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MS | Course & Research Assistant Overview

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The CS Department offers a limited number of Course (CA) and Research (RA) Assistantships.  The CS Department hires 25% CA's and 50% CA's and RA's. Students hired at the 50% level have a enrollment cap of 10 units in order to ensure that students are making expeditious progress toward their degree.

The standard appointment periods and pay dates are: 

  • Autumn quarter. October 1 - December 31. 
    • The six Autumn pay dates are on 10/22, 11/7, 11/22, 12/7, 12/20, and 1/7.
  • Winter quarter. January 1 - March 31. 
    • The six Winter pay dates are on 1/22, 2/7, 2/22, 3/7, 3/22, and 4/7.
  • Spring quarter. April 1 - June 30. 
    • The six Spring pay dates are on 4/22, 5/7, 5/22, 6/7, 6/22, and 7/7.
  • Summer quarter. July 1 - August 31. 
    • The four Summer pay dates are on 7/22, 8/7, 8/22, and 9/7.

Course Assistants (CAs)

A Course Assistantship is similar to a Teaching Assistantship. Course Assistantship appointments are made for the full quarter. 

  • Application Timeline: Prospective CA applicants are welcome to apply online.
    • Autumn quarter. Applications are accepted from late June through late July. Offers are made in early September.
    • Winter quarter. Applications are accepted from mid-October through late October. Offers are made in early December.
    • Spring quarter. Applications are accepted from early February through mid-February. Offers are made in early March.
    • Summer quarter. Applications are accepted from early May through mid-May. Offers are made in early June.

Bettina Santos ( sends an email announcement to the CS MS and CS PhD mailing lists each quarter when applications go live. If you're a non-CS student who would like to receive only these announcements, sign up for the CA announce mailing list.

  • Eligibility & Requirements:
    • Important Note: Incoming MS CS students are not eligible to apply for CA positions with the CS Department during their first quarter at Stanford. You will be invited to apply for CS CA positions for Winter quarter and beyond.
    • Submit an application. Everyone must submit an application in order to be hired. This includes prospective students, current CA's, CA's from previous quarters, and 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, visit the Registrar's Office website. 
      • Undergraduate students are not eligible to be CA's but do have the option to be paid Section Leaders. More information about section leading can be found on the CS198 website. 
    • Hiring priority depends on program and 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. 
  • ACE CAships:
    • There is a separate process for students wishing to apply for the Additional Calculus for Engineers (ACE) Course Assistant positions.
    • Please complete the ACE CA Application to be considered for this specialized CA role.
      • Note: The ACE CA Application review and offer timeline is earlier than the CS Department's CA application timeline.
    • To learn more about the ACE Program and how the responsibilities of these specialized CA positions may differ, please visit the ACE website.

Research Assistants (RAs)

Research Assistants work on research projects under the supervision of a faculty member. RA positions are arranged with the individual faculty member.

  • Enrollment requirement. RA's must enroll in 8-10 units in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters. Exceptions are made for students in their final quarter who need fewer than 8 units to graduate, and who have an approved Part Time Enrollment request on file.
  • Summer RA funding & enrollment. Some RA's may receive 90% level support during summer quarters from their advisor. In this instance, the tuition is covered for 3 units and salary offered is higher in exchange of 36 hours of work per week. This is only allowed in summer quarter and is at the discretion of the advisors.
Department of Computer Science

Current CA Guide

If you've accepted a CA position, please refer to our current CA guide and the offer letter you've received from us, as they are the best resources in ensuring you are all set before starting your CAship.

Learn More
Department of Computer Science

Current RA Guide

If you've accepted a RA position, please refer to our Current RA guide and the offer letter you received from us, as they are the best resources in ensuring you are all set before starting your RAship.

Learn More