The School of Architecture participates in the University-wide Assistant-in-Instruction Program. An Assistant-in-Instruction (AI) is an appointment in which a graduate student receives a stipend and a tuition contribution for teaching. Students appointed to AIs may be involved in some combination of classroom teaching, laboratory supervision, and grading in undergraduate courses
AI hours and their distributions for each course are determined by Princeton University's Office of the Dean of Faculty. Every year, the School of Architecture offers an average of 50 Assistant in Instruction (AI) positions to our graduate students. Opportunities range from studio assistantships to lecture courses and seminars.
The number of AI hours for each course varies according to the type of course and enrollment. The number of AI hours assigned to a course is determined by the University and it is consistent across departments. Each course may have up to 6 AI-hours available, which translates to about 20 actual hours of work. Architecture positions are advertised in late summer and late fall. You may also find AI positions outside the School of Architecture on the Graduate School AI Job Posting website.
In the last two years, every graduate student graduating from the School of Architecture (who applied for AI positions) received at least one AI position during their time at the School of Architecture.
AI Tuition support for ARC students varies depending upon the student’s degree type.
- Master’s students receive both AI salary and AI tuition support prorated by the number of AI hours they are appointed.
- Ph.D. students in regular enrollment receive both AI salary and AI tuition support prorated by the number of AI hours they are appointed.
- Ph.D. students in DCE enrollment receive an AI tuition grant which covers the DCE tuition fees in any term where the student teaches 2 AI hours or more.
It is also important to note that AI salary and AI tuition support supplants any fellowship or assistantship-in-research funding the student currently receives - the one exception being Master’s students who teach 5 AI hours or less, who will continue to receive their fellowship stipend in that term.
The AI application process is as follows:
Twice a year (in the late Summer and late Fall), positions are announced for the Fall and the Spring respectively by email to all graduate students. The announcements include a description of the position, the number of AI hours the position entails, as well as the faculty member with whom the student would be working.
The AI announcement email includes a link to an application form. Students use this Google form to rank their preferences. For some AI positions, students will be asked to submit additional relevant materials for consideration (i.e. portfolio when applying for a studio AI position, etc.). Students are encouraged to email faculty and communicate their interest in being an AI for their course; however, the assignment of AI positions is centralized and faculty cannot make a decision independently.
Faculty are provided the list of students who applied to work with them. The faculty then rank their preferences. Faculty are discouraged from working with the same students more than once for a course in order to give opportunities to a broader group of students.
The Dean, Associate Dean, and the Academic Programs Manager work together to develop a list of AI assignments that takes into account student and faculty preferences. Graduating students are given priority in their last year of study. Students are then contacted individually to confirm that they are still interested in the position, and if so, they are assigned to the course.
Trends we have found:
- Students who include more options in their rankings tend to receive more than one AI position in their time at Princeton.
- More often than not, students in their final year receive one of the top three AI options they listed. Conversely, first year students tend to not receive AI positions at the top of their list in the first year.
- Studios are highly in demand, and students that only list studios as their options tend to not receive AI positions early in their time at Princeton.
Q: I noticed that a student was selected twice in a row as a course AI. I thought that faculty were discouraged from selecting the same student twice for the same course. What happened?
A: Most likely no other student applied for that position, or the position required technical knowledge that no other candidate had demonstrated. We review the overall assignments carefully and we only assign the same student when no other option is available for the successful teaching of the course.
Q: I noticed that a student has received three AI positions in the last two years and I only received one.
A: We have found that students that have received more than one position in their time at Princeton were willing and applied to be AIs in a broader range of courses, starting early in their time at Princeton.
Q: I received a position outside the School - will that hurt my chances to receive an AI position in the School in the future?
A: No. We try to give all of our students the opportunity to AI at least once in the School of Architecture. In the last two years, every graduate student graduating from the School of Architecture (who applied for AI positions) received at least one AI position during their time at the School of Architecture.
Q: I am only interested in being an AI for studio. Do I need to apply for positions I am not interested in?
A: No. Students should only apply for positions in which they are interested. However, studios are very sought-after and you may not be able to receive an AI position if you are not interested in being an AI for other types of courses.
Q: There seems to be a discrepancy between the number of AI hours for one course vs. another. Why is that?
A: The number of AI hours assigned to a course is determined by the University. The School of Architecture does not have control over the number of AI hours allocated to a course. The number of AI hours is dependent on course type (seminar, lecture, studio, etc.), the number of contact hours assigned to the course (length of class time), and enrollment. These numbers are consistent across departments. The faculty needs to ensure that the amount of time students contribute is consistent with the expectations of the specific AI position.