Graduate assistantships provide graduate students with the opportunity to improve their skills in teaching and/or research and to offer practical experience while pursuing a graduate degree.

Assistantships are awarded competitively and offer remission of all tuition and fees (except graduation fee) plus a stipend. In return, graduate/athletic assistants are ordinarily expected to work for a department or team 20 hours weekly for a full-time position or 10 hours weekly for a part-time position conducting research, teaching, or work related to the department/team. The term of the assistantship is one year and is normally renewed for a second year upon satisfactory performance, with the potential for a third year in certain programs.

The Application Process

Application
After reviewing the available graduate assistant positions and job descriptions, an applicant will submit an online application and upload a statement of purpose and a resume for each position for which they are eligible to apply. An online application cannot be submitted until the statement of purpose and resume are uploaded.

A letter of recommendation cover sheet (Boler applicants, click here for cover sheet) is downloaded from the application and sent to each recommender who should return it along with a letter of recommendation to the appropriate office. It is imperative that by the March 1st deadline the applicant has also fully completed the application to a graduate studies program. This means that all application material must be received by March 1st including official transcripts and test scores, if applicable.

Selection
Shortly after March 1st, all complete graduate assistantship applications will be forwarded to each department or office with available positions–if the applicant’s program application is also complete. Individual departments will review applications and recommend graduate assistants for available positions. Interviews are normally conducted as part of the selection process.

Notification
Selected graduate assistants will be notified by the department. All other applicants will receive a letter from the Office of Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences or the Boler School of Business in early April.

Agreement
When an offer for a graduate assistantship is made, a recommendation for appointment is submitted to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Upon approval of the appointment, a contract will be offered by the Office of the Academic Vice President. The student must sign and return the contract to complete the appointment process.

Tips for Graduate Students Seeking Assistantships
Graduate Assistantships are meant to provide graduate students with opportunities to improve their skills in teaching and/or research and to offer practical experience while pursuing a graduate degree. Graduate students seeking assistantships should present themselves in the most favorable light and approach the process in the same way as applying for a job.

  • Know what each department does before applying for an assistantship. Check the department’s website and make sure you have the necessary skills to contribute to the department.
  • Read the job description carefully, keeping in mind the fit between your knowledge, skills, and abilities, and the desired qualifications of the position.
  • Customize the application materials in a way that communicates a good fit for the position.
  • Letters of recommendation should address your ability to fulfill the job requirements in addition to your academic abilities.
  • The contents of your application will determine whether or not you are invited for an interview.

Your statement of purpose and resume should answer the following questions:

  • How do your interests, values, and skills fit the department’s mission, values, and needs?
  • How does your experience fit the content knowledge required for the position?
  • What strengths would help you to succeed in this position?
  • How does this position fit with your professional goals and objectives?

Please review the list of FAQs for more information.