Each BAD grad student is required to teach for at least two semesters before graduating, usually starting in the first semester of the first year. All first-semester GSIs are also required to take Astro 300, the introductory astro teaching course (see below). Exceptional GSI awards are awarded by the department every year (see below).

An important resource for GSIs is the Electronic Big Red Binder. Reuse and modification of any and all of the materials in these resources is highly encouraged!

The University has a site, gsi.berkeley.edu, for all of your GSI-related needs.

Astronomy 300

Astronomy 375 is a required course for entering first-year students and other first-time GSIs on instructional techniques. It helps provide students with advice about teaching (with a focus on leading section for introductory astronomy, but also discussing lecturing and assisting with more advanced classes), and provides a forum for discussing and planning upcoming sections. Taught every fall by two senior graduate students in the department.


There are two awards for graduate student teachers: The outstanding GSI award and the teaching effectiveness award. If you win one, you'll be mentioned at the last colloquium of the year and again at graduation. So, if you win one of these awards, go to graduation, even if you're not graduating, and you'll get to go on stage.

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