Written on July 2, 2018

CS Graduate Student Jobs

This FAQ gives a brief overview of the differences between various jobs offered by the department. It is intended to help students choose between available job options. If you have other questions about jobs, come ask us on Slack. We’ll also update this FAQ periodically.

Job Comparison

Title Pay (2018-2019) Hours (hr/wk) Tuition Waiver Health Insurance Example Duties Courses Taught
Research Assistant (RA) at 50% appointment $12,324 / semester* 20 X X Do research
Teaching Assistant (TA) at 50% appointment $12,324 / semester* 20 X X Teach recitation
Hold office hours
Undergraduate Only
Graduate Student Staff (GSS) $15 / hr <= 20** Responsibilities vary by course, but can include grading, administration and office hours. Will not include teaching recitation Both undergraduate and graduate classes

‘*’ This amount is distributed monthly. The fall semester has 4 months, and the spring semester has 5. So the monthly earnings are $3081 and $2465 respectively. Also, post proposal PhD students in the CS department get a raise to $13,053 / semester.

‘**’ GSS hours depend on course enrollment.

There are a few other rarer jobs, such as lead TA and graduate part time instructor (GPTI), but the above are the most common.

How to get one of these jobs

Rajshree sends out a survey about three months before each semester to look for TAs, and GSS for courses. She then works with the curriculum/TA sub-committee to try and match the respondents with available courses. You can also find out about courses that need TAs, GSS from Rajshree. For PhD students, your research advisor might occasionally ask you to TA their course.

For upper-level courses, you need to have taken the course before or have relevant experience in order to qualify to be a TA or GSS.  

Typically, TAs are assigned with the following priorities

  1. PhD students with funding commitment
  2. PhD students without funding commitment and MS students who have previously held TAs
  3. Outstanding GSS are also at times considered for TA positions, if needed.

At all priority levels, you must perform your TA duties well. Students who have previously held TA positions and underperformed do not get picked up again.

GSS positions mostly go to Masters students.

If you want an RA, you need to speak to a professor with research funding and convince them to hire you. For PhD students, the professor who funds your RA is typically your research advisor.

How many hours will I get?

Hours for GSS vary based on the enrollment in the courses, and are usually determined just before the start of the semester. In general, more students mean more available hours.

I went through the historical FCQs of courses being offered Fall 2018 to get an idea of past enrollment. Larger course size means more hours will be available. The department has been growing steadily for the past few years and interest in topics can vary, but the historical numbers can give you a rough idea of how many hours you might get.

Course Number Last Offered Enrollment
Linear Algebra CSCI 2820 SS 2017 84
Discrete Structures CSCI 2824 SS 2017 206
Intro to Data Science Algorithms CSCI 3022 FS 2016 88
Intro to Artificial Intelligence CSCI 3202 SS 2016 95
Design & Analysis of Data Systems CSCI 3287 SS 2017 137
Numerical Computation CSCI 3656 SS 2017 48
HCC Professional Development CSCI 3112 SS 2009 21
Intro to Robotics CSCI 3302 FS 2016 48
Theory of Computation CSCI 3434 FS 2016 33
Cognitive Science CSCI 3702 FS 2016 66
Data Mining CSCI 4502 SS 2017 56
Computer Graphics CSCI 5229/4229 FS 2016 86
Network Systems CSCI 5273/4273 FS 2016 114
Entrepreneurial Projects CSCI 4830/5340 - -
Object Oriented Analysis and Design CSCI 4448/5448 SS 2017 107
Machine Learning CSCI 5622 SS 2017 20
Data Mining CSCI 5502/4502 SS 2016 127
High Performance Computing CSCI 4576/5576 FS 2016 12
Undergraduate Machine Learning CSCI 4622 - -
Computer Animation CSCI 4809/5809 FS 2015 35
Intro to Virtual Reality CSCI 7000/4830 SS 2017 45
Computer Vision CSCI 5722/4831 SS 2015 21
Network Analysis and Modeling CSCI 5352 FS 2016 33
Design and Analysis of Algorithms CSCI 5454 FS 2016 33
Datacenter Scale Computing CSCI 5253 - -
Ethical Hacking CSCI 5413 - -
Advanced OS CSCI 5573 SS 2016 16
Principles of Numerical Computation CSCI 5606 FS 2016 10
Natural Language Processing CSCI 5832 SS 2017 32
User Centered Design CSCI 5839 FS 2016 34

Maximum Hours

The university limits how many hours you can work in university positions:

The campus policy limits hourly student employees in all University of Colorado positions combined to a maximum of 25 hours per week or 50 hours per bi-weekly pay period during the academic year including exam weeks, spring break, and winter break; and to 40 hours per week or 80 hours per bi-weekly pay period in the summer.

In addition, if you are an international student, your visa may place limits on how much you can work:

In general, F1 and J1 international students maintaining status at CU-Boulder can work on campus a maximum of 20 hours a week during school. Refer to International Student and Scholar Services for additional information.

From Student Employment FAQs

Other On-Campus Jobs

Other on-campus jobs are listed at the Student Employment Office website. These may be especially interesting to you if you are on a F1 or J1 visa, as you can only work on campus.