Image courtesy of Richard Payne.

Teaching is an essential part of graduate education at the University of Chicago. All NELC students are required to teach as part of their five-year funding package. Opportunities to teach are also available after the first five years. This pedagogical experience is designed to serve as one element in the preparation of NELC students for an academic career, along with advanced language study, research, and field work. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the considerable university resources devoted to improving teaching abilities and producing exceptional teaching portfolios.

Graduate Aid Initiative (GAI) Teaching Requirement

All students are required to complete five GAI Points as part of their funding package. GAI points are earned for service as a language assistant (LA), course assistant (CA), writing intern, preceptor, or student lecturer. NELC students commonly fulfill their GAI requirement through a combination of LA and CA appointments in NELC courses, although students are encouraged to explore opportunities in other departments if this aligns with their academic interests and/or professional pursuits.


Fellowship Year    Stipend Expected Teaching
1 Full Stipend $0
2 Full Stipend $0
3 Stipend minus $3,000 $3,000 (1 GAI point)
4 Stipend minus $6,000 $6,000 (2 GAI points)
5 Stipend minus $6,000 $6,000 (2 GAI points)


As part of the requirements for the PhD degree all NELC students are required to complete the departmental pedagogy requirement. NELC students should take the Course Design and College Teaching course administered by the Chicago Center for Teaching before entering candidacy. 

Language Assistants

Language Assistants may lead group drills and/or private conversation drills, check and grade homework, and assist the lecturer in class. NELC regularly appoints LAs to our modern and ancient language sequences, depending on enrollments.

Course Assistants

Course assistants are expected to aid faculty members in courses in which the undergraduate enrollment is too large for faculty to effectively perform all aspects of instruction. Course assistants may be expected to attend class, read all assigned materials, hold office hours with students, lead a discussion section, review and comment on student assignments, and recommend grades. NELC appoints CAs to our Civilization Sequences, such as Ancient Empires (NEHC 20501 – 20503) and Islamic History and Society (NEHC 20601 – 20603), etc., and to other College courses, such as Intro to the Middle East (NEHC 10101).

Student Lecturer

NELC occasionally appoints students to teach courses within our language and civilization sequences. The department also allows students to propose courses of their own design. All student lecturer appointments must be voted on and approved by NELC faculty. Lecturers are in charge of every aspect of the teaching experience, including lecturing, guiding discussion, meeting with students regularly, and recording and reporting grades.

Recent examples of student-designed courses include; Monsters and Magic in the Ancient Near EastForensic Archaeology, History of Modern Syria, and The Exotic and the Exotified: Women in the Ancient Near East. 

BA Preceptor

Preceptors are typically students who have advanced to candidacy, but all students are eligible to apply. This position is for one full academic year. The preceptor runs the required autumn quarter seminar (NEHC 29800) for all fourth-year NELC majors. It is a workshop course designed to survey the fields represented by NELC and to assist students in beginning the research and writing of their BA papers. In addition, the Preceptor will meet with students individually and/or in small groups throughout winter quarter as they research and write. During the first three weeks of spring quarter, the Preceptor will be available as the papers are finalized.

College Study Abroad Programs

The College’s Civilizations Abroad programs in Rabat and Granada regularly employ NELC students as Program Assistants. These positions are a combination of academic and administrative support.

Writing Intern

The University of Chicago Writing Program, also known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, employs graduate students in a variety of capacities, including opportunities which fulfill teaching units. Students who wish to work for the writing program must complete the training course (HUMA 50000 Pedagogies of Writing), offered annually in the Spring and Summer quarters.

NELC students who for the first time have a qualifying teaching appointment and enroll in the training prior to autumn of their fifth year are eligible to receive $1,000 from the Humanities Division after satisfactorily completing the training. Humanities graduate students in their fifth year and beyond may train, but are not eligible for compensation.

Lecturing in the College

Advanced graduate students can apply to teach in the Humanities Collegiate Division General Education (Core) sequences. University of Chicago graduate student applicants for these positions must have attained ABD status no later than the end of the Spring quarter prior to the academic year in which they will teach. More information on the application process may be found here.

Advanced graduate students may also apply for Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowships in the College.