The Graduate Assistant (GA) fulfills a unique position in the university because they are both a student and an employee.
Graduate study and effective service as a Graduate Assistant both require extensive commitment. For this reason, limits are placed on the amount of effort (academic credits and teaching/research/service hours) to be spent in each role. Graduate Assistants are normally appointed as half-time assistants, but some may be appointed as quarter-time assistants
Graduate Assistant Jobs
Interested students may apply for a GA appointment to the graduate department to which they have been admitted or to service units, which may be related to their major field.
Applications have deadlines, so check with your department 2-3 months prior to the beginning of the semester.
We recommend contacting the department with specific questions about availability, deadlines and other questions.
Benefits of Graduate Assistantships
- GA's are covered by Worker's Compensation.
- Half-time GA's are eligible to obtain faculty parking privileges.
- Half-time GA's may also be assigned priority for student housing, subject to its availability.
- GA's are exempt from Social Security participation and are not eligible to participate in the university retirement plans.
GA Eligibility Requirements
Several factors must be met before an appointment can be received. Students must:
- Have received a bachelor's degree and have been granted admission to the School of Graduate Studies.
- Have a Speaking subtest score of 26/30 on the TOEFL for Graduate Teaching Assistantships (see details below).
- Maintain the credit load requirements defined in the appointment letter.
- Maintain a 3.00 GPA to retain award or appointment.
- Maintain satisfactory job performance or could be subject to removal or termination.
Students who withdraw from or are dismissed from the School of Graduate Studies become immediately ineligible for and may not continue to hold an appointment or award.
GTA English Language Requirements
Graduate Teaching Assistants must be proficient English language communicators. The roles and responsibilities of students that are hired into a graduate teaching assistant position are varied, and depend on the unit's specific needs. The English language proficiency requirements vary based on these roles. Positions will fall into one of two categories - GTA General or Primarily Instruction or GTA Primarily Grading.
Students in a GTA General or Primarily Instruction role have the greatest responsibilities in their positions. An instructor's role is to teach regularly either a full semester lecture or laboratory course and/or lead discussions in sessions associated with existing courses. A general GTA role may vary vastly, but is any role that is not primarily instruction or primarily grading. Students in a GTA General or Primarily Instruction role must
- Be comfortable working with students using the English language. This necessitates
a score of at least:
- 26 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT exam;
- 6.5 on the IELTS exam; or
- 120 on the Duolingo exam
Students in a GTA Primarily Grading role will have limited expectation to work directly with students and are given tasks to primarily assess student work. These students do not teach in the classroom, although they may have conversations with students on occasion. These students must
- Be moderately comfortable communicating with students using the English language.
This necessitates a score of at least:
- 20 on the speaking portion of the TOEFT iBT exam;
- 6.0 on the IELTS exam; or
- 110 on the Duolingo exam
Types of GA Positions
GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistantships)
Graduate Teaching Assistants are selected by the department in which the student is pursuing his/her major field of study and in which the teaching assistant duties are to be performed. GTA appointments are initiated by the major department chairperson and require the approval of the Dean of the college/school in which the instruction occurs and of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
GRA (Graduate Research Assistantships)
Graduate Research Assistants are selected by the faculty research supervisor with the concurrence of the student's major department chairperson. GRA appointments are initiated by the research supervisor and require the approval of the major department chairperson and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
GSA (Graduate Service Assistantships)
Graduate Service Assistants are selected by the administrator of the service unit. GSA appointments are initiated by the service unit administrator (i.e., the School of Graduate Studies, Memorial Union, etc.) and require the approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
GA Appointment Hours
Graduate appointments are not to exceed 100%. For example, a 50% (half-time) graduate appointment is no more than 20 hours a week with coursework occupying the other 50%. A 1/4 (quarter-time) graduate appointment is 25% employment (about 8-10 hours a week) and 75% coursework.
Students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week on campus, although small exceptions (e.g., 4 hours one week for non-reoccurring projects) may be granted by obtaining permission of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
FAQs about Graduate Assistantships
Yes, but the School of Graduate Studies does not encourage outside employment for Graduate Assistants. Such employment may limit the ability of the student to make satisfactory progress toward one's degree.
Formal appointment of all GA's is by virtue of a university contract issued by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The student must sign to accept the contract. If a student receives an assistantship and a waiver both must be signed for before any paperwork will be processed.
Yes, International Graduate Assistants who are non-native speakers of English are required to have met certain scores for English language proficiency. The student must have earned at least a 76 overall with at least a 26 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL or a 6.5 overall on the IELTS.
No, Graduate Tuition Waivers may be assigned with or without a Graduate Assistantship. The amount of tuition waived will appear as a credit on the student's CampusConnection account. This is not a payment to the account but a waiver of tuition charges. Tuition Waiver eligibility is determined by the academic department and college.