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Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Science B 605
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
Tel: (403) 220-5385

Gerri Evans

Graduate Application Enquiries
Tel: (403) 220-3618

Tracy Korsgaard

Graduate Program Coordinator
Tel: (403) 220-3617

Graduate Assistantships

Whether you are a graduate student with regular funding, or a student with an externally-funded prestige scholarship, you are likely to do some teaching as part of your graduate degree, providing you with both some useful professional experience and some financial support.

Graduate student teaching in PHAS always takes the form of Graduate Assistantships - Teaching or GATs awards covering the fall and winter terms (a full GAT in one term and a half GAT in the other), and Graduate Assistantships from Supervisors covering the "buy-out" of the half GAT in one of the fall or winter terms as well as full funding for the spring/summer term. Full GATs pay the student a little over $8,600 per term, while the departmental standard for Supervisor support is set at a minimum of $11,500/year.  The result is a minimum total of over $24,450 per annum.

A full GAT requires an average of 10-12 hours of teaching duties per week. Note that GATs are not viewed purely as a salary for this 10-12 hours of work per week, but rather they are viewed as financial support for all of your full-time activities as a graduate student during that term, including research, teaching, and courses. Being a grad student is a full time commitment whether you are supported by GAT, scholarship, or directly from your supervisor's Research Grants.

Normal teaching load for a student not holding a major scholarship is 1.5 GATs per year (i.e. a full GAT in one term and a half GAT in the other), while students with major scholarships generally due up to 0.5 GATs per year, up to a 1.0 TA for the duration of their award.  Financial support is generally provided for 2 years for MSc students and 4 years for PhD students, the expected maximum time length of the degrees. Funding beyond this time window is handled on a case-by-case basis.

Duties that can be assigned as part of a GAT can include:

  • Supervising tutorials
  • Supervising students in first year engineering or general studies physics labs
  • Supervising 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year laboratories
  • Marking in senior undergraduate physics courses

The Department assigns all teaching duties, however, if you have preferences in your duties you should talk to the Department about them before the teaching duties for a given term have been assigned. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to act on your request, but we are a small enough department that we can try to take all requests under consideration while doing the assignments.

Once you have received your teaching assignment, contact the course instructor or course coordinator to discuss the duties associated with the assignment. With the larger 1st year courses there are generally teaching assistant orientation sessions held during the September Block Week to discuss the duties and standards expected of our teaching assistants.