Graduate Assistantships

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

Become a GA

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.

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. Graduate Research Assistants are selected by the faculty research supervisor with the concurrence of the student's major department chairperson. Graduate Service Assistants are selected by the administrator of the service unit.

We recommend contacting the department with specific questions about availability, deadlines and other questions.


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.

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.

Yes, several factors must be met before an appointment can be received:

  • Must have received a bachelor's degree and have been granted admission to the School of Graduate Studies
  • Only degree students in Approved and Qualified Status may hold awards, appointments or tuition waivers. Paperwork for students in provisional status will not be processed until their status is changed.
  • Assistants may not exceed 100% in both school and work (half-time appointment, half-time coursework)
  • Students must maintain the credit load requirements defined in the appointment letter
  • Students must maintain a 3.00 GPA to retain award or appointment
  • A student must maintain satisfactory job performance or could be subject to removal or termination
  • Students in good academic standing (i.e., a GPA of 3.00 or higher; 2.75 for Master of Engineering candidates) and who are performing their assigned duties satisfactorily are eligible for reappointment.
  • 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.

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.

The first place to check is your own graduate department. In addition, there are other places one can look in order to find assistantship opportunities.

  • GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistantships) 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) 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) 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.

Yes, International Graduate Assistants who are non-native speakers of English are required to take the TSE (Test of Spoken English) and achieve a score of 50 before an assistantship may be offered if either lecture or laboratory assistance is involved. Students who have taken the Internet based Toefl test and achieved a spoken score of 26/30 are eligible for assistantships. If the appointee has not taken the TSE or iBToefl, he/she must take the SPEAK test (offered at UND) and achieve a score of 50. For further information on the SPEAK test, contact the Counseling Center at (701) 777-4157.

Benefits of Graduate Assistants include:

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.

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 first by the student's academic department and second by the School of Graduate Studies policy with final approval by the School of Graduate Studies Dean.
Your first resource for answering questions about Graduate Assistantships should be the Graduate Assistant Handbook. For any other questions, contact the School of Graduate Studies at