Policies and Procedures for Assistantships

Assistantship Types

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.
  • Appointments are usually for two semesters of the academic year.
  • International GTAs and GTIs must take the language assessment before beginning a GTA or GTI assignment. Students who have earned a post-secondary degree in the United States or students from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand are exempt from this requirement.

Research Assistantships (GRA, GA)

  • Research assistantships are awarded by the professor/program supervising the research activity.
    • and are usually associated with a specific research grant, contract, or internally supported research project
  • Appointments are usually for the academic year, but frequently includes the summer session.
  • Time devoted to the research activity is expected to exceed the stated work expectations in cases where the research is related to the student’s thesis or dissertation,
    • the additional time is 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 webpage design.
  • Coding indicates external support (GADE) or internal support (GADI).

Appointment Details

Full-Time to Quarter-Time Appointment

  • Students on full assistantship appointments are expected to work 20 hours per week on activities related to their assistantship. Because all students on assistantships are also enrolled full-time, students are expected to spend additional time on work appropriate for nine credits of coursework and/or research activities. 
    • 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.
  • Graduate Student Assistantships are a form of student employment which includes compensation in the form of a stipend, tuition, and lab/course fees. 
  • 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.
  • Pay information: Minimum Stipend Levels are set each academic year.
    • 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.

Enrollment Requirement

  • All supported students (including partially supported students) must be enrolled full-time.
  • Students 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, and any remaining balance of the tuition and fee charges if partially supported.
  • The credits required for full-time status may include research credits, graduate, audited, PE, ESL and undergraduate courses.

Benefits Associated With an Assistantship

Additional Employment

  • 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.
  • Students 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.

Contract Termination

A termination of support memo must be sent to the Graduate School (gradschool@mtu.edu) detailing the reason for the request. Mid-contract termination requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis and can only be approved by the Graduate School.