I am currently a Ph.D. student with a Master's degree. Throughout my time in grad school, I have been an adjunct at a local university. Recently, this university has started a Master's program in my field. However, the department is quite small and those faculty who are able/interested in teaching these classes is even smaller thus, I have been asked if I would like to teach one of the graduate classes for this new program.

My question is whether or not it would be appropriate for me to ask for a pay increase to teach this course. Currently the adjunct pay is determined by a per unit rate depending on level of education (in my case Master's). What I am unsure about is if this rate should change, or if it is common in other institutions for pay to increase when teaching grad level courses.

  • 4
    For me, at least, the prestige of teaching a graduate level class without a Ph.D. (and especially being invited to do so) would far outweigh even a substantial pay increase. Nov 10, 2017 at 17:03
  • @DaveLRenfro I completely agree, which is part of the reason I'm asking here instead of asking for a pay increase outright. I would rather not give them the opportunity to rethink having me teach the course. On the other hand, a pay increase would be nice, so if the answers here indicated that it would be perfectly normal and acceptable to ask for one, then I would probably do so.
    – Charlie H.
    Nov 10, 2017 at 17:18
  • Sure, but it probably won't help. Most institutions have a fairly narrow range of pay for adjuncts, and the chair (or whoever) cannot "go over the top" without enough signatures to start a school of handwriting analysis.
    – Bob Brown
    Nov 10, 2017 at 22:57
  • Also, it greatly matters what country we are talking about here...
    – virmaior
    Nov 11, 2017 at 1:51
  • @DaveLRenfro I am inclined to disagree. I think we academics should stop letting us be paid in recognition, and especially for adjuncts. If the university wants OP to do a course that is more difficult to teach they should pay them more.
    – xLeitix
    Nov 11, 2017 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


There are myriad factors that go into pay rates, but the bottom line with this or any job is your pay should reflect what you bring to the table. Sounds to me like you have a rarified skill that is in demand in this specific instance so yes, absolutely, ask for a pay increase. Politely, sweetly, and prepared to hear "no."

  • 2
    +1, asking for a pay rise is always an option. Rarely whoever is trying to hire you will decide not to hire you because you asked. Worst case scenario is you don't get a pay raise Nov 10, 2017 at 17:21
  • Also, be prepared to say no yourself. As they say in workplace.se: if you are not willing to walk away you are not negotiating, you are begging.
    – xLeitix
    Nov 11, 2017 at 7:19

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