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.
  • Research assistantships are awarded in cases where the research is related to the student's thesis or dissertation, therefore time devoted to the research activity is expected to exceed the stated work expectations.   
    • 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.


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.

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, 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 additional employment.

Contract Termination

Please see the Graduate School's Termination of Support website for complete instructions and details on how to terminate support. Mid-contract termination requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis and can only be approved by the Graduate School.