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H. Appointments

The Graduate Division’s Appointments Office monitors and ensures compliance with campus and system-wide policies and procedures for all graduate students who hold academic or staff titles. The policies that govern graduate students as employees include those established by the Graduate Council of the Academic Senate, the Graduate Division, the Academic Personnel Office, and the Office of the President.

H1. Academic Appointments

As part of their financial support package, graduate students will often hold academic appointments or have other employment on campus. Academic appointments are governed by policies of the Academic Personnel Office. Staff appointments are governed by policies of the Berkeley HR Office.

Registered and enrolled students who are degree candidates may hold a GSI, AI-GS or GSR appointment through the end of the last month of the semester in which they receive their terminal degree. Thus, recipients of a spring terminal degree may work through May 31, and recipients of a fall terminal degree may work through December 31.

If qualified, individuals who have graduated may be appointed as a Reader or Tutor because those titles do not require registration and enrollment as a graduate student.

A student on filing fee status may not hold a graduate student academic appointment for which registration is required.

Volunteers

Students may not hold any graduate student academic title as volunteers. Academic appointees must be appropriately compensated through the Berkeley payroll system for their time and effort.

Fellowships

The stipend from a fellowship cannot be used as a substitute for salary for an academic appointment.

H1.1 Types of Employment

Academic Titles

On the Berkeley campus, graduate students may be appointed to the following academic titles without special exception, assuming eligibility requirements are met: Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Reader, and Tutor. Appointment as Acting Instructor-Graduate Student (AI-GS) is exceptional, and requires advance approval by both the Graduate Division and the Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) of the Academic Senate.

Academic Student Employees (ASE) with the titles GSI, AI-GS, Reader, and Tutor are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the University and the United Auto Workers.

GSRs are not covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Minimum Requirements and Criteria for Appointment Eligibility:

  • Students must be registered for the entire semester for which they hold a graduate student academic appointment and must be registered by the end of the third week of classes. Current registration status can be confirmed on CalCentral. The definition of registration is:
    1. Enrolled in at least one class (separate from minimum 12 unit requirement to hold an appointment)
    2. Pay a minimum of 20% of assessed fees/tuition
    3. Have no registration blocks
  • Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units, by the end of the third week of classes and must maintain the minimum of 12 units for the entire semester.1
  • New incoming students must fulfill the Violence Prevention Education Requirement or registration could be blocked.  For more information & questions refer to the Gender Equity Resource Center, (a division of Equity & Inclusion).
  • Students on filing fee status are not eligible to hold Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointments. These students are eligible to be appointed as Readers and Tutors.
  • Students on “In Absentia” status, are not eligible to hold Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Reader, or Tutor appointments but could hold a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointment and could be eligible for the fee remission program with a qualifying GSR appointment.
  • Minimum GPA for holding an academic appointment is 3.00.
  • Academic appointees may have no more than 2 incomplete grades in upper division or graduate courses.
  • Students must be making satisfactory degree progress, which includes meeting program benchmarks, not being on academic probation or in lapsed candidacy, and meeting goals set by the faculty.
  • All first-time ASEs must attend the New ASE Orientation sponsored by the campus’ Labor Relations Office the semester of their appointment. If the ASE fails to attend, he or she is ineligible for future appointments until this requirement is satisfied.
  • GSIs who are required to complete the English oral proficiency test must take and pass the test before they can be appointed.
  • New GSIs are required to

Staff Titles

Graduate students may be hired in staff titles in accordance with Staff Personnel regulations. They are limited to 50% time employment.

UC career employees who have become graduate students may maintain their career positions at up to 100% time. If a career employee accepts a student academic appointment or fellowship, he or she becomes subject to UCB’s restrictions governing appointments and fellowships, including limits on employment time.

UC career employees who become graduate students may also be eligible for the Reduced Fee Enrollment Program. Questions about this program should be directed to the Employee Relations Unit of Berkeley HR.

H1.2 New Students

New students entering in the fall semester may begin GSR appointments on July 1 if they have submitted a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) on or before that date, and if they are enrolled as a non-degree student in Summer Sessions. All requirements for employment and all academic eligibility rules apply.

With the exception of International students, new students entering in the spring semester may begin on December 1 if they have submitted the SIR on or before that date and if they are enrolled in units for spring semester.

H1.3 Visiting Students

Graduate student academic appointments are normally reserved for UCB students. Certain non-UCB students may be hired if the department has been unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified Berkeley graduate student, or if the visiting student is unusually qualified for the appointment.

Only visiting students who are 1) registered and enrolled at another UC campus, 2) taking part in the UC Intercampus Exchange, or 3) participating in the Exchange Scholar Program are eligible for an appointment. Hastings College of the Law students may not be appointed as GSIs or GSRs.

To hold a fall semester appointment at UCB, a student must be registered and enrolled in the fall term on the other UC campus.

To hold a spring semester appointment at UCB, a student must register and enroll in both the winter and spring quarters or in the spring semester on the other UC campus.

UC Intercampus Exchange

A graduate student registered on any campus of the University of California may go to another campus of the University as an Intercampus Exchange Graduate Student with the approval of:

  • the student’s graduate adviser;
  • the chair of the department on the host campus; and
  • the deans of the Graduate Division on the home and the host campus.

This privilege is available to graduate students who would like to associate with scholars or fields of study not available on the home campus, or who seek the use of special facilities and collections.

Download and submit the UC Intercampus Exchange Program Application (PDF) or visit the Graduate Degrees Office.

Exchange Scholar Program

The Exchange Scholar Program enables a graduate student enrolled in a doctoral program at one of the participating institutions to study at Berkeley for up to one year.

Current participating institutions are: Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

Exchange Scholar Program students may hold graduate student academic appointments on the Berkeley campus and may be eligible for Health Insurance remission with a qualifying appointment. 

Download and submit the Exchange Scholar Application (PDF) or visit the Graduate Degrees Office.

Education Abroad Program

EAP Reciprocal Exchange students attend a UC campus for up to one academic year on a no-fee-exchange, non-degree basis. EAP Reciprocal Exchange students are not eligible for GSI, AI-GS or GSR appointments.

They may, however, be appointed as Readers or Tutors.

Course-Work-Only Status

Students admitted to UCB on Course-Work-Only (CWO) status (including through the Education Abroad Program) may not be appointed as GSIs, GSRs or as AI-GS.  Such students may be appointed as Readers and Tutors.

H1.4 Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students cannot be appointed as GSRs. Undergraduate students may be appointed as Readers and Tutors.

Undergraduate students may be appointed as Undergraduate Student Instructors (UGSIs) by exception only. Exceptions may be approved if a department is not able to recruit any qualified graduate students (including graduate students in other departments) or hire a lecturer to fill an essential GSI position.

All undergraduate candidates for a UGSI position must meet the following requirements:

  1. be registered in the semester in which they are teaching;
  2. have upper division status when they begin teaching; and
  3. have previously taken the course for which they are being appointed, its equivalent, or a more advanced course, with a grade of A- or better.

Unless a different standard is established by the Dean of the relevant College, undergraduate candidates for GSI positions must meet the following standards established by the College of Letters and Sciences for undergraduate GSIs:

  1. be enrolled in no fewer than 12 units of course work; and
  2. have an overall GPA of 3.1 or higher.

Like graduate student GSI appointees, undergraduate appointees who do not speak English as a native language must satisfy the English Language Proficiency requirement before they can teach. They must also pass the online course on Professional Standards and Ethics in their first semester of teaching.

Hiring units may impose additional or higher requirements for eligibility for consideration to serve as a GSI while an undergraduate (e.g. a limit on Incomplete grades, higher GPA or higher grade received in the course in which they will serve).

All departments have a responsibility to provide on-going mentoring and oversight for undergraduates who teach in their units. During the semester in which they are teaching, undergraduate GSIs must be enrolled in a 300-level course or the equivalent, for purposes of training. If the GSIship is their first appointment, students must also attend 1) the New ASE Orientation, 2) the Teaching Conference for first-time GSIs, and 3) complete the online course on Professional Standards and Ethics.

Procedure:

Hiring units in the College of Letters and Science and the College of Engineering must follow the college’s procedures in hiring an undergraduate as a GSI.

Other hiring units should submit a written request of exception to the Graduate Division, affirming that the appointment meets the requirements established for the College of Letters and Sciences, or explaining any discrepancies.

H1.5 Fee Remissions

Fee remissions are a benefit derived from a graduate student’s eligible academic appointment to offset either a portion or all of a student’s assessed fees. Fee remissions are fee specific and may only be used to offset specific assessed fees in a student’s CalCentral account. In addition to fulfilling the academic requirements for each academic title, student appointments must meet established criteria to be eligible for fee remissions.

Fee Remission Payment Source

Fee remissions are a benefit of employment and like all other benefits of employment, fee remissions are paid by the same source that pays a student’s salary.  The Payroll Office is responsible for the collection of fee remissions and uses the chart string provided by the hiring unit for payment of the student’s salary to pay the student’s fee remission.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Appointments

Students who have Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) appointments at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) must remain at LBNL for the entire semester to be eligible for the fee and SHIP remission. If the appointment is terminated before the end of the semester, the remissions will be canceled and the student will be required to repay the entire LBNL remission which will be assessed in CalCentral. If the student then begins a GSR appointment on campus at any point after the first day of the semester, that appointment will not be for the entire semester and may not meet the criteria to qualify for the remissions.

Fee Remissions in Combination with Other Awards

Occasionally, students receive more than one type of award that is intended to pay fees or fees and tuition for a particular semester. Fee remissions for students with eligible appointments will generally take precedence over concurrent fellowship, departmental awards, and loans. If more than one type of award appears as a credit against fees or tuition in a student’s CalCentral account, a system-wide set of established rules governs which award is used to pay the assessments. The sequence in which CalCentral is programmed to accept award credits to offset fees and tuition is generally as follows. Please contact Billing and Payment Services for more information on the CalCentral priorities:

1. Outside agency awards
2. LBNL remissions from GSRA appointments
3. Fee and tuition remissions from UCB campus appointments
4. Program awards made through the Department Student Award System (DSAS)
5. Fellowship awards
6. Student Loans
7. Student payments

Loss of Fee Remission Eligibility

A student may lose eligibility during the course of the semester: for example, due to an early withdrawal, or because the appointment is cancelled or modified so that it no longer meets the criteria for remissions. In these cases, the student will be billed in CalCentral for the entire remission amount and must repay those fees.

Intercampus Transfers of Fee Remissions

Graduate students who are registered and enrolled at other UC campuses and hold eligible appointments at Berkeley are also eligible for remissions.

Procedure

Appointments of eligible Berkeley students automatically generate the appropriate fee remissions as outlined above. However, there is no automatic system for creating fee remissions and transferring it to the appropriate UC campus. Berkeley hiring units must request an inter-campus transfer of remissions via a financial journal.  Please contact the Appointments Office for more information.

H1.6 GSI Preparation for Teaching

The Graduate Council Policy on Appointments and Mentoring of GSIs describes the responsibilities of GSIs, faculty, and departments in ensuring that GSIs are prepared for teaching.

All first-time GSIs are required to attend the Teaching Conference for GSIs on the Friday before classes begin; complete the online course on Professional Standards and Ethics before the end of the third week of teaching; and enroll in a semester-long, 300-level course on teaching in the discipline either prior to or concurrent with the first teaching assignment.

Faculty members who teach with GSIs are required to meet with them at the outset of the semester to clarify responsibilities and expectations and to review the course syllabus. Faculty are also required to meet regularly with their GSIs throughout the semester to discuss course logistics and pedagogy and conduct classroom observations of first-time GSIs.

Programs are required to offer a 300-level course on teaching in the discipline. COCI reserves the course number 375 to designate these required introductory pedagogy courses. Guidelines to ensure the course fulfills the requirement are included in the Graduate Council Policy. Suggested procedures for conducting classroom observations, materials for faculty on guiding the work of GSIs, and resources for developing a 300-level course on teaching can be found on the GSI Teaching and Resource Center website. Programs may contact the GSI Teaching and Resource Center if they need assistance in developing their 300-level seminar on teaching.

Programs should review end-of-semester evaluations of GSIs by their students and, in those cases where improvement is needed, outline the steps a GSI should take to improve.

Procedure

Programs should provide all GSIs and faculty who are teaching with GSIs a copy of the Graduate Council Policy or the document’s URL each semester.

H1.7 Summer and University Extension Teaching Appointments

Summer and University Extension teaching appointments are not included as semesters of teaching for the purposes of determining the step at which a student should be appointed in the GSI series, nor for computing maximum teaching limits for graduate students, as per systemwide policy: see APM 410-17 and the Appointments Handbook for details.

H1.8 Summer, Winter, and Spring Break Appointments

Graduate students may be appointed up to 100 percent time during the summer, winter, and spring breaks.

During the summer break, appointments at greater than 50 percent may begin on the day following the last day of the spring semester, but must end no later than the day prior to the first day of the fall semester. Continuing students who hold summer academic appointments must either have been registered for the previous spring semester or be registered for the following fall semester. Students who have withdrawn in spring must be readmitted and register for fall before they can hold a summer appointment. Registration in Summer Session classes is not required to hold an appointment. Summer session registration does not preclude appointing students at greater than 50 percent during the summer.

Appointments greater than 50 percent during the winter break may begin on the day following the last day of the fall semester, but must end not later than the day prior to the first day of the spring semester.

H1.9 Discipline and Termination of Appointment

GSRs: Information regarding discipline and termination of GSRs can be found in the Academic Personnel Manual Section APM 150.

ASEs: Information regarding discipline and dismissal of ASEs – GSIs, AI-GSs, Readers, and Tutors – can be found in UC-UAW contract.