There are newer employer reviews for University of California Berkeley

Being a GSI (Grad Student Instructor) = zero loans!

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Contractor - Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in Berkeley, CA
Former Contractor - Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) in Berkeley, CA

I worked at University of California Berkeley as a contractor (more than a year)

Pros

1) I like teaching, and this was interesting and challenging work.

2) My financial aid package from UCB included 2 years as a GSI - which reduced my tuition considerably. Together with a $9,000 scholarship, I was able to complete my MA degree without taking out any loans.

Cons

1) Study-work balance is tough, particularly if it's your first time teaching. I often felt like I was putting more work into my teaching than into my grad studies.

2) Outside of the sciences and MBA school, grad students are largely left to themselves to find GSI work. I was given a GSI position my first semester for the Intro class in my department (Latin American Studies), however I needed to find one myself for all the other semesters. And since my department was very small, I ended up as a GSI for other departments. (That wasn't bad, actually; I enjoyed working for the others ... it was just stressful to renew my GSI applications and search for positions at the beginning of every semester.)

3) The fin aid packages are highly individualized, and many are geared towards STEM majors. I was there from 2007 - 2009. Public universities across the country - including the UC system - are increasing tuition, reducing scholarships, and generally making it harder for people to afford higher education. Although I was lucky, most of my grad school cohort (fellow students) were stuck with huge bills.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Advise grad students with how to manage their teaching load alongside their studies, and assist them with finding GSI-ships.

Most importantly: MAKE TUITION AFFORDABLE. Offer more scholarships and pathways for people to afford higher education.

Recommends
No opinion of CEO
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  1. your experience will depend on your PI

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    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Berkeley, CA

    I have been working at University of California Berkeley full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    a very open-minded place in a great location

    Cons

    steep hills everywhere
    lack of office and lab space

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    help postdocs move to industry positions more

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. Great opportunities for student employment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Assistant - IT Helpdesk in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Program Assistant - IT Helpdesk in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at University of California Berkeley part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Hourly pay above minimum wage. Opportunities for growth, even for part-time and student status. Full-time work available in summers and after graduation. Staff, grad students, and professors are mostly respectful. Get to do rewarding work in various facets.

    Cons

    Some politics depending department. Budget cuts means possible inconsistent hours and changes to programs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep being supportive.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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