Graduate Assistantships

To find out what financial aid might be available to you, contact the Student Financial Aid Office. Many graduate programs offer competitive graduate assistantships which fall into three categories of professional duties: research, teaching, or administrative. These competitive awards typically provide compensation in the form of a full or partial tuition scholarship in addition to a monthly stipend for up to 20 hours of work per week. Students should inquire with their academic programs to investigate the graduate assistant policies and the process of application with their individual program. However, other available assistantships are often posted at the following link: Current Graduate Assistantship Positions Available.


What is a graduate assistantship?

Graduate assistantships provide students with valuable professional experience that is related to their academic field, giving the student both applied experience and financial support. While the assistantship is a vital experience to many students’ academic careers, the duties associated with the assistantship should not interfere unduly with the student’s academic studies. Rather, it should complement and enhance the students' intellectual growth and professional goals. Graduate assistantships are considered a form of financial support to assist students complete graduate school, and therefore may come in the form of both tuition scholarship and/or stipend.

A graduate student may receive full or partial tuition scholarship, which is applied toward the cost of tuition. Scholarship funds cannot be utilized toward other extra fees associated with attending the university or participating in campus program events. A student who receives a tuition scholarship only (no stipend) does not have a service/work commitment to the university.

A stipend is a fixed sum of money that is calculated on the number of hours worked per week. (The majority of graduate assistants with stipends work either 10 or 20 hours per week.) It is paid on a biweekly basis and is subject to applicable state, federal and local taxes. Stipend amounts vary by discipline and program, as well as by type of assistantship.As a result, prospective students should check with their program of interest for their stipend formulas.

Total hours worked per week during any time of the year, whether or not school is in session, may NOT exceed 28 hours per week (for ALL jobs combined).

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Total hours worked per week may NOT exceed 20 hours when classes are in session; (i.e., during fall and spring) semesters. During designated periods – such as between fall and spring semesters and during summer sessions, students may NOT exceed 28 hours per week (for ALL jobs combined).

For student employment purposes, the work week is defined as 12:01 a.m. Sunday to 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

What is the time commitment of a graduate assistant?

A full-time assistantship appointment is for a maximum of 50% time (approximately 20 hours of work per week); however, some students are awarded half-time assistantship appointments or 25% time (approximately 10 hours of work per week). Some departments vary their assistantship hours based on the full-time stipend formula. The remainder of a student's time should be spent in making progress toward degree completion. Note: international students may not work more than 20 hours per week.

Who is eligible for an assistantship?

University-funded assistantships may be awarded, competitively, to those students who have been admitted to a graduate program and who are academically eligible. In order to maintain eligibility for a graduate assistantship, a student must be currently enrolled in classes in a specific degree program. Interested students must inquire with their program of interest and complete that program’s necessary application materials.

What types of graduate assistantships are there?

The majority of programs have available administrative, research, and teaching assistantships.

Housing Associate (HA)

Housing Associates are live-in staff members for the Office of Residence Life who assist in the daily operation of an undergraduate residence hall. Specific duties include but are not limited to: the hiring, supervising, advising, training, and evaluating of Resident Advisor (RA) staff.  They also co-supervise the Student Desk Manager.  Housing Associates are generally responsible for developing a well-rounded community within the residence facility focused on academic success, safety and security, inclusivity, personal growth, and engagement.  Within this position, they counsel students and respond to crisis situations that may occur in the residence hall; conduct meetings with students who have violated the Code of Student Conduct; and assign sanction or refer to the university-level conduct system. This position description is limited to students in the College Student Personnel program.

Research Assistantship (RA)

Research Assistants (RA) perform basic and applied research that is related to the student’s field of study (e.g., dissertation topic). Some portion of the hours spent on research is attributable as university work, but those research responsibilities are related to their academic program. The basic and applied research responsibilities performed are under the direct supervision of and collaboration with faculty or basic and applied research professionals. Depending on the discipline or field, the research experience could take place in: laboratories; field based settings; clinical locations; or other academic environments necessary to the basic and applied research methodology. Duties vary by discipline and program, but generally include: experimentation; interactions with participants; data collection, entry and analysis; literature searches; manuscript assistance; attendance at conferences to present results; and training and supervising less experienced research personnel.

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

Teaching Assistants are assigned to one or more faculty to assist them with instructional responsibilities for a course that is related to their field of study. The faculty for whom they are assisting take on a supervisory role. Teaching Assistant responsibilities vary by discipline and program, but normally include one or all of the following: grading assignments and examinations; administering/proctoring tests or exams; maintaining the online class management system (e.g., Canvas); and collecting and organizing class records and data.  

Teaching Associate (TI)

The primary responsibility of a Teaching Associate is that of an instructor (thus the “I” in TI). The form of instruction may include any of the following:  the sole instructor of record for a section of a class; leader of discussion or recitation section of a course; or supervisor of instruction and tutoring in a lab. Without these individuals, the course, discussion group, or lab could not function. While Teaching Associates are supervised by a faculty member or academic administrator, their primary responsibility is to carry out their own teaching, guidance, and tutoring with students and not assist faculty with their teaching.  Teaching assignments must be in or closely aligned with the TI’s field of study.

Administrative Assistantship (AA)

Administrative Assistants work with the administrative staff of a department/school, college or university office (including centers and institutes) to assist in the administration and operation of the university.  Responsibilities vary widely; however, in order to be classified as an Administrative Assistant, a subcategory of Graduate Assistants, the appointment must focus on responsibilities directly related to the student’s field of study.  AAs will work under the supervision of faculty, staff, or university administrators in the performance of a variety of responsibilities which include: providing leadership to student or staff groups or organizations; gathering, organizing, and analyzing information; maintaining and managing organizational data; implementing and evaluating programs; leading program efforts; and giving formal presentations. While providing assistance to faculty or administrators in daily operations activities may be a portion of this position, the primary focus of an AA position may not be lower skill-based clerical support.  

International Teaching Assistant Language Policy

Get information pertaining to the Oral Proficiency For Graduate Assistants/Fellows Who Provide Classroom-Related Services and Whose Native Language is Not English.

Graduate programs with graduate assistantships available:

Go to the Graduate Degree Programs page and click on the program name to investigate as to whether they offer graduate assistantships. For each program, contact that program’s graduate coordinator to discuss the availability of graduate assistantships and their application process.

Background Checks:

Every prospective graduate assistant (AA, RA,TA or TI) must first have a background check completed prior to finalizing a graduate assistant contract. Click here for Background Check information.