Who can teach graduate courses?

Qualifications to Teach Graduate Courses

Top students from around the world come to study with our faculty. To ensure that all graduate courses are taught by people with education and expertise well beyond that of the students, we have guidelines for who may teach graduate courses. In general, the Graduate College expects anyone teaching graduate courses to hold the terminal degree in the field. In cases of special expertise or experience, those without the terminal degree may teach graduate courses with the permission of the Graduate Dean. 

Graduate students may not be the Instructor of Record for classes giving graduate credit. The Instructor of Record refers to the person who is responsible for assigning grades and the primary delivery of instruction. In extraordinary circumstances, departments may request an exception for a graduate student who has advanced to candidacy to be the primary instructor for a master’s-only level course. Such requests should go to the Graduate Dean.

The Graduate College expects that the person listed as the Instructor of Record of a graduate course to be the person who teaches the course. Under no circumstances should a faculty member be listed as the Instructor of Record and someone else, such as a graduate student or someone without the terminal degree, teach the course in the faculty member’s place. Violations of these policies may result in graduate credit being removed from the course starting with the following semester.

Qualifications to Grade Graduate Students

Graduate students grading other graduate students is discouraged since students ordinarily should not have access to information about the grades of their peers. If a graduate student is assigned as a TA for a graduate course, he or she is restricted to non-subjective grading, lab setup, website maintenance and general advising. Course grades should be assigned by the faculty member in charge of the course to protect the privacy of students in the class. A graduate assistant for a co-convened class in which he or she is enrolled at the 500 level is subject to the same limitation; that is, a graduate student registered in a co-convened class should not grade students in the corresponding 400 level section (except for non-subjective grading). 

In extraordinary circumstances, departments may request an exception for Graduate Assistants who have advanced to candidacy to assume more responsibility for grading. Such requests must be made to the Graduate College.