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Learning Assistant Program

Cal Poly Learning Assistant Program in Chemistry

Applications for Fall 2024 are due April 17 

Note that both the written application and attending an informational meeting must be completed by this date.

An information session (required for new applicants) will be held at 11:10am on April 17 via Zoom at

If you are unable to attend a live meeting, you must email for access to the meeting recording.

Apply now »

What is a Learning Assistant?

A Learning Assistant (LA) is an upper-division student who helps facilitate general chemistry courses in our courses. An LA is more than just a TA or a grader. Learning Assistants work with faculty to facilitate student discussion and problem solving while they receive training in working with students, and significant experience in teaching in a college classroom.

This experience is particularly useful for students who are considering teaching at any level as a career. In addition, most science graduate students, regardless of career path, will spend some of their graduate career as teaching assistants, and this experience will also be invaluable preparation.

The Cal Poly Chemistry LA Program is modeled in part after the LA program at the University of Colorado.

What does a Learning Assistant do?

  • attends 5.5 hours of CHEM 110, 124, 125, 127, or 128 per week
  • assists the instructor in class with the course activities
  • grade lab reports with the other assistant in your lab (~0.5 hours/week)
  • attends a 2 hour weekly group meeting Mondays 6-8pm with other learning assistants and instructors to discuss course teaching objectives, go over the nuts-and-bolts of the next week's activities, and discuss issues in facilitating student learning

How are Learning Assistants compensated?

If chosen to be a Learning Assistant, you will be paid for attending the studio class and grading at $17.01/hour or about $1200/quarter. You will also receive credit for CHEM 466, an upper-level department elective for attending the seminar. You are eligible for scholarships of up to $500 in addition to your hourly pay.

How do I apply?

Click the button below to apply. Please keep in mind the Chemistry 466 meeting (required for all Learning Assistants) on Mondays from 6-8PM. New Learning Assistants must attend an information meeting by the application deadline (see the top of this page for details).

Please share this opportunity with other students including non-CHEM/BIOCHEM majors who may be interested and qualified (they need to have taken CHEM 127/128/129, CHEM 124/125, or equivalent training).

Apply now »

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Kiste at

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