP will require you to continue submitting waivers for future semesters. Instructions on how to waive SHIP can be found through Student Health Services.

If you choose to be automatically enrolled in the GTA-GRA plan, please make sure to update your home address on MyPack Portal to the location you would like to receive your health insurance card. If you would like to print out a temporary card, please visit the GSSP website for further information.


Please refer to the Residency page on the left side menu for details and instructions.

Taxation of Assistantships

For more information about the Graduate Student Support Plan, please visit the Graduate School’s website.

All GTAs are assigned work space and the allocation of space may change depending on need and demand associated with the number of GTAs selected and awarded each year. The GTA work spaces are located on the second floor of the 1911 Building. You will be assigned a desk. The desks are set up to accommodate personal laptops and come with storage space for books, etc. Please see the Graduate Services Coordinator, Daniel Corn for specific questions about accessing space. Mr. Corn’s office is located in room 205 of the 1911 Building and he is responsible for room scheduling, key agreements, check-out and pick ups.

GTAs have a printer in their work spaces in the 1911 Building, room 216 and room 307. Additionally, for printing and copying for Instructors of Record, second year GTAs are given an allocation for print copies that are to be used only for their role as Instructors for a specific BSW course. However, most teaching materials can be easily posted for students on a course Moodle site or made available through the libraries’ electronic reserve or via printed course packs.  

GTAs have an assigned mailbox located in the 1911 Building, Room 205, which is the main office of the School of Social Work.

There are two tracks for Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) positions, each of which is described below.

First-Year Explicit Curriculum Track

GTA responsibilities usually include taking attendance at the lectures, setting up audio-visual equipment, assisting in the proctoring of exams, keeping grade rolls, holding some office hours, etc. Depending upon the situation and the Instructor of Record (Preceptor), an opportunity to present a guest lecture may be available.

Implicit Curriculum Track

The GTA Coordinator will specify the duties of this GTA in collaboration with the Associate Head of the School of Social Work. Those duties may involve assisting a particular faculty member with a course that can use some extra help, but which does not normally have a GTA, or they might involve helping the faculty member with his/her scholarly activities. Alternatively, the assignment could involve providing short-term assistance to several different faculty members during the semester. Another possibility would be assisting with administrative work relevant to operating the program itself. At the end of each semester, reassignments will be considered if there is a need. 

2nd-Year Explicit Curriculum Track

As the primary Instructor of Record, as a second year graduate student, the GTA has full responsibility for a specific course or section. Although a Instructor of Record may certainly seek help from appropriate faculty members, the Instructor of Record does have the duty to organize the course, prepare the syllabus, teach the class (using standard methods that best fit the course content), hold office hours, provide evaluation procedures (e.g., exams, term papers, projects, etc.), grade student products, provide feedback, and submit final grades in a timely fashion at the end of the semester.

The School of Social Work will let the bookstore know what textbook(s) students are required, and approximately how many copies should be on hand at the start of the semester. The GTA Coordinator is currently the person you should address with any questions.

Assistance for Upper-Level Practices Courses

Due to CSWE EPAS, GTAs are able to assist professors with curricular responsibilities, which may include taking attendance at the lectures, setting up audio-visual equipment, assisting in proctoring exams, keeping grade rolls, holding some office hours, etc.

For Distance Education classes, GTAs often handle correspondence with students. Exact duties will be explained in more detail by the Preceptor(s) for the course. Depending upon the Preceptor, an opportunity to present a guest lecture may be available.

GTAs for the Stats/Methods Courses (SW 495)

GTAs assigned to the statistics/methods course also have a responsibility to work with the faculty member teaching the lecture class to which the skills lab. This responsibility may include attendance at the lectures, assistance in proctoring exams, etc. The Preceptor for the main lecture has overall responsibility for making any major updates and changes to the course, including labs. The Instructor of Record has the primary responsibility of teaching the section assisted to the second-year to the GTA. 

Academic and Peer Support

GTAs assigned to provide assistance in the area of Academic peer-support, under the supervision of Anthony Bennett, Program Manager in the School of Social Work Learning Lab. The GTA should discuss duties, responsibilities and the scheduling of activities with Mr. Bennett. He will serve as the GTA’s supervisor and will submit a standard performance evaluation to the School of Social Work at the end of each semester.

Each GTA is assigned a teaching supervisor and/or preceptor – usually, either a faculty member who teaches the same course or a faculty member who is familiar with the course content. GTAs should feel free to call upon their supervisors as necessary when they have questions or concerns about the course. If they have duties that place you in front of a class, to lecture or lead a discussion, etc., then the supervisor should attend at least one class during the semester (two, if this is the GTA’s first semester teaching) and provide the GTA with feedback.