Teaching Assistantships

Criteria for Teaching Assistantships

The department has had as many as twenty TA positions each semester. There is usually 1 position in Anthropology 100 (General Anthropology); 1-2 positions in Anthropology 102 (Archaeology and the Prehistoric World); 8-10 positions in Anthropology 104 (Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity); 4-6 positions in Anthropology 105 (Principles of Biological Anthropology); and 1 position in Anthropology 212 (Principles of Archaeology).

Each semester (fall and spring), all students in each section (archaeology, biological, and cultural) are considered for a Teaching Assistantship unless they choose to opt out. Students will receive an email from the Graduate Program Manager (in September and March) asking if they wish to be considered for an assistantship the following semester. Students are asked to respond within one week, and if interested, return the completed Prospective Teaching Assistant Information. Failure to complete and return the form by the given deadline will be considered an “opt out.” Students who know they will be in the field or away from email during this period should confirm their interest and fill out all relevant forms with the Graduate Program Manager in advance. Students who respond late will be considered for assistantships only if there are any additional positions after all on-time responders have had offers.

Each section of the department ranks its applicants using a predetermined combination of factors, which may include graduate GPA, past performance as a teaching assistant (if any), previous academic and professional experience, and current CV. Intersectional applicants are ranked with other applicants using the same criteria by the sections involved. Students with departmental support guarantees are ranked first.

The department policy is to offer TA positions on a semester basis; we prioritize Anthropology students who have taught for fewer than three semesters so that more of our students will have the opportunity to gain teaching experience. The appointments are not necessarily awarded for consecutive semesters. Occasionally, appointments are available for non-Anthropology graduate students. Students outside the department are welcome to apply to these positions each semester should they become available. To apply, please submit a letter of interest and your CV to the Anthropology Graduate Program Manager at anthrograd@mailplus.wisc.edu.

Once offers are made, students must accept or decline within one week. Failure to respond will indicate that the student is declining the offer.


Students must be making satisfactory progress in the graduate program (as determined by annual review within their section) to be eligible for TA positions.

TAs who are not native speakers of English are required to demonstrate language proficiency. A SPEAK test is used to evaluate the spoken English of international TAs. International students who wish to pursue a Teaching Assistantship should take the test as early as possible in their graduate careers, in order not to miss a TA opportunity; they will need to demonstrate passing results before a TA position can be offered.

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures Enrollment Requirements web page https://grad.wisc.edu/documents/enrollment-requirements/ spells out enrollment requirements for students who are offered TA positions; please consult that website for details.


Although the Graduate School allows concurrent appointments (see here and here), such as a fellowship and a TA-ship, only in very rare circumstances does the Department of Anthropology allow a concurrent benefits eligible appointment if the student has accepted another. On the rare occasion that we make an exception, it typically involves curricular needs within the department. Our program has limited funding for our graduate students. We expect our graduate students to choose one of the benefits eligible offers, so we ask you to choose which funding is most appropriate for you at this stage of your graduate career.