The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Department Teaching Assistantships

Department faculty members firmly believe that an essential part of study at the M.A. level is learning how to communicate art-historical concepts effectively to the next generation. To that end, teaching assistantships involve undergraduate instruction, especially at the introductory level, and maintenance of regularly scheduled office hours. In most courses, graduate teaching assistants contribute primarily as graders, while in the year-long survey (Art-Hist 100 and 110) they both grade and lead weekly discussion sections. All graduate students are expected to master the use of digital technologies for their own coursework and teaching responsibilities.

Assistantships usually involve fifteen to twenty hours of work per week and carry a stipend, full tuition waiver, and most of the university health fee. 

Teaching assistants are normally assigned to the following courses:

  • Art-Hist 100 and 110, the two-semester survey: 3-4 TAs lead two 50-minute discussion sections per week and grade written work; time commitment is 20 hours per week
  • Art-Hist 115, Introduction to the Visual Arts: 3-4 TAs grade written work; time commitment is 20 hours per week
  • Art-Hist 118, History of Architecture and the Built Environment: 3-4 TAs grade written work; time commitment is 20 hours per week
  • Art-Hist 324, Modern Art: 1-2 TAs grade written work; time commitment is 15 or 20 hours per week
  • Art-Hist 343, Twentieth-Century Architecture: 1-2 TAs grade written work; time commitment is 15 hours per week

* Additional courses may require TAs.

The general duties of teaching assistants are specified before the beginning of the academic year at the mandatory orientation session organized by the Graduate School. In regular meetings throughout each semester, department faculty will review specific duties related to individual courses.

Department policy is that assistantships are awarded to students making satisfactory progress towards the degree. Students who do not pass the language exam in the first year, who fail to complete work for an incomplete grade within the following semester, or whose GPA falls below 3.7 may not be awarded teaching assistantships or may have earlier offers of teaching assistantships revoked.

Graduate Diversity Fellowship

The M.A. Program in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a two-year Diversity Fellowship to support students from historically underrepresented groups in the history of art and architecture. The purpose of the fellowship is to support an M.A. candidate who seeks to pursue an academic or professional career in art history, but faces significant historical or economic barriers to further graduate study.

The fellowship comes with a very comprehensive financial package covering the entirety of the fellow’s two years in the program. This appointment provides full tuition fee coverage, a 20-hour/week position as a teaching assistant with an annual stipend of at least $23,050, and a summer living allowance of  $5000. The fellowship will also cover all the enrollment fees and health insurance costs. The fellow will be eligible for professional development funds to help support an internship, coursework, travel, or a research project during the summer. The department will provide the fellow with mentoring as well as academic and professional support throughout their time in the program.

Applicants who wish to be considered for a Diversity Fellowship should indicate this in their personal statement, and provide a brief reasoning.

Department Fellowships

Students who are not awarded assistantships receive a Fellowship from the department to help defray the costs of tuition.

University Graduate Assistantships

There are also further funding opportunities through the university for graduate students, which can be found on the Graduate School webpage.

Beyond the department, teaching assistantships are often available in the University Writing Program, the foreign language programs, and administrative offices at the university.