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Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships

Merit-based financial support for Graduate Students is available through graduate research and teaching assistantships, fellowships, and tuition scholarships. Each category of support is awarded annually on a competitive basis. The appointment carries remission of tuition and requires performances by the student of specified duties for fifteen hours each week, including preparation time, during the academic year. Graduate Assistants may hold one of the following titles: teaching assistant, teaching fellow, research assistant, or administrative intern.  Graduate Assistants are appointed for a maximum of one academic year.  

The nine-month period begins August 16th and ends May 15th. The appointment may be for a shorter period.  Second and third year doctoral student may receive two-month summer appointments. All appointments are terminated automatically at the end of the period for which they are effective. Graduate assistants may hold only the equivalent of one “full-time” appointment at a time. 

Students are not expected to hold any other employment during the tenure as graduate assistants.  The responsibilities, often described as an internship, are defined and evaluated by the academic department or the Graduate School depending upon the appointment. The selection / appointment process, eligibility criteria and award package for graduate assistantships, fellowships and tuition scholarships are described below:  

Selection and Appointment

The selection process for graduate assistantships is aggressively pursued between February and June for the subsequent academic year. New and continuing graduate students are encouraged to apply early for these awards with the academic chair or director of graduate studies. The appointment begins on August 15th and ends on May 15th of each academic year. Please note if a funding offer is not presented in writing by June 15 from the academic department or the Graduate School, the likelihood of obtaining one of these awards is greatly diminished.  After June 15th, new and continuing students are encouraged to seek external or need-based financial support for the upcoming academic year.  


To be eligible for appointment as a graduate assistant, the student must:  

  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular degree-seeking student in the Graduate School ;
  • Have full-time status during the period of the assistantship. The student must either be registered for a minimum of nine (9) semester hours of course work or be working full- time on thesis or dissertation, or completing a project for non-thesis option;
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 for all graduate study or, if enrolled in Graduate School for the first time, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in the undergraduate major;
  • Have satisfied all incomplete grades at the time of his/her appointment (thesis, dissertation, practice, directed study, independent study, special problems and internship credits excepted);
  • Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written English if the native language is one other than English, show sufficient knowledge of the system of higher education in the United States, have some sensitivity of intercultural communication, and have good interpersonal skills to the satisfaction of the department or unit granting the assistantship.
  • Students who are studying for a master’s degree may hold an assistantship for a maximum of two years.  Those with the master’s degree and studying for the Ph.D. degree may hold the assistantship for a maximum  of four years and those studying for the Ph.D. degree, where the masters is not required, may hold the assistantship for a maximum of five years.

Additionally, students are required to pay their own student fees each semester.  

Award Package

A full fellowship for an academic year is remission of tuition and a $20,000 stipend. Students are responsible for paying fees related to the tuition. Awards  supported by grants and endowed fellowships may be more or less than a Graduate School fellowship.

The award package for graduate assistantships includes a 10-month tuition waiver and a minimum stipend ($10,000 for master’s students and $13,000 for Ph.D. students). In many cases, additional stipend support is available through funded grants. Students may inquire about these opportunities at the time of application submission.    

Stipend Disbursement

Graduate assistants should prepare to receive their stipend disbursement the first payroll date in September.  The last disbursement occurs the final pay cycle in May. Please note, new international graduate students should prepare to receive their first stipend check in mid October due to the process of obtaining a social security number. However, the first stipend amount will be greater to reflect the appointment date.