Academic Appointments

Three types of academic appointments are available to graduate students in the Department.


Graduate Student Instructor (GSI). GSI openings for the Fall semester are announced in April, and for the Spring semester in October. The application deadline is usually two weeks later. Fall appointment offers are generally made in May, and the Spring semester offers in November.  The hiring process is initiated with the department’s HR partner in UC Path immediately after students accept their offers. The standard hiring deadline is on or before the start of your appointment. For Fall appointments this will be on or before August 1st, and for Spring appointments, on or before January 1st.  
Unless by exception, priority for GSI positions go to 1st-5th year Psychology grads and those without fellowships or existing appointments. 


A student without any post-baccalaureate teaching experience begins at pay level Step I. After four semesters of GSI experience, the student may be eligible for advancement to Step II. After two semesters of GSI experience at Step II, the student may be eligible for advancement to Step III. Note: A GSI appointment for any Summer Session is not included in determination of the step.


Circumstances that require requests for exception to be approved by a Dean of the Graduate Division include the following: 1) holding concurrent appointments totaling more than 75% in any semester; 2) serving as a GSI for a 200- or 300-level course; 3) serving as a GSI for more than ten semesters. (Office of the President policy prohibits a graduate student from being a GSI for more than 14 semesters).


In order to promote equity among GSI placement, psychology graduate students applying for a GSI position must apply to a minimum of four positions (five, if applying to the PSYCH 1 ONLINE position). Please note: the PSYCH 1 ONLINE position is reserved first for GSIs with infants, or who are expecting. 

All first time GSIs should refer to the GSI Teaching and Resource Center in order to complete Berkeley campus' first time teaching requirements before the start of their appointment (though no later than the end of the semester during which they hold the GSI assignment). Psychology 375 should be taken to satisfy the pedagogy requirement; This course is only offered in the fall semester. However if a student is unable to take the psychology pedagogy course, they may choose an alternative department's pedagogy from this pre-approved list to satisfy the requirement. 

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR). A student may have the opportunity to be a Graduate Student Researcher under the supervision of a faculty member or principal investigator. A GSR appointment is arranged between the student and faculty member or principal investigator. The student must inform the Graduate Student Services Advisor each term, including summer, that the student holds a GSR appointment and provide information about the hiring unit, period of the appointment, the percent time, and the step. 


Important note about GSR appointments: UC Berkeley has set aside funds to provide work-study for graduate students. These funds can be used to offset costs associated with employing graduate students as Graduate Student Researchers or department employees for certain fellowships. To take advantage of these funds, all Psychology graduate students who are US citizens and permanent residents must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), found at  It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the first time and in future academic years should take approximately 10 minutes.  Be sure to check "yes" on interest in being work study eligible and inform your advisor that you are eligible for work-study funds.


Reader. A graduate student may be a reader for an undergraduate Psychology course or, in some instances a graduate Psychology course. The general responsibilities of a reader are to read and grade assignments, examinations, and papers. Logistics are determined with the instructor of the course. Reader positions are advertised by the Graduate Student Services Advisor when available. Readers are hired on an hourly basis for a specific number of hours.


Fee Remission. Each semester that a student has one of the above appointments, the student may be eligible for a fee remission. The type of fee remission depends on the type of appointment and its percent-time. The three types of fee remission are: 1) full fee remission plus non-resident tuition; 2) full fee remission; and 3) partial fee remission. Students with a GSR appointment of 45%-time or greater are generally eligible for full fee remission. Students are eligible for a partial fee remission if they have one of the following appointments: a) a GSR appointment of 25%-time or greater and less than 45%-time, b) a GSI appointment of 25%-time or greater, or c) a reader appointment of 25%-time or greater. 


The partial fee remission includes remission of all in-state tuition and fees except the Student Services Fee and the Class Pass Fee. Note: Typically, the fee remission for a GSR appointment of at least 45%-time appointment is paid from the grant of a faculty member or principal investigator, and most often does not include remission of non-resident tuition.


Refer to Graduate Division's website for additional GSI, GSR and Reader information: Graduate Student Academic Appointments


Union Representation. Graduate Student Instructors and Readers are Academic Student Employees (ASE) and are represented by UAW Local 2865. Graduate Student Researchers are not covered by collective bargaining.