Mandatory Teaching Assistantship


Teaching is an essential aspect of scientific research. An important component of graduate-level education is the acquisition of teaching skills. All UBC Biochemistry PhD graduate students are required to be a teaching assistant (TA) and to complete a quarter (0.25, ~96 hours) TA position or equivalent at least once during their PhD. The first cohort of Mandatory TA-ship is in effect for students MSc who started September 2016, and are scheduled to do their comprehensive exams in the spring of 2018. For PhD students,the first cohort effected are those who begin the PhD in September 2018. Successful completion of the TA’ship will be recorded and evaluated.  Students making good research progress may TA additional courses provided there is agreement by the supervisor. 

Finding a TA’ship Position

A full list of courses and TA responsibilities available through the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is available here.

The Graduate Program Coordinator (Doris Metcalf) will notify students of available TA’ships early March and assign TA’ships. An email will be sent to incoming PhD students with a list of courses and the number of TA’s required. You are required to fill out a TA preference form back to Doris Metcalf by May 1st, 2018.

Financial Reimbursement

Biochemistry TA positions held to meet program requirements will receive 4 years of the PhD tuition award and an additional $1,500.00 paid to the student for the mandatory TA position.

Upon completion of the minimum TA requirement, students can TA for extra funds provided there is agreement by the supervisor.


The performances of TAs are evaluated by the course coordinator, and the evaluations become a part of the student’s files.  Evaluations are available for viewing through the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Invigilating Final Exams

As part of the TA responsibilities, all TA’s will be called upon to invigilate at least one final exam during the exam period of a term in which they are performing TA duties.


We highly encourage students to sign up for available workshops on how to teach. Below are several links to available opportunities:

Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology

Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)

LSI TA Training Program (LSI TATP)

Biology Teaching Assistant Program

Graduate Peer Review of Teaching

Graduate Peer Review of Presentations