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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 could be different than your standard stipend.

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. Per the graduate school website:

Teaching positions in the Graduate School are generally categorized into one of two levels:

TF Level 10 (up to 10 hours per week)

TF Level 20 (up to 20 hours per week)

The level is determined by the faculty based on how much time per week the assignment is likely to take. You can either be given one TF assignment at the TF20 or TF10 level, or two TF10 assignments (up to 20 hours total). Except in certain science departments, first-year students may be appointed as teaching fellows only in exceptional cases, and only after prior approval by their director of graduate studies (DGS), the appropriate associate dean in the Graduate School, and the director of the Teaching Fellow Program (TFP). If you have an external fellowship, your eligibility to serve as a teaching fellow is determined by the policies of your department and the conditions of your external award.

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.