I am new to this job search thing, and I keep seeing the teaching load description along with something called "preps," what is this?

For reference, I am a Ph.D. student in mathematics in the U.S. looking for mostly teaching positions.

1 Answer 1


A "prep" is an individual different course you are teaching. If you are teaching 2 different sections of the same course the same semester, that counts as only 1 "prep" but counts twice towards your "teaching load".

Given not-too-large class sizes, teaching 4 courses with only 2 preps might be less work than teaching 3 courses with 3 preps, since presumably you don't have to prepare twice to teach the same class twice.

  • Grading--if you have to do it yourself--scales with the number of students, which generally means with the number of sections so extra section aren't really easy. But they certainly aren't as hard as teaching a distinct course. May 5, 2015 at 2:13
  • Great! Thank you. I couldn't find this defined anywhere, and had a lot of trouble figuring out what it meant from the context.
    – Felix Y.
    May 5, 2015 at 3:07

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