Undergraduate Course Assistant Resources


Undergraduate Course Assistants (UGCAs) provide instructional support for undergraduate courses. UGCAs may also be called "peer mentors" or "learning assistants." As near-peers, UGCAs are a valuable part of many CNS course teaching teams, as they can provide supportive, relatable academic assistance for students. Serving as an Undergraduate Course Assistant can be a great way to build your resume and gain valuable leadership experience, all while helping other students succeed and thrive in their CNS coursework.

How do I find an Undergraduate Course Assistant position?

The following table gives contact information or websites for information about how to apply to become a UGCA for one of the CNS departments.  

Department Contact / Website
Astronomy studentinfo@astro.as.utexas.edu 
Biology / Biochemistry / Neuro     biology@austin.utexas.edu or Online Application 
Chemistry victoriacarter@austin.utexas.edu or Chemistry PLA Program 
Computer Science Coming soon! 
Human Development Coming soon! 
Mathematics Coming soon! 
Physics ugaffairs@physics.utexas.edu 
FRI Coming soon! 

Most departments look for UGCAs who have taken multiple courses in the discipline and received high grades. In addition, they look for students who are passionate about helping others learn and who demonstrate great communication skills. 

In addition to applying via the processes above, you can let particular faculty who teach courses with UGCAs know that you are interested in the position. You should be polite and professional with such contacts and provide details about why you would be a standout Undergraduate Course Assistant. If you did particularly well in a course with UGCAs, it can be very effective to reach out to that faculty member and let them know your interest in serving as a UGCA.  

How do I learn how to be a UGCA?

All CNS Undergraduate Course Assistants are required to complete some sort of basic training. Depending on the department and assigned course, this may be a single workshop offered by STEMx or the department or a semester-long training course. Details about the training requirements will be provided when you are offered a UGCA position. 

Self-enroll in the training via this Canvas page

What would I do as a UGCA?

When hired, your faculty instructor would provide you details on the specific duties for your Undergraduate Course Assistant assignment. The following is a list of the types of responsibilities that CNS UGCAs might be charged with:

  • Facilitate class activities (walk around, answer questions, check-in with groups, distribute supplies, etc.)
  • Grade assignments 
  • Hold office hours
  • Run discussion section (under the direct supervision of the instructor of record)
  • Run laboratory section (under the direct supervision of the instructor of record)
  • Run supplementary review sessions 
  • Prepare review guides or supplementary problem sets
  • Prepare and set-up laboratory supplies
  • Prepare instructional materials and make copies
  • Proctor (under the direct supervision of the instructor of record)
  • Drive vehicles for field courses
How am I compensated for serving as an Undergraduate Course Assistant?

Most CNS UGCAs are paid positions. There are some opportunities to serve as a UGCA for course credit in order to gain leadership skills. Students serving as a UGCA for credit are expected to have duties corresponding to defined learning outcomes aimed at personal professional development. 

What do I do if I have a problem with my faculty supervisor while serving as an Undergraduate Course Assistant?

If you are unable to resolve your problem with your supervisor directly, then you should reach out to the contact person for your UGCA appointment (found on the table at the top of this page). As an employee of UT Austin, you have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity and respect. 

What university resources are available to help support students in my course?

The following are some great resources for you to know about so that you might appropriately direct the students in your course to these support offerings. 

Quick Reference Guide to UT Student Resources

  • Sanger Learning Center: If a student needs tutoring or ideas for improving their study strategies, tell them to visit the Sanger Learning Center in Jester (JES A332). They are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Learning Center has peer academic coaches, one-on-one and group tutoring, and a variety of workshops.  They also provide writing services to graduate students!  Visit their website:  http://ugs.utexas.edu/slc.
  • University Writing Center: If a student would like help revising a paper or report, let them know about the University Writing Center. A consultant at the UWC will not edit or proofread a student’s paper. Instead, they ‘teach students how to revise, edit, and proofread their own work more accurately and efficiently.’  Students can schedule a one-on-one consultation at http://uwc.utexas.edu/.
  • Study groups: Students who would like to study together in a group can reserve a Group Study Room at the PCL. Other resources provided by UT Libraries include one-on-one consultations with research librarians and a variety of workshops.  Be sure to check out the website: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/.