How to Write a Professional Letter to Graduate School for Teaching


When you apply to graduate school, you do not automatically receive funding to assist with your graduate school expenses. You must apply for a teaching assistant position separately, and only those with the best applications will be chosen. In addition to an application form, you will have to write a letter to the graduate assistantship coordinator that explains your need for the assistantship, states your teaching experience and teaching philosophy and persuades the coordinator that you are a good choice for a teaching assistantship.

  • Begin your letter by typing your address. Skip a line, and type the date. Skip another line and type the name of the Graduate Assistantship Coordinator, the name of the department, the university's name and the department's address. Skip another line and type "Dear Dr. (last name)" followed by a colon. If you do not know the name of the Graduate Assistantship Coordinator, call the department and find out. If you want the position, you will have to demonstrate that you are proactive and ambitious, and finding out the name of the coordinator is one way to show that.

  • Introduce yourself and the program you will be entering and state that you would like to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship. For example, "My name is Victor Hernandez, and I will be a new student in the Rhetoric and Communication Ph.D. program beginning the fall of 2011. I am writing to request that you consider me for a graduate teaching assistantship. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about myself and explain why I would be a good teacher for Big State University."

  • Start the next paragraph by reviewing your previous classroom experiences. If you have taught before, elaborate on that experience and connect it to the teaching position you are applying for. How will your previous experience help you be an instructor for this position?

  • Explain your teaching philosophy. If your philosophy is informed by a school of thought, such as social constructivism or by a theorist such as Peter Elbow, explain that and how you use these ideas in the classroom. For example, if you use grading contracts to help students take charge of their own learning experience, explain why you do it, how the grading contracts work, and how successful this is for you.

  • Thank the Graduate Coordinator for his time. Give him your telephone number and email address in case he has additional questions for you about your letter or application.

  • End the letter by typing "Sincerely," and skip three line spaces. Type your full name. Print the letter and sign above your typed name.

Tips & Warnings

  • Proofread your letter carefully. You must show that you have professional work habits if you are going to teach at the university level, and having an error-free letter will help demonstrate that.

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