Guidelines for assigning graduate students to teach graduate courses

Wayne State University strives, as part of its mission, to achieve academic excellence in all graduate programs and to provide opportunities for graduate students to teach. When selecting instructors for courses, three key issues should be considered:

  1. Competence and credentials of the instructor
  2. Maintaining confidentiality of the student 
  3. Avoidance of potential conflict-of-interest situations.

When graduate students are employed in any teaching capacity (e.g., graduate assistants, part, fractional or full-time instructors or lecturers, etc.), certain rules and guidelines are needed.

General guideline

Students enrolled in graduate programs at Wayne State University should not ordinarily be given sole or major responsibility in the instruction and final grade evaluation of any course in which other graduate students are registered for credit. These guidelines are not intended to apply to the legitimate assignment of qualified graduate students as laboratory assistants or aids in courses that are taught by a graduate faculty member. In such cases, the responsibility for instruction, supervision and grading rests with the graduate faculty member.


If, under extenuating circumstances, a graduate student enrolled at WSU must be assigned teaching duties that place that student in a teaching role with regard to other graduate students, the following restrictions will typically apply:

  1. Only doctoral students who have attained candidacy may be assigned to teach graduate courses and only provided that no doctoral candidates are enrolled in the course for credit.
  2. A graduate student may NOT be assigned for more than two semesters to teach graduate level courses in which other graduate students are registered.
  3. A graduate student may be assigned to teach graduate-level courses in which other graduate students are registered only in a specific area of special competence. Graduate students who teach must otherwise fulfill all of the credentialing, licensing, degree and experiential requirements of faculty assigned to similar courses.


All exceptions to the general guideline shall be petitioned by the department, approved by the college dean and authorized by the dean of the Graduate School.