The Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies works to support all graduate students in good standing and making satisfactory progress toward their degree. The department makes every effort to distribute its resources as fairly as possible outside of guaranteed support offers. Thus, it is the department’s intention to give the maximum number of graduate students in the program an opportunity to hold TAships consistent with the department’s needs and criteria. Graduate students from other fields will be appointed to TAships only when students in CANES are not available, not making satisfactory progress, or are less qualified. It should be remembered that teaching funds are variable, depending on budget and class enrollments. All students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for support outside the department at all stages of their study.

Teaching Assistantships

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Teaching Assistant appointments will be offered to eligible graduate students on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Contractual obligations made to the student
  • Satisfactory progress towards degree
  • Satisfactory student evaluations and faculty teaching observations
  • Departmental judgment of the student’s qualification to teach scheduled courses
  • Availability of budgeted positions


To be eligible to become a Teaching Assistant, graduate students should ordinarily meet the following requirements:

  • Students should be enrolled in the CANES graduate program (exceptions will be made due to lack of qualified or available students)
  • Students should be making satisfactory progress towards an advanced degree
  • Students should not have exceeded the limited allotment of teaching within the department (5 years after the BA or 3 years after the MA)

Students who are non-native speakers of English must complete the SPEAK test for assessing English proficiency. The SPEAK test is the institutional version of the Test of Spoken English (TSE), which is administered by the Educational Testing Service. The SPEAK test measures oral proficiency and is frequently used to evaluate the spoken English of international TAs. The test is available only to students holding or under consideration for a teaching assistantship. For information and scheduled tests, please consult the English as a Second Language website. Students must achieve a score of 45 or higher before being placed in the classroom.

Class Assignments

Class assignments are made by the department chair in consultation with department faculty with consideration of the following items in order of importance:

  • Previous positive assessment of teaching ability
  • Fair rotation of teaching among qualified graduate students
  • Background and experience of the TA in course materials
  • The need for graduate students to have a variety of teaching experiences
  • The preference of the TA, and the preference of the instructor

Training and Review

Training Program

New TAs are required to attend the Letters & Science Teaching Assistant Workshop and the Graduate Assistants Equity Workshop within the first two semesters of teaching appointments. In addition, for TAs with a first time Communication B appointment, the Writing Across Campus Communication B Training workshop will also be required. TAs are also encouraged to take advantage of the writing workshops offered by the Writing Center throughout each semester.

For each course, the TA must meet with the supervising instructor to outline the goals and objectives of the course, the exam and grading procedures, the syllabus and assigned readings, and specific pedagogical methods appropriate for the course.  Should there be concerns about the course that the TA feels unable to address, they can refer students to the supervising instructor for initial consultation. Regular meetings between the TA and supervising instructor are held throughout the semester to discuss the progress and success of the course.


Within the first few weeks of class, the supervising instructor will observe the TA, with new TAs being a priority. After the visit, discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the class provide the basis for recommendations for further teaching development. A written evaluation, to be discussed in person, is then provided to the Department Chair and will be placed in the student’s file. If the Chair deems necessary, a second faculty member will make an additional classroom observation with a written evaluation. At the end of each semester or course, student evaluations for the TA classes are to be completed and kept on file in the department for future reference.


Workload/Percentage of Appointment

Graduate Assistantship appointments are percentage based. The percentage of appointment is based on the total expected hours of work throughout the course of the semester. CANES routinely assigns Teaching Assistants to 50% appointments, equivalent to 20 hours of work per week for a total of 360 hours per semester.

Each TA will receive a breakdown of expected workload with their official appointment letter. The TA is expected to review and discuss the workload with the supervising faculty member of the course. By signing and returning the workload agreement to the department administrator, the TA accepts the appointment for the semester.

Stipend & Benefits

All Graduate Assistantships at or above 33.4% include full tuition remission, a full array of benefits including health insurance and office space within the department. Spring teaching appointments also carry summer tuition remission.

Learn more:
Current rates of pay
Segregated Fees

General Graduate Assistantship Policies & Procedures

The Graduate School has created a resource defining and outlining information relevant to graduate students holding Project (PA) Teaching (TA) and Research (RA) Assistantships.

Departmental Travel Support

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Eligibility Guidelines

The CANES department can provide some funding for students who are presenting a paper addressing a topic in the field or interviewing for hire. Applicable conferences include the ASA and CAMWS, but other conferences such as graduate student colloquia will also be considered. First time recipients of this award may be asked to present a departmental Pillinger Talk in preparation for their conference presentation.

All applications for department travel must be supported by satisfactory progress in the student’s program. Graduate students may submit one request for travel support to the department per academic year. Every attempt will be made to fund student travel up to a maximum of $1,250. Students should recognize that funding is based on availability.

Before requesting travel funds from the department, graduate students should conduct due diligence to learn about and apply for travel awards offered by other units (Graduate School, Women’s Classical Caucus, The Sportula etc.) at UW-Madison and by sponsors of the event for which travel funds are requested. Evidence of awards applied for and/or received should accompany all requests for department travel funding. Being competitive for awards outside the department is a matter of professional development.


Having applied for travel awards and supplements from external sources, students should then petition the CANES Department for travel support. All petitions are considered on a case by case basis and evaluated on the basis of academic merit and satisfactory progress in the graduate program.

To apply, submit a letter addressed to Bill Bach ( detailing the title of the talk, proof of acceptance, the date and place of the conference, and any other relevant information. Include a budget and provide details of awards or denial of funding from other sources. Awards from other sources will not necessarily disqualify students from CANES Department funding.

Since applications will be read on a rolling basis and funds are usually more plentiful at the beginning of the year, students are encouraged to apply early.

Scholarships and Fellowships

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Adams-Lemoine Dissertation Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded in memory of C.K. Adams, Professor of Latin & History and University of Wisconsin President from 1892 to 1902, and Fannie Lemoine, Professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923. The Adams-Lemoine Fellowship is utilized for student recruitment or completion of degree. It provides tuition remission, a stipend, and benefits in accordance with published University award amounts. Award periods vary and funding may be available for one or two semesters of study.

Moses S. Slaughter Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded in memory of Moses S. Slaughter, University of Wisconsin Professor of Latin from 1906 to 1923. The Slaughter Fellowship is given to a current or incoming graduate student who maintains Wisconsin residency. It provides tuition remission, a stipend, and benefits in accordance with published University award amounts and may supply funding for one or two semesters of study.

Frank R. Kramer Summer Fellowship

A pre-doctoral summer research grant awarded in memory of Dr. Frank R. Kramer, who earned a BA in Humanities in 1929, an MA in Greek & Latin in 1931, and a PhD in Classics in 1936.

Preference for the Kramer Fellowship shall be given to applicants pursuing pre-doctoral summer research grants, including support for research or travel connected with research in the pre-dissertation as well as the dissertation stage. The award is open to all graduate students making satisfactory progress after successful completion of one year (fall and spring semesters) in CANES programs. Award totals range between $750-$2,500.

Hieronimus Prize for Greek Composition

This monetary award is given in memory of Professor John Paul Hieronimus (PhD’31). Entrants are asked to translate a selected passage into ancient Greek or compose an original piece in ancient Greek addressing a specific topic. Awards are given in late spring.

Pillinger Prize for Latin Composition

This monetary award is given in memory of Assistant Professor Hugh Edward Pillinger (1965-1970). Entrants are asked to translate a selected passage into Latin or compose an original piece in Latin addressing a specific topic. Awards are given in late spring.

Other Funding Options

Research Travel Awards