Course Staff Hiring Appointments

I’ve seen this question pop up a few times before, so here’s a short guide to what types of hiring appointments the department gives out to tutors, readers, and TAs. There are some holes in this, and it’s mostly based off my own experiences, so maybe we can crowdsource some information and revisit this sometime in the future.

GSIs and uGSIs

TAs at Berkeley are officially called Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) or uGSIs (undergraduate Student Instructors).

uGSIs are usually hired at 8-hour/week or 20-hour/week appointments. Most TAs start out with an 8h/week appointment. 20h/week appointments are usually reserved for head TAs, admin-level TAs, or veteran TAs who have a larger workload doing management and backend work. More rarely, uGSIs can be hired for a 15h/week appointment. GSIs are usually hired at 10h/week or 20h/week appointments. As far as I know, the minimum appointment is 8h/week; I’ve never seen anyone hired for fewer hours.

The pay rate for TAs can be found here. The relevant row for all uGSIs and most GSIs is “TEACHING ASST-1/10-GSHIP (GSI I)” (title code 2320), which pays $4,649.30 monthly as of October 2021. Note that this number is for a full 40h/week appointment, so you have to scale it appropriately to get the actual monthly salary. For example, an 8h/week TA at this rate would be paid 1/5th of the listed salary, or $929.86 monthly.

TAs are given fee remission (their tuition is paid for them) depending on their hour appointment. As of 2022, TAs working less than 10h/week (i.e. all 8h/week uGSIs) are given 29% partial fee remission, and TAs working 10h/week or more are given 100% fee remission. The fee remission doesn’t account for some campus fees; anecdotally, I still have to pay a few hundred dollars in campus fees every semester. I believe fee remission works the same whether you’re in-state or out-of-state, but I’m in-state so I can’t speak for how this works for out-of-state students.

There are pay steps for GSIs who have been around for many semesters, as described in the GSI appointments handbook. This was seemingly written with grad students in mind, so it’s not entirely clear how the scale works for uGSIs, or uGSIs who later become GSIs. Anecdotally, I’m being paid at Step II this semester, and I’ve done 4 semesters as a non-summer uGSI and 1 semester as a non-summer GSI. (I remember being told that summers don’t count for pay steps.)

In the end, these numbers are still only estimates, because external factors like union dues and taxes end up slightly changing the actual amount you’re paid. It’s still good for estimating salaries though.

Tutors and Readers

Tutors and readers are usually hired at 8h/week appointments, though 6h/week appointments and 4h/week appointments are also possible.

Unlike TAs, tutors and readers are paid hourly. The relevant rows on the pay rate page are “Reader-Graduate Student” (title code 2850, 2851) and “Reader-Undergraduate Student” (title code 2851), which all pay the same rate of $17.03 per hour.

Summer Semesters

Summer semesters run twice as fast as spring/fall semesters, so the appointments for TAs are usually 20h/week (10h/week doubled). TAs in summer semesters don’t get fee remission.

Summer instructors are paid at 40h/week, and there’s usually an extra one-time stipend (around $2,000) so that the salary matches the lecturer’s salary (or so I’m told).

Post was updated on January 17, 2022 to clarify that TAs in summer semesters don’t get fee remission.