Financing Your Graduate Education

Graduate Assistantships

Apply for an Assistantship

Employment of graduate students as Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Graduate Assistants enables them to pursue their graduate education, strengthens the quality of their educational experience, and helps the University develop the quality of its graduate programs. GTAs, GRAs, and GAs also provide valuable and necessary services to the University. However, because GTAs, GRAs, and GAs are primarily students, their duties should have a direct relationship to their academic program of study.  

GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANTS (GTA) 

A faculty member has the primary responsibility for determining all aspects regarding course content and delivery.   A Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) assists faculty members in the teaching and delivery of course content. This may include grading papers, classroom or laboratory teaching, conducting help sessions, providing academic support services for students, or serving an apprenticeship under the supervision of a faculty member. A Graduate Teaching Assistant may engage in one or more of the following activities: 

  • Set up and lead a laboratory
  • Lead a discussion section
  • Respond to students' questions
  • Assist in grading student work
  • Tutor students
  • Assist with the administration of a course
  • Assist faculty in the development of new material for a course 

A GTA receives a stipend of $8,800/year and a tuition scholarship that provides for full tuition and fees (registration fees, laboratory fees, and any other specific course related fees) in support of the registration of the student not to exceed the number of graduate credit hours required for the student's particular degree program.  

A graduate student must apply for vacant GTA positions no later than March 1.   In all cases, a GTA must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, must be regularly admitted as a graduate student into a graduate degree program, and is selected based on his/her previous teaching experience or his/her academic potential to be an effective instructor in his/her field of training.   

Exceptional graduate students may be offered a GTA position at the time of recruitment.  Departments that choose this option must develop a rubric that will be used to evaluate these GTAs and provide evidence that these individuals possess both the academic knowledge and pedagogical skills required to serve as a GTA. 

All GTA must participate in a GTA workshop prior to the start of the fall semester. The required service commitment of a GTA is 600 hours during the academic year.  

GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTS (GRA) 

A Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) conducts research or performs research-related activities.  A GRA may be employed either by an academic department or an administrative/research unit.     A GRA employed by an academic department usually performs research for a faculty member and often times works with the faculty member in conducting a research project.  A GRA may also be employed by a research or administrative unit outside his or her department.  In such situations, the GRA should bring certain knowledge or skills of value to the project.   A Research Assistant may engage in one or more of the following activities: 

  • Perform independent research under the direction of a faculty member
  • Engage in literature searches
  • Perform data analysis
  • Design an experiment
  • Assist in a faculty member's laboratory
  • Co-author a research paper 

A GRA receives a stipend of $4,400/year and a tuition scholarship that provides for one-half tuition and full fees (registration fees, laboratory fees, and any other specific course related fees) in support of the registration of the student not to exceed the number of graduate credit hours required for the student's particular degree program. 

  • A graduate student may be awarded an academic GRA position at the time of acceptance into a graduate program in recognition of his or her outstanding academic credentials.
  • A graduate student must apply for an administrative GRA position no later than March 1.
  • A candidate for a GRA position must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, must be regularly admitted as a graduate student into a graduate degree program, and is selected based on his/her level of academic preparation.

The required service commitment of a GRA is 300 hours during the academic year. 

GRADUATE ASSISTANTS (GA) 

A Graduate Assistant (GA) may be employed either by an academic department or by an administrative office to manage special projects or work in a paraprofessional capacity.   Non-departmental offices may select candidates from many areas of graduate study.   A Graduate Assistant may engage in one or more of the following activities:

  •  Perform a variety of administrative tasks including preparation of Power Point presentations, data entry and analysis, web site development, collating marketing materials and presentations.
  • Provide assistance with event planning
  • Facilitate projects in an office with other students
  • Serve on short-term college project teams
  • Support departmental processes related to student recruitment including contacting prospective students, creation of marketing materials, peer advising/mentoring, conducting campus tours and orientation activities, and delivering presentations
  • Supervise a computer laboratory
  • Configure and manage servers used in the delivery of distance courses

A GA receives a stipend of $4,400/year and a tuition scholarship that provides for one-half tuition and full fees (registration fees, laboratory fees, and any other specific course related fees) in support of the registration of the student not to exceed the number of graduate credit hours required for the student's particular degree program. 

  • A graduate student may be awarded an academic GA position at the time of acceptance into a graduate program in recognition of his or her outstanding academic credentials.
  • A graduate student must apply for an administrative GA position no later than March 1.
  • A candidate for a GA position must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, must be regularly admitted as a graduate student into a graduate degree program, and is selected based on his/her level of academic preparation.

The required service commitment of a GA is 300 hours during the academic year.  If a GA is assigned to a group of faculty or staff members, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to coordinate the service commitment expectations of the GA so that he or she does not perform at a level or in a period beyond what is expected in the contract. 

GTAs, GRAs, and GAs are expected to register for at least six graduate credits during each academic semester (fall semester and spring semester). Fewer credits may be taken during the GTA, GRA, or GA's final term. If a student who is a GTA, GRA, or GA is dismissed from the University for either academic or non-academic reasons, the GTA, GRA, or GA contract is voided concurrent with the dismissal. 

Stipend payments are made in equal monthly allotments on the first day of the month following a month of service. Withholding of federal, state, and local income taxes are similar to those pertaining to ordinary income.  During the academic semesters in which a graduate student holds a GTA, GRA, or GA position, he/she is not permitted to hold any full-time or part-time employment at the University. 

GTAs, GRAs, and GAs assigned to academic departments are expected to satisfy their service commitment during each of the academic semesters (including the week prior to the start of the semester, the constituent weeks of the semester, and the week of final examinations). In administrative units, GRAs and GAs may satisfy part of the service commitment during periods other than the academic semesters (e.g., during intersession). In such cases, the service expectations should be stated in writing by the supervisor at the time of the appointment. An appropriate schedule should be worked out between supervisors and GRAs or GAs well in advance to clarify expectations.  

A GTA, GRA, or GA is awarded for the academic year and is renewable for a second year if the GTA, GRA, or GA has maintained a 3.0 GPA or better, has made sufficient progress towards completion of degree requirements, and has performed at an acceptable level of service during the first year. GTAs, GRAs, and GAs will be evaluated annually by their supervisors. A GTA, GRA, or GA whose performance is judged unsatisfactory is subject to having the assistantship rescinded. 

In such cases, the supervisor should meet with the GTA, GRA, or GA, discuss the deficiency with him/her, and develop a corrective plan. The meeting should be followed by written notification to the GTA, GRA, or GA from the supervisor specifying the problem, what corrective action is needed, and a timetable, usually 30 days, by which to correct the problem. The assistant must be informed that failure to correct the problem could result in termination of the assistantship. If after the corrective period expires, the problem persists, the GTA, GRA, or GA may be dismissed. 

A GTA, GRA, or GA may also be dismissed for failure to remain in good academic standing. Each semester the Graduate School will review the academic progress of assistants to determine if any fall below the required 3.0 GPA. If an assistant is placed on academic probation, he/she must meet with the Graduate Program Director of the home department and, where appropriate, the Graduate Dean. The decision to allow an assistant to continue with an assistantship while on academic probation will be made by the Graduate Dean in consultation with the Graduate Program Director taking into account the individual circumstances of the student holding the assistantship.

Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition