Three types of assistantships are available: teaching, research, and administrative assistantships. A definition of each is below.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA, GTI)
Teaching assistantships are awarded by the academic department requiring instructional services. GTAs assist faculty members in teaching. GTIs have full responsibility for the course(s) they are assigned to teach. GTA or GTI appointments are usually for two semesters of the academic year. Opportunities for one-semester teaching assignments (including summer) may be available in some departments. International students whose first language is not English must take the SPEAK test before beginning a GTA or GTI assignment. The Center for Teaching and Learning administers the SPEAK test year round.
Research Assistantships (GRA, GA)
Research assistantships, usually associated with a specific research grant, contract, or internally supported research project, are awarded by the professor/program supervising the research activity. The appointment is usually for the academic year, but frequently includes the summer session. For standard support, time devoted to the research activity is expected to total an average of twenty hours per week, though in cases where the research is related to the student’s thesis or dissertation, additional time is expected to meet requirements for research credits in which the student is enrolled. Coding indicates external support (GRA) or internal support (GA).
Administrative Assistantships (GADE, GADI)
Administrative assistantships are awarded by the programs to students who are given administrative duties such as administrative office support, computer support or web page design. Coding indicates external support (GADE) or internal support (GADI).
Full-Time to Quarter-Time Appointment
Regular assistantship appointments are for half-time work (20 hours/week), but programs can divide appointments, resulting in three-quarter, one-half, or one-quarter of regular appointments (with proportional adjustments of the stipend, tuition, and fees as shown in the table below). Students’ work load assignments, including teaching preparation and grading of papers, should not exceed the level of their appointments.
|Assistantship Appointment||Stipend Support||Work Expectation (hrs/week)||Percentage of Tuition Supported*|
|*All students with an assistantship must register for nine credits. The tuition cap of the graduate program determines the maximum amount of tuition support for a regular assistantship. Students on partial support will be funded for a percentage of the tuition cap for their program.|
All supported students must be registered as full-time graduate students. If you are supported at 20 hours per week, your support pays standard full-time tuition plus fees. If you are on partial support, you must still be registered as a full-time student, but only a portion of your tuition and fees will be paid by your support. You are responsible for the remaining balance of the tuition and fee charges. You are responsible for paying for any credits over the tuition cap for the program that you enroll for, as well as for student voted fees. Note that the 9 credits required for full-time status may include research credits, graduate, audited, PE, ESL and undergraduate courses.
Students who are supported by graduate assistantships typically do not accept additional employment. Assistantships are viewed as part-time employment that is provided by the University to allow students to pursue their education on a full-time basis. Students who accept additional employment may find it difficult to make good progress toward their degree. Failure to make good progress may result in a loss of support in the future. A student who wishes to pursue additional employment should consult with their advisor, and should ensure that the additional employment will not impede progress toward their degree. Advisors will typically approve requests in cases in which the student’s education will be enhanced through the additional employment. During the time period when a graduate student is supported by a graduate assistantship, only the dean of the Graduate School can approve a case of mid-contract termination of support.