Assistantship Opportunities

General Assistantship Information

Teaching Assignments/Workload

Students in the Rhetoric & Writing doctoral program are expected to contribute 20 hours per week toward their assistantship obligations. During the first, second, and third years, this is equivalent to a 1-1 course load, with one course taught each semester (fall and spring). During the fourth year, this is increased to a 2-1 course load, with one semester teaching 1 course and the other semester teaching 2 courses. These assignments may be impacted by other non-teaching assistantship opportunities, such as administrative opportunities through UWP or the English Department.


Different assistantship opportunities do not change the yearly stipend that a student receives. This is because each assignment expects the same weekly contribution: 20 hours. Sometimes, a new DocuSign will be initiated when assistantships change due to a change in supervisor, but this is not indicative of an adjusted pay rate.

The yearly stipend is distributed over the course of the academic calendar year. Only when assistantship opportunities are awarded to a student over the summer are additional, smaller stipends awarded.

Assignments outside of Rhetoric/UWP

Graduate students at BGSU are allowed to work up to 28 hours per week on campus. Typically, 20 of these hours are designated to the teaching/administrative assistantships awarded to students through the English Department. Sometimes, students will pick up an additional 8 hours of work through other locations on campus, including but not limited to, The Learning Commons at the Jerome Library; serving as a Graduate Student Ambassador; or serving as a web-designer for the English Department. 

These positions are offered depending on the availability of funding. Position announcements will typically be sent through email as they become available, with students submitting application materials to the designated representative for each position.

First-Year Students

The first-year includes a 1-1 course load, with an expected weekly contribution of 20 hours per week from students (teaching, grading, class preparation) to fulfill their assistantship obligations. Students in their first year of the program are almost always assigned to teach within the University Writing Program (UWP). 

The courses include WRIT 1110: Introduction to Academic Writing and WRIT 1120: Academic Writing, with WRIT 1110 being taught in the fall and WRIT 1120 being taught in the spring. These courses are taught while first-year students are concurrently enrolled in a fall semester course, ENG 6020: Composition Instructors’ Workshop. This course is always taught by the UWP Director and is co-facilitated by the UWP Program Assistants. These Program Assistants will serve as mentors for first-year students, holding 50-minute weekly group meetings in the fall (in addition to the ENG 6020 course meeting time) and bi-weekly 50-minute meetings in the spring.

Second-Year/Third-Year Students

Second-year students have additional opportunities for assistantships. The second-year also holds a 1-1 course load, with an expected weekly contribution of 20 hours per week from students to fulfill their assistantship obligations. Students can (1) choose to continue teaching within the UWP; (2) they can apply to teach other courses within the English Department; or (3) they can apply to serve as a Program Assistant for the Rhetoric and Writing doctoral program.

Students who choose to continue teaching within the UWP will be assigned WRIT 1110 in the fall and WRIT 1120 in the spring, the same sequence as assigned during the first year - unless other arrangements are made with the UWP Director.

Students who choose to apply to teach other courses within the English Department have a variety of options that can be assigned for 1 or 2 semesters. The curriculum of these courses is designed by the individual doctoral student and often connects with their dissertation research. The syllabi from these courses are also often used within the specialized portfolio and/or as job market materials.

A first opportunity to teach a course outside of UWP is a writing course for students who have already completed WRIT 1120:

  • ENG 2070: Intermediate Writing: Fall, Spring. Work on developing mastery of the rhetorical principles of planning, executing and revising prose. Emphasis on strengthening analytical writing, both expository and argumentative; valuable for writing on the job. Prerequisite: WRIT 1120. Approved for distance education.

Another opportunity is to teach courses that are traditionally taken by undergraduate Education majors who will be certified to teach English Language Arts. Occasionally doctoral students with relevant background and/or research interests teach a section of a course with rhetoric and writing content for those who will teach in middle or secondary schools. These include:

  • ENG 3810: Grammar and Writing: Fall, Spring. Application of grammatical models (traditional, structural and transformational) to the teaching of writing.

  • ENG 4830: Advanced Composition: Fall, Summer. Writing intensive course intended for students who want to develop their writing skills at an advanced level. Focus and subject matter will vary but rhetorical emphasis will guide the writing tasks and approaches. Prerequisite: Writing intensive course at the 2000 level or above in any department. Approved for distance education.

  • ENG 4840: Foundations of Teaching Writing: Fall, Spring. Historical and contemporary traditions that have led to the pedagogy and theories of teaching writing to adolescents. This course offers specific material and practice in writing assessment, writing assignments, developing writing groups, peer assessment and information about process involved in teaching writing to adolescents. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

A final opportunity is to apply to serve as the Program Assistant for the Rhetoric and Writing doctoral program. This position requires 20 hours per week and is awarded to a different graduate student each semester. The position takes the place of teaching within the UWP program for 1 semester. Students will apply for the position the spring prior to the academic year during which they would like to hold the position. Typical responsibilities for the position include website development (including getting BGSU’s CMS training), coordinating and organizing program events (such as Brown Bags and other presentations), maintaining document accessibility, and working closely with the R&W Director on projects as needed.

Any semesters that are not provided with an alternate course or Program Assistant assignment will be provided with a 1-course UWP assignment.

Fourth Year Students

In addition to the teaching and administrative opportunities that are available to second- and third-year students, fourth-year students also have the opportunity to apply for the Research Assistantship. This 1-year assistantship is available to three students. Research Assistantships allow students in their final year of assistantship funding to devote full-time energies to completing their research, as well as conducting a substantial academic job search. Each spring, the Rhetoric & Writing Program Director distributes applications to all third-year Rhetoric & Writing Studies students. 

Students who are awarded a Research Assistantship are not required to teach or complete any other assistantship opportunities throughout the year.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I learn about opportunities outside of teaching UWP courses?

Positions outside of teaching WRIT 1110 and WRIT 1120 are advertised through email to all eligible program members. Typically, these emails are distributed the academic year prior to when the position is scheduled to begin, often the spring semester before the upcoming academic year. Emails will be sent from different individuals, depending on the supervisor of the position. You are always welcome to inquire about opportunities with the program director and/or Graduate Coordinator.

How do I apply for other teaching or administrative opportunities?

After you have received notice of an open position, you will need to follow the instructions within the email. Often times, positions will require the submission of a letter of interest and a current CV. Many times, candidates will be asked to complete a follow-up with an interview with the position supervisor.

Does my stipend change for different assistantship opportunities?

No. Each assistantship opportunity receives the same stipend amount through the Rhetoric & Writing Studies program.

Can I work additional hours beyond teaching UWP or another English course?

Yes. As per the BGSU policy, graduate students are allowed to work up to 28 hours per week. This typically means that students can work an extra 8 hours on top of their 20 hours per week assistantship. Pay for this work is dependent upon the department supplying the position.

What about summer funding?

Summer assistantship opportunities are provided as funding becomes available. Typical summer assistantship options include Placement Essay Readers and Research Assistants. Stipends for these positions vary and information will be made available during the spring prior to the summer semester. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour during the summer in order to be eligible for summer assistantship funding opportunities.

Updated: 03/31/2020 05:11PM