Being a Teaching Assistant

You can learn a lot and gain valuable professional experience from being a Teaching Assistant.  For example you will learn how a class works ‘behind the scenes’ and develop valuable skills such as working with others, participating in meetings, meeting deadlines, organization and time management, and clear communication.  Teaching Assistants may do a variety of tasks depending on the needs of the class and the faculty member they are assisting.  Some examples include helping with grading assignments, tutoring students individually or in groups, attending lectures and taking notes, keeping class attendance records, or monitoring social media posts.  You will work hard and in the end you will have gained a relationship with a faculty member or graduate students and skills that will help you in many occupations and in life!

You can find the department’s criteria for being a Teaching Assistant below.  To learn more about opportunities to be a Teaching Assistant you can contact a faculty member whose class you enjoyed. You can also learn about Teaching Assistant by contacting the Sociology advisors and by looking for e-mail announcements from the Sociology majors/minors listserv.  These are e-mails from .  Your Sociology advisor can help you complete the necessary form.

Guidelines For Teaching Assistants

Successful Applicants Must Have Met The Minimum Qualifications:

  1. Completed the assigned course in a previous semester and earned a grade of a B+ or above.
  2. Completed 48 college credit hours (4th semester standing) for 400-level courses.
  3. Completed 32 college credit hours (3rd semester standing) for introductory level courses.
  4. Have an overall GPA of 3.2 or above.
  5. Received an invitation from the instructor to serve as the undergraduate teaching assistant.

Expectations For Undergraduate TAs include:

  1. TA candidates must receive an invitation from the instructor and complete the required form to initiate the review process for receiving credit. The form must be turned in to 211 Oswald Tower prior to end of the first week of the semester for processing.
  2. Students may receive 1-3 credits per semester and 6 credits in total, regardless of the mechanism used to receive credit (i.e., CRIM 298 and SOC 300 are considered equivalent — a student cannot receive 3 credits for CRIM 298 and 6 credits of SOC 300).  TA credits cannot fulfill credit or course requirements for the major however 3 credits of SOC 300 maybe applied toward the Sociology Minor.  We welcome students from all majors.  You are not required to be a SOC or CRIM major.
  3. TAs are expected to treat all students with dignity and respect, as outlined in The Penn State Principles and in Penn State’s written policies on sexual harassment.
  4. TAs are expected to treat all grades, content of tests, and content of student assignments as confidential.
  5. TAs are expected to complete all assigned course readings and attend class regularly.
  6. TAs are expected to complete assigned duties in a responsible and timely fashion.

Courses that frequently need TA's

SOC 1 | SOC 5 | SOC/CRIM 12 | SOC 30 | CRIM 201 | CRIM 250 | SOC/CRIM 406

The specific duties of undergraduate teaching assistants might include leading discussions, grading assignments (e.g., short answers, multiple choice exams, or weekly homework), holding office hours, and performing errands related to the course (e.g., taking attendance or keeping records).  The instructor will assign specific duties at the beginning of the semester.