All first-year graduate students in the PhD program spend their first year on a non-teaching fellowship that offers the opportunity to become acclimated to graduate study without the pressure of learning to teach. 

Graduate students begin their teaching assistantships by teaching a section of Seminar in Composition, the introductory composition course required of all undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences. During this initial year of teaching, TAs work from a common syllabus and sequence of assignments, while taking the Seminar in Pedagogy and participating in a series of colloquia and class observations organized by faculty and graduate-student mentors. In their second year of teaching, TAs may propose their own syllabus and sequence of assignments for Seminar in Composition.

After their second year of teaching, TAs have the opportunity to teach a wide range of courses in composition, literature, film, or creative writing. They may also choose to tutor in the Writing Center in place of teaching a course; to serve as a mentor for first-year TAs; or to serve in an administrative capacity as an assistant to the Composition Program.