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Chemistry Grad Program

Graduate Teaching Assignments

As a part of graduate scholarship at Penn State, graduate students are required to teach at least two semesters as a Teaching Assistant (TA).

Most students complete this in their first semester and are given an assignment to teach 10 hours of general chemistry lecture (CHEM 110) per week and 10 hours of general chemistry lab (CHEM 111). Depending on the needs of the department, interested students may fulfill their teaching requirement by teaching organic chemistry lab (CHEM 203/213) or physical chemistry lab (CHEM 457).

"Teaching helped my leadership skills. If I can control a classroom of ~30 (possibly frustrated) students, I'm confident I can trust myself to lead peers or future coworkers."

- Lily Mawby, Lear Research Group


Training and Support

At Penn State, we want to make sure our graduate students have all the resources they need to have a successful teaching experience. This includes:

  • Course specific training
  • Provided course materials
  • Meetings with course instructors
  • Pedagogy training included in CHEM 500
  • Teaching awards for exceptional performance
  • Competitive $4000 fellowships for curriculum enhancement

"I was very shy when I first started graduate school, so having the experience of weekly public speaking with my classes has helped me to gain a lot of confidence."


– Mieke Peels, Knizia Research Group


Benefits of Teaching

Students begin their graduate school experience with a wide variety of career goals. Teaching provides graduate students with many professional development opportunities that are applicable in academic, industry, and other career paths. Some of which include:

  • Public Speaking
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Confidence
  • Mastering Chemistry Fundamentals
  • Impacting Student Learning

"The best part about being a TA is the gratification of knowing you helped a student understand something they previously did not. These moments are hard to come by in research. I personally enjoy getting to meet new people and getting the opportunity to lead a room."


– Joe Persichetti, O’Brien Research Group


Advanced TA Assignments

As graduate students advance through the program or if there are needs, there are options to teach more advanced courses.

  • CHEM 112 (General Chemistry Lecture 2)
  • CHEM 113 (General Chemistry Lab 2)
  • CHEM 113 (Biological, Materials, Environmental, Food Science Emphasis)
  • CHEM 202, 210, 212 (Organic Lecture)
  • CHEM 203, 213 (Organic Lab)
  • CHEM 227 (Analytical Chemistry Lab)
  • CHEM 431 (Advanced Organic Lab)
  • CHEM 457 (Physical Chemistry Lab)