How to Apply
The CS Department's online CA Application site can be found here and is active only during specific times (listed below) prior to each quarter. An email will be sent to all students each quarter on the CS-MS and CS-PhD mailing lists notifying students of when the application site will be open. If you are a non-CS student that would like to receive only these announcements, please sign up for the CA Announce mailing list here: https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/cs-caships.
Eligibility and Requirements:
Anyone that wishes to be considered for a CAship is required to submit an application, including current CAs, CAs from previous quarters, or students that have already made arrangements with instructors.
Only graduate and coterm students are eligible for CAships. Coterm students must have at least 180 undergraduate units and must also convert to coterm graduate status by the beginning of the quarter of the CAship. For additional information, please visit the Registrar's Office website here. Undergraduate students are not eligible to be CAs but do have the option to be paid Section Leaders. More information about section leading can be found here: https://cs198.stanford.edu/cs198/.
The CS Department tries to give hiring priority to certain students based on their program and dependency on funding. CS PhD students are given first priority, followed by CS MS students that were guaranteed CA funding when admitted, CS MS students, and lastly non-CS students.
English Evaluation: All Permanent Residents and International students are required to receive English proficiency approval before being appointed to a CAship. For more information, please visit the Language Center's website here.
Course Assistantship appointments are made for the full quarter. The CS Department hires 25% CAs and 50% CAs. Students hired as 50% CAs have a enrollment cap of 10 units in order to ensure that students are making expeditious progress toward their degree. Standard appointment periods include:
Autumn: October 1 - December 31 Winter: January 1 - March 31 Spring: April 1 - June 30 Summer: July 1 - August 31
Can I CA if I'm an undergraduate student?
No, undergraduate students are not eligible to work as CAs. However we do hire undergraduate students as Section Leaders for courses. For more information about Section Leading, click here.
Can coterm students be CAs?
Yes. Coterm students are eligible for CA positions if they have at least 180 undergraduate units by the beginning of the quarter of the CAship. Coterm students with undergraduate status must convert to coterm-graduate status by the beginning of that quarter.
Can I list multiple courses with the same preference ?
Yes, you are able to list multiple courses with the same preference. Some students choose to list many courses as their top choice as a way to increase they're chances of receiving a position. However, there's a drawback for doing this: if you're ranked highly for multiple courses, there's no way for me to know what your actual preferences are and I will assign you to whichever course has the most need. If this happens, we will not allow you to switch courses after offer letters have gone out. So if your preferences aren't clear and you receive an offer for a course that wasn't your top choice, please don't email us asking to switch courses.
Can I switch courses after receiving a CA offer?
NO. We hire around 200+ CAs each quarter, and making the CA assignments is a complex and time-consuming process. If you receive a CA offer then that's the course you've been assigned to. You have the option to accept the offer, or decline it. As mentioned above, you will not be permitted to switch to a different course.
What happens if I apply and then change my mind?
Submitting an application doesn't lock you into anything and students are able to make changes to their applications up until the application deadline. Even if selected, you always have the option of turning down the offer when we send out the offer letters. However, just as with any job, once an offer is officially accepted, we do treat that as a hard commitment.
Can I hold more than one CAship at a time?
No, but you can combine a 25% CAship with a 25% RAship. If you hold both positions, you'll receive the same compensation as a 50% assistant. For more information, please visit the Graduate Student Assistantships page of the Administrative Guide here.
How can I increase my chances of being chosen for a position?
Connecting with instructors prior to the application process, and having them rank you highly for a course, is the best way to increase your chances of receiving a position. Applying for the larger-volume courses will also give you a better chance at receiving a position than if you apply to smaller courses; the higher the enrollment for a course, the more CAs we hire, so smaller-volume courses get more competitive in CA hiring.
Check out the Assignment Policies page below to get an idea of how we prioritize students during the selection process. For tips and hints on increasing the likelihood that you will be selected for a CAship, check out our Application Tips link below!
What happens if I miss the application deadline?
We do have a late application period that takes place after the first round of offers has gone out. During this time, the application site is reopened and anyone that wasn't able to get an application in for the first round can submit one.
I've submitted my application, now when will I find out if I've gotten the position?
We receive a LOT of applications and it can take some time to process and make final decisions for the 200 or so positions that we offer. For Autumn quarter assignments, offers are made in early September. For Winter quarter, offers are made in early December. And for Spring and Summer, offers are made in early March.
If a student is not selected for a position, we will send out an email notification to CS students shortly after offer letters have been sent. If you are a non-CS student that would like to receive these notification emails, please be sure to sign up for our CA Announce mailing list at https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/cs-caships
I didn't receive any communication about the application deadlines.
If you're worried that you aren't receiving communication regarding CA applications and deadlines, you can check this website to get an idea of application deadlines for each quarter. If you've confirmed that a notification has been sent out and you have not received it, please be sure to check your spam folder and if you are not a CS student, double-check that you are on the CAships mailing list. If you continue having difficulty then be sure to reach out so we can try and help.