Department of Mathematics FAS Harvard University One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA Tel: (617) 495-2171 Fax: (617) 495-5132

Course assistants (Math Ma - 21b )

Applicants for Ma-21b course assistant positions must be current Harvard university students. We do not hire first-year undergraduates in CA positions. Focus on your studies during this year of transition, and please come back next year to apply! Please

fill out a Math CA application form here if you are interested.
Applicants also have to sign up for a microteaching session.
90-minute microteaching session.

Upperlevel Course assistants (Math 23 - )

Applications for CA ing upper level courses in the fall are due by the last day of reading period of the spring semester. You may fill out the application form on the upperlevel page at any time, your info will be saved. You may fill it out after the deadline too, in case you may be needed. If you are interested in an upper level course assistant position, start here. Also this position is only for currently registered Harvard university students.

Calculus Course Assistant Job Description (Math M through Math 21)

All of Harvard's calculus classes are taught in small sections of around 25 students. Each section meets 2 or 3 times per week, taught by an instructor called a Teaching Fellow (TF), who is either a faculty member or graduate student in the math department. Each Course Assistant (CA) is associated with one calculus section and is responsible for working with the TF to ensure the success of the section.


Course Assistants have five main responsibilities:
  1. CAs attend each of their section's classes in order to see what is being taught, and to note the topics which are difficult for students.
  2. CAs do all of the homework grading for their section during the semester - students typically turn in a problem set each class period, and CAs are normally expected to grade the work and get it back to the students at the next class meeting. CAs maintain the gradebook, and make a weekly report of the grades and common mistakes to the TF and the course head.
  3. "CAs run a weekly 60-minute problem session. In some courses the problem sessions are used to go over homework problems and other topics which might have come up during the week. In other courses at least part of each problem session is taken up by a quiz, which you would then go over before taking questions on other topics."
  4. CAs work in the Math Question Center for an average of 90 minutes each week, alternating between one- and two-hour weeks. The Math Question Center is a general math help center that meets from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Science Center.
  5. CAs attend a weekly meeting to check in with the course administrators, and to discuss ways to improve the course and the performance of the students.
CAs are also expected to be available to help their Course Head during the semester by doing other small tasks, such as writing up homework solution sets, or helping with review sessions before exams.

The CA position is a great job for those people who want to get involved in teaching math, and in interacting with students to help them learn. It is also a real responsibility - this is a professional job, and we expect that CAs will meet all of the requirements during the semester and not let down either their TFs or the students in their sections. Students in calculus classes really count on the CAs to help them out - quite a number of students find it easier to relate to the CAs in their courses, as they are closer in age.

Pay Scale

The job usually takes between 15 to 20 hours per week for the semester. The compensation is quite good - in 2011-2012 the salary averaged around $2,800 per semester per CA, depending on how many students were in the section." The reason for the fluctuating scale is that a significant proportion of a CA's time consists of grading homework, and the amount of time required depends directly on the number of students turning in homework. Thus if there are more students in your section, then you will be paid more for the increased grading that's required.


For a CA position in a calculus course (Math M, 1a, 1b, 21a, or 21b) you will need to have satisfactorily completed classes through at least Math 21a and b, or taken a higher numbered class such as Math 25, or 55.

How to apply

Please fill out an application form.

Please arrive to the microteaching session promptly. During this session you will be asked to explain a problem dealing with the basic notions of integration or differentiation. You should also have thought about how you would run your weekly problem session. If you are a returning CA, you do not need to participate in a microteaching session, but you will still need to fill out an application.

Candidates will be notified by e-mail of their chances of getting a CA job. We'll send out the notification by mid to late May, but final decisions cannot be made until after sectioning is done for the calculus classes in the fall (as the number of jobs depends on enrollment and on how many sections are run). Those people who are told that it is likely or possible that they have a job must attend a half-day training session that will take place several days before the academic year begins in the fall.

If you have any questions about the job, please contact Sarah Chisholm (