Teaching Fellow Application Instructions

English Teaching Fellow Application

Instructions for 2016-17

Click Here for Tentative Course Descriptions


Please be sure to read all questions carefully and fill out the application completely. Please submit the application by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 18.  Late submissions will not be accepted (i.e., the application will be taken offline right after 5:00 p.m. on Friday).

You may sign up for ten (10) courses per term, and we ask that English students list at least seven (7) courses per term in order of preference. Be careful not to sign up only for small courses (e.g., the Common Ground courses). Estimated courses sizes are noted in red (S, M, L) next to each course title in the “Teaching Fellow Course Descriptions 2016-17” document. [S=Small (0-2 sections); M= Medium (3-4 sections); L= Large (5+ sections)]

If you have never taught before or if you have not taught for a particular professor or course, we strongly urge you to contact instructors directly to offer information about yourself and your experience.

If there is anything you would like us to know, please feel free to include this information in your application in the space provided. We will do our best to match your wishes with those of the faculty and hope to be able to make assignments as quickly as possible. Since this is a three-tiered process– reviewing your wish list, reviewing the faculty’s wish list, and then merging the two– we appreciate your patience while we are determining assignments.

Online Sign-Up Process:

Please be sure to fill in all of the information carefully, including how much teaching you want in each term, and be sure you have prioritized at least seven courses per term. Please note that due to the unevenness of enrollments, there is no guarantee that you will be assigned more than one section in any given course, nor that you will be assigned to one of your top choices, so be sure to leave yourself other options. Note: Although we will make every effort to prevent this, it is possible that a TF may be assigned one section in each of two courses in a given term.

Most Gen Ed courses taught by English faculty will be included in the list of courses you may sign up to teach for. You are encouraged to sign up for these courses, but assignments will be contingent upon final approval of Gen Ed and the course head.


It is a fact of life at Harvard, due to the unpredictability of course enrollments throughout the “shopping period,” that many assignments to English department courses must be tentative, depending upon final enrollment figures. Even when a course is described as having ‘guaranteed’ sections, if the course has exceptionally low enrollment, it may in practice be necessary to assign you to another course (preferably from among your other choices*). If, under exceptional circumstances, we have to reassign you, we will try whenever possible to give you two sections of the same course. When the final enrollments become known in September and February, the Graduate Office will make such changes as become necessary. Please remember: no appointment is official until it is cleared by the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Program Administrator, and the Office of Undergraduate Education; sections cannot be assigned independently by instructors.

(*It is for this reason that it is essential to sign up for only those courses you are willing/able to teach, and that you try to include at least one large course each term.)

In order to keep within the FAS budget, we must observe the following rules:

  1. Generally, courses with fewer than 21 officially enrolled FAS students will not be assigned sections, although in some cases, one section may be assigned.
  2. Sections in most discussion-based courses in the humanities and social sciences should average18 students.  This is not a cap on section size—it is an average. Some individual courses will inevitably have sections of 21 or 22 students. It is also possible that some courses officially designated as “writing intensive” may be allowed somewhat smaller sections.
  3. No courses with fewer than 100 students (5 sections) may have a Head Teaching Fellow.  If, therefore, a professor asks you to be Head TF, the appointment is contingent upon an enrollment of at least 100 (and you will not be compensated for work done prior to an official appointment as Head TF.)

We try to section conservatively so as to avoid too many last minute changes, and we work hard to place everyone in teaching positions. This cautious policy means that those of you who are in later G-years may be placed on “standby” and some may not get full assignments (2 sections per term) for the year.  If you are placed on standby, you will ordinarily be the first, or, perhaps in larger courses, among the first, to be considered for a position if the enrollment is large enough.

Note: Should you be assigned to a course outside the English Dept., you will need to contact that department and complete whatever paperwork is required in order to be paid.

Priority List for Assignment of Teaching Staff:

  1. GSAS Teaching Fellows:   3rd-4th year students (English students will ordinarily be given first priority.)
  2. GSAS Teaching Fellows:   5th–6th year students
  3. GSAS  Teaching Fellows:   G7+ students who have not reached the 16/5 limit
  4. GSAS Teaching Fellows:  G7+ students who have reached the 16/5 limit
  5. Students from other Harvard Faculties
  6. Teaching Assistants with a recent Harvard Ph.D.
  7. Teaching Assistants with no Harvard affiliation


The Junior and Senior Tutorial (ENG 98r and ENG 99r) application and assignment process is handled through the Undergraduate Office. However, this year we are asking G4+ students who are interested in teaching a Junior Tutorial to list the tutorial among their preferences. Please note that this does not replace the application process required by the Undergraduate Office; rather, it will simply give us an indication of your interest and level of preference. If you are open to teaching ENG 98r in either term, you may list it in both Fall and Spring. For more information about the tutorial application process, please contact Lauren Bimmler at lbimmler@fas.harvard.edu/ 617-495-4252.

Payment for Teaching:

The base salary for 2016-17 will be $53,200. Each section is equal to 1/5 (=$5,300/semester).  Each senior tutorial is equal to 1/15 (=$1,766/semester) and is generally held for two semesters; each junior (group) tutorial is equal to 2/5 (=$10,600/semester). A Head Teaching Fellowship is equal to 1/5 (=$5,300/semester).

Annual Teaching Limit:

TFs may teach a maximum of 3/5 each term.  It is the responsibility of the TFs to keep track of their teaching load, especially when teaching for more than one department.

One section = 1/5; One junior (group) tutorial = 2/5; One senior tutorial = 1/15; Head TF = 1/5

TF Career Teaching Limit:

If you have been teaching for more than four years, you should check with Laura Pascale in the Teaching Fellow Office (pascale@fas.harvard.edu/617-495-5396) to see that you still have teaching eligibility without needing an exception. If you have taught up to or over 16/5 after four years of teaching, you will have to get an exception before an appointment can be approved.  You will need to write a letter, endorsed by your advisor, addressed to Mohan Boodram, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, and send it directly to Laura Pascale with a cc to Gwen Urdang-Brown, requesting an exception, stating that teaching will not impede progress toward your degree, and listing your anticipated date of degree. Reminder: if you have taught more than 16/5, even if you have an exception, your status will generally be lower on the priority list than those who have not yet reached their 16/5 teaching limit.


Teaching Fellow

If you are a registered graduate student at Harvard, you should apply as a Teaching Fellow.

Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistants do the same kinds of supervised instruction as teaching fellows, but a) they are not enrolled as candidates for an advanced degree at Harvard or b) they have already received the Ph.D. from Harvard.  Appointments are made annually, are effective only during the term of teaching, are generally part-time, and are ordinarily limited to 4 academic years. Teaching Assistant appointments can be made only after the pool of qualified GSAS and other Harvard students has been exhausted.  Therefore, TA appointments will generally not be made prior to the end of the third week of each semester.