Graduate assistant appointments constitute the Department’s principal form of financial assistance to graduate students. Assistantships help the faculty carry out the Department’s teaching, research, and service missions. They also provide experience — essentially an apprenticeship — for graduate students as they prepare for careers in teaching and research within and outside of higher education.

Most appointments are continuing commitments, reviewed annually. However, because funding for some assistantship lines runs for a year or less, or is of uncertain duration, the Department also makes some appointments on a three-quarter academic year or even a single quarter basis. The distinctions between these types of appointments are described in Section C of the Graduate Assistants Guidelines.

The department maintains approximately 35-40 assistantships, which are merit-based awards available to students in the M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D. programs. The vast majority of these are teaching assistantships (TAships), wherein graduate students assist in the teaching of undergraduate courses and receive a salary for their teaching. A few of these assistantships are for research (RAships). These students receive a salary for providing assistance to faculty research projects.

These positions normally require 20 hours of work per week, and they currently carry a minimum nine-month salary of $20,052 for M.A. students and $21,546 for Ph.D. students. Students holding these appointments receive a waiver of the operating fee portion of tuition and fees but are required to pay approximately $364 in fees per quarter, or $1.092 per nine-month academic year. Assistantships automatically include health insurance coverage.