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Teaching Requirements and Opportunities

The majority of graduate programs that MD-PhD students affiliate with for the completion of their PhD require the successful completion of one or more Teaching Fellow (TF) assignments (described below) as a degree requirement. Since each department or program defines its own teaching requirement (both the TF level and the number of terms or TF units required), you must check with the DGS in the department in which you affiliate to review that program's teaching requirements.

  • You should consult with your DGS about the timing of any required TF assignment within your doctoral studies and get recommendations of courses that would be appropriate to satisfy the TF requirements.
  • You may not perform "optional" teaching to gain additional experience and earn additional income until your teaching requirement is completed.

During any semester in which you are fulfilling your program's teaching requirement, a portion of your standard stipend will be provided by the Teaching Fellow Program. You may note that while serving as a TF, that portion of your paycheck provided by Teaching Fellow Program will be subject to IRS tax withholding. Thus, your net stipend disbursement will likely be different than your standard stipend. Please check the following web site for information concerning withholding and taxes.

If you decide to serve as a TF after completing your required teaching, you will be paid above your standard stipend according to the level of the TF assignment as described below. In the past, some MD-PhD students were mistakenly paid as TFs above their standard stipend while fulfilling their required teaching while others were not paid above their standard stipends while performing optional teaching. These errors occurred due to miscommunications between department administrators and the Graduate School. If you believe that your payments are incorrect, please check with the MD-PhD Office. We want all students to receive the correct stipends.

Typically, students are able to choose among many teaching opportunities including courses offered through the School of Medicine, Yale College or the Graduate School. Teaching Fellow Levels and Descriptions

Teaching Fellow 1: The responsibilities of a TF1 are primarily (a) grading or (b) a combination of the following: attending class, reading, advising undergraduates, offering an occasional discussion section, helping to set up a lab, or assisting in the administrative details of a course. A TF1 does not engage in regular classroom instruction. Approximate weekly effort, 5 hours.

Teaching Fellow 2: A TF2 typically leads and grades one discussion or laboratory section of up to twenty students or has a combination of the responsibilities described in (a) and (b) of TF 1. Approximate weekly effort, 10 hours.

Teaching Fellow 3: Depending on department policy, the responsibilities of a TF3 may include leading and grading one or two lab or discussion sections. Alternatively, a TF3's responsibilities might include attending lectures, office hours and consultations, and grading. Approximate weekly effort, 15 hours.

Teaching Fellow 3.5: This appointment is appropriate for TFs who lead and grade one section in English, History of Art, the Literature major, in any literature course in the national language departments that may conform to the same mode of teaching, in courses double titled with these departments and programs, and in a few designated courses. Section leaders are appointed only for lecture courses with 30 or more students; section size should not exceed 18 students, and 20 is the absolute maximum. This appointment also is used for Writing Intensive TFs in other departments. Approximate weekly effort, 17.5 hours.

Teaching Fellow 4: This appointment is appropriate for TFs in humanities and social science departments where teaching fellows lead and grade two sections. Section leaders are appointed only for lecture courses with 30 or more students; section size should not exceed 18 students, and 20 is the absolute maximum. Approximate weekly effort, 20 hours.

Again, each student should consult with the DGS to determine which courses are acceptable for fulfilling their teaching requirements prior to accepting a TF position. This is important because teaching is an essential component of your academic training and will be part of your CV when looking for positions in the future.