General information

Graduate students play an important role in the teaching of undergraduate students in the Biology Program at UBC. Not only do TAs participate in delivering quality undergraduate Biology education they also gain valuable professional development. The TA positions in the Biology Program are funded separately through the Botany and Zoology Departments. The following is a general overview of TA application procedure and policies for TA assignment as determined by TA Union (CUPE 2278) regulations, specific Departmental policies will very.

The graduate student TA positions available through each department for each academic year will be posted by March 31.

Application Procedures

Graduate students need to apply for each academic year. Those who are currently TAing in this academic year must reapply for the next year.Ensure that your graduate advisor or research supervisor is aware of your application to TA and there are no conflicts with your research program. Complete the appropriate application form clearly indicating which courses you prefer and are qualified to teach in each term (Term 1 September to December, Term 2 January to April). If this is your first TA application, you are required to submit a brief resume of the biology courses you have taken and previous teaching experience.

Submit your application directly to the departmental representative indicated on the application form.

Deadline for the application is the end of April.

The University of British Columbia hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply

Priorities in TA Assignment

Graduate students will be assigned on the basis of the following criteria, as stipulated by the TA union and Departmental policy.

    • 1.Preferred Status. Graduate students that currently or previously held a TA position with the Department are entitled to a maximum of 4 years (8 consecutive 1-term positions) for a PhD student and 2 years (4 consecutive 1-term positions) for a Masters student. Masters students that transfer into a PhD program will be allotted 8 1-term positions in total, while students that complete a Masters program and then begin a PhD will be allotted 4 + 8 consecutive 1-term positions (Sect. 13.03 (b) (i) and (ii)).
    • 2. On-going graduate students who have had scholarships but not completed their degree or their years of entitlement (PhD 4 years, MSc 2 years).
    • 3. Incoming graduate student.
    • 4. Graduate students who have finished their allocations but not their degree and require support.
    • 5. Graduate students that have scholarships but want the teaching experience.
    • 6. Graduate students from other Departments (E.g., Medical Genetics, Pharmacy, Forestry).

Note: Incoming graduate students are not guaranteed a TA position in their first year.

International students are required to complete the ITA before they will be considered for a TA position (see Qualifications below).

Offers of TA appointments will be made by the first week in August for the fall (T1) and winter (T2) sessions.


A Graduate Teaching Assistant I (GTA I) is a graduate student who holds a masters degree and/or is registered in a doctoral degree program at the University of B.C., or is student who holds a masters or doctoral degree in the posted discipline.

A Graduate Teaching Assistant II (GTA II) is a graduate student who holds a bachelors degree and/or is registered at the University of B.C. or is a student who holds a bachelors degree in the posted discipline.

Botany Department policy (effective October 2008) requires that all incoming international graduate students with no experience in teaching at a English speaking institution take the International TA Training Program (ITA) before being considered for a TA position in the Biology Program.

Salary Effective September 2020

Yearly salary for the full-time GTA I is $13,223.92 ($34.44 per hour).
Yearly salary for the full-time GTA II is $12,724.96 ($33.14 per hour).
Salaries for half-time positions are calculated on a pro rata basis.

Duties and Hours

Successful candidates will be assigned to teach classes, mark papers and/or conduct tutorials and laboratories. A full TA position involves an average of twelve (12) hours per week for the Winter Session (September 1 to April 30), for a total of 384 hours. A one–half position involves an average of twelve (12) hours per week for one term (September-December or January-April), for a total of 192 hours.

Descriptions of the TA duties for specific courses are available. Each course will have a schedule of teaching and TA preparation meeting days and times. For large multi-sectioned courses there may be flexibility in TA scheduling, other smaller courses have set schedules. Make sure your own course or research schedules do not conflict with the courses you indicate your preference in the application. For more information on the duties and course scheduling contact the course coordinator or the instructor in charge.

UBC TA Union

CUPE 2278 Collective Agreement - 2014-19 - As a TA at the University, you are a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 2278. The Collective Agreement between the Union and the University regulates the number of hours you work, your duties, your rate of pay, and the procedures you should follow for resolving disputes.

CUPE Local 2278 Website - Useful website to stay current on union news, reports, bargaining updates and much more.

Biology TA Training Program (BioTAP)

It is highly recommended that graduate students that are new TAs in the Biology Program participate in the BioTAP program.

The first session of the series of five professional development sessions is highly recommended for all new TAs. The fall TA Orientation session is a one day workshop that introduces graduate students to the academic culture of UBC, appropriate teaching strategies, class room management skills as well as addressing other issues in teaching undergraduate students in the Biology Program.

Subsequent workshops offered in the fall and winter terms are recommended for further teaching skills development.

A conversation with your research supervisor

Before applying for a TA position

Your supervisor is the key person in shaping your graduate degree program. In addition to providing guidance on required course work, conference participation and research project work, the supervisor is the best judge of the time necessary to dedicate to your academic work and whether it is appropriate for you to also be a teaching assistant.

In conversation with your research supervisor consider:

How will your teaching assistant (TA) duties fit in with your graduate program work? Getting teaching experience is an important part of your professional development.

Will you have sufficient time to devote to a TAship (average 12 hours per week) considering your graduate work?  Will you be required to take graduate level courses or need to be dedicated to running experiments or collecting data?

Will there be any conflicts with schedules (research work or conferences) which will preclude your ability to perform TA duties for a term? The work in some courses is required during specific periods in the term, rather than throughout the term.  Discuss these options with your research supervisor.

Will you be required to TA to cover the cost of the guaranteed stipend? Your research supervisor will be able to judge whether you will have sufficient support through scholarships or research grants. Note that your academic work and financial support will shift over the course of your graduate program.  Even if you do not need to TA in the first year of your graduate program, you may need to (or want to) TA in subsequent years.

Each year before you apply for a TA position, have this conversation with your research supervisor and determine what is best for your graduate program.

TA application

Botany and Zoology students, please apply to TA through the UBC Biology Website