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Teaching Opportunities

TA or adjunct instruction

Serving as a teaching assistant or adjunct instructor is not a requirement for receiving a PhD degree from the School of Social Work. However, we strongly encourage all students who have an interest in future teaching to take advantage of this opportunity. This experience is important in demonstrating teaching potential as students enter the job market.

In general, there are three types of courses that PhD students may be eligible to teach, and the requirements for teaching these courses differ.

  • Social Work 200, 300, 321
  • BSW and Foundation MSW Courses
  • Advanced MSW Courses

In addition to the social work courses indicated above, PhD students occasionally serve as teaching assistants or adjunct instructors in other departments. In that case, students are subject to the procedures and requirements of the department offering the courses as they pursue teaching assignments.

Requirements for Teaching Assignment Eligibility

The requirements for PhD teaching eligibility differ depending on whether a student is teaching undergraduates (Social Work 200, 300, or 321) or MSW students. These differences derive from the requirement of the University of Illinois Graduate College that graduate student teachers generally should have a higher degree than the students they teach, unless a written exception is made. Within the School, such exception requests will be made only after PhD students have completed all coursework and their qualifying examination.

Students in the joint MSW/PhD program cannot teach MSW level classes while they are in the MSW portion of their studies.In addition, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) rules require that persons teaching MSW practice courses have at least two years of post-MSW practice experience. The Graduate College also requires international students to complete additional requirements from which U.S. students are exempt. The following table summarizes all requirements for both international and U.S. students for the opportunities for which PhD students may be eligible.

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