Teaching is not required for students pursuing a doctoral degree, but some students may want to have a teaching experience as a way of exploring a future in academia, and some advisors may require it of their students.

Like most truly valuable experiences, teaching a course involves a substantial commitment of time and effort. A semester of teaching may extend the time it takes to earn a degree by a semester. Student-taught course sections are typically limited to 40 undergraduate students, and summer courses typically only have around 15. No teaching assistants are provided for student-taught sections, meaning that the student instructor is responsible for all lecturing and grading.

Students interested in teaching must meet the following requirements:

  • The student must complete the PRP and gain admission to the doctoral program
  • The student must complete COMP 915
  • The student must get the approval of his or her Ph.D. advisor


If you are interested in teaching and have fulfilled the requirements, please fill out this interest form.

Semester course offerings and schedules must be determined months in advance of the semester. Consult the table below for a general timeline and recommended deadlines for submitting your interest form.

Semester Classes Begin Course List Finalized Ideal Submission
Fall late August mid March early February
Spring mid January mid September early August
Summer (MM, SS1, SS2) mid May early February early January


Student teaching assignments are determined by trying to match the interests and experiences of the student with the needs of the department.

During the summer, the department typically has three openings for five-week courses: COMP 110 (Intro to Programming w/ Java or Javascript), COMP 116 (Intro to Scientific Programming w/ MATLAB or Python), and COMP 283 (Discrete Structures). These courses meet every weekday, meaning a student lecturer will be responsible for teaching and planning lectures five days each week. Summer courses can be finished more quickly, but students contemplating a future in academia will get a more representative experience by teaching a fall or spring course.

Fall and spring openings are dependent on funding availability, faculty leave, and other factors. COMP 524 (Programming Language Concepts) is typically available as a student teaching assignment and has been taught by many generations of graduate students. Prior expertise in programming languages is not necessary to teach the course effectively. Graduate students have also taught sections of COMP 550 (Algorithms and Analysis) and COMP 690 (Special Topics) to meet specific needs or opportunities during the semester offered.

Student instructors are not restricted to the courses listed above. If you want to teach a particular course or topic, please indicate that in the interest form.


Student teaching will be supervised by the student’s doctoral dissertation advisor.¬†This will involve the advisor visiting a few lectures, approving the syllabus, and soliciting feedback from the students in the class. The associate chair for academic affairs will be available to help with any issues that may arise.

Instructor Information

Once you have submitted the form above and are approved to teach, you may want to visit our Graduate Instructor Information page.