Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Student Assistantships are a form of student employment which includes compensation in the form of a stipend, tuition, and lab/course fees. Assistantship recipients perform research, teaching, or administrative services for the University as part of a student’s academic and professional training and development. Assistantships provide graduate students with experiences that strengthen and enhance their education and contribute directly to their thesis, dissertation, or report.

Three types of assistantships are offered:

  • Teaching Assistantships involve working to assist faculty with teaching (GTA) or being fully responsible for teaching a course (GTI).
  • Research Assistantships involve working to support research on a specific externally funded grant or contract (GRA) or an internally funded project (GA).
  • Administrative Assistantships involve administrative work and are externally funded in support of a project or grant (GADE) or internally funded (GADI).

Assistantships are available only to full-time, degree-seeking students. For more information on a specific type of assistantship please refer to the Policies and Procedures for Assistantships page.

Applying for an Assistantship

All applicants to the Graduate School are automatically considered for graduate assistantship opportunities. Your application for the program also acts as your application for financial consideration. Funding is typically reserved for PhD applicants, although not guaranteed. Master's level applicants are rarely awarded assistantships.

If you have additional questions about the availability of funding, please contact your Graduate Program Director and/or a faculty member within your program.

Availability of Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are typically awarded by a student’s academic department. The availability of assistantships varies by department and by semester.

Positions associated with research grants are available in some programs and research centers. For more information, students should speak with their Graduate Program Director or advisor.

Receiving an Assistantship

Assistantship recipients will receive an offer letter as soon as decisions are made. Awards for the upcoming academic year are typically decided in March or April, although this may vary by program.

Appointment Types and Compensation

Students on full assistantship appointments are expected to work half-time (20 hours/week). Programs may offer less than a full appointment, resulting in three-quarter, one-half, or one-quarter assistantship appointments. All assistantship recipients are full-time students who perform their duties in concurrence with work appropriate for at least nine credits of coursework or research activities. As such, a student’s workload, including teaching preparation and grading, should not exceed the level of their appointment in order to better ensure their success as a graduate student and as a graduate assistant.

The amount of a student’s tuition support and stipend depends on the level of their appointment. A full-time appointee will receive full tuition support and a stipend of at least the Minimum Stipend Rate. Tuition support and stipend rates will be adjusted proportionally to the level of a student’s appointment, as shown in the table below.

Minimum Stipend Rates are set each academic year and are dependent on a student’s degree type and previous academic accomplishments. Students on assistantships are paid bi-weekly.

Assistantship Appointment Stipend Support Work Expectation (hrs/week)* Percentage of Tuition Supported**
Full Full 20 100
3/4 3/4 15 75
1/2 1/2 10 50
1/4 1/4 5 25

*Since all students on an assistantship are also enrolled full-time, students are expected to spend additional time on work appropriate for nine credits of coursework or research activities.

**The maximum amount of tuition support for an assistantship is determined by the specific graduate program.


NOTE: Full-time enrollment during the summer semester is defined as 1 credit. A portion of a credit cannot be paid (75, 50, 25) therefore, summer support covers full-time tuition (1 credit) regardless of Assistantship Appointment.

Tuition Caps

The tuition cap is the maximum a department will allocate for tuition and lab/course fees for a supported student on an assistantship per semester. Full-time status is granted to students who are enrolled in at least nine credits of coursework and/or research activities in one semester. Although it is possible for a student to enroll in more than nine credits in a semester, most departments will not pay for more than nine credits per student in order to maximize the number of students they are able to support in one semester. Support will pay 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the student's home department tuition cap (tuition and course/lab fees).

Supported students who enroll in more credits than their department’s tuition cap will support are responsible for paying the tuition associated with those extra credits. Please refer to Tuition Caps to determine the maximum number of credits supported by each department.