I am a non-native speaker and writing my cv. In my subject (mathematics), there are small exercise groups where you have to grade the students' homework and discuss it with them; some are hold by students; some by PhD students or postdocs.

What are the correct terms if you have done the following things:

  1. You are a (PhD) student student holding the exercise group, grading homework, but nothing more.
  2. You are the one who is in charge of organization, i.e., you design questions for homework and the exam, you make announcements, moderate the meeting of those people having an exercise group (see 1), but you don't have an own exercise group.
  3. Same as 2, but you have an own exercise group.
  4. The course is so small that there is only one exercise group. You are holding this group and are in charge of the organization.

Thank you very much!

  • Before you started the job, your department should have issued an offer letter to you. What did the letter say? TA? Or something else?
    – Nobody
    Apr 1, 2014 at 10:07
  • 1
    @scaaahu It's in Germany. When I was a student and did number 1, it says "wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft" (=scientific assistant student - but people making coffee also called that way); at the moment I'm doing 2-4, but my contract only says "wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter" (=scientific employee). Apr 1, 2014 at 10:27
  • We call doctorands "Betreuer" in any case, as long as they do the management part. They may be "Übungsleiter", too, or others may have that job. I use "TA" for "Übungsleiter" and "course organiser" or "_ manager" for "Betreuer", but I have not idea whether that's standard.
    – Raphael
    Apr 1, 2014 at 14:15

3 Answers 3


First to answer your titular question:

What is a TA called when he/she is in charge of organization?

Such a position does (in theory) not exist, as a TA as by definition supposed to "assist" somebody else and not run the show on her/his own (I am aware that this is not how it sometimes works in practice).

Generally, you need to keep in mind that title and scope of academic positions, especially regarding teaching, are quite different between US and Germany, so you will likely not be able to do an accurate 1-to-1 mapping. I would write "Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter" in the CV and explain what you actually did. Translating it to english is prone to confusion.

If you write TA, people will underestimate your responsibility in the course, if you write something like lecturer, people may infer that you already had a faculty position and will be confused by the perceived mismatch with the rest of your CV.


In my program, such a person might be called 'head TA'.

Personally, in versions of my CV where I've wanted to highlight teaching experience, I write Teaching Assistant followed by the responsibilities in italics. I have also done this for classes that I've taught (listed my particular responsibilities while teaching), since the amount of responsibility one has while teaching can vary widely - I've also listed class sizes, since that might be pertinent information for whoever is reading it. (My more research-focused CVs just contain lists of courses I've been a TA/instructor for, with no greater detail than that.)


I think any of the duties you mention are consistent with being a teaching assistant.

Regardless, your CV should list your official job title as it appears on your contract. But it's a good idea to add another line or two explaining your duties in more detail. You could also list the classes you taught.

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