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Types of Graduate Assistantships

Requirements for all assistantships

  • Graduate assistantships generally entail 10-20 hours of work per week (.25 to .50 full-time equivalent).
  • Graduate assistants may be required to provide their academic adviser with a written report of academic progress at the conclusion of the period for which the assistantship is awarded.

Teaching assistantships

A teaching assistantship in an academic program provides a stipend to a student who assists in teaching duties in an academic program during the academic year.

Duties and responsibilities

Every graduate teaching assistant is expected to:

  • Participate in the graduate assistant teaching orientation.
  • Continue working toward an advanced degree while working as a teaching assistant.

Requirements for international students

All graduate teaching assistants whose native language is not English are required to:

Academic freedom

The academic freedom of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) is not necessarily coextensive with that of faculty. GTAs are engaged in supervised teaching or instruction activities. Supervisors are responsible for defining the nature, scope and manner of instruction for each course.

Supervisors should communicate the extent to which GTAs have discretion to introduce additional material, and GTAs should follow supervisors’ instructions. GTAs may not be penalized for expressing their own views on matters within the scope of the course if they adequately represent these views as their own.

In interpreting teaching evaluations, supervisors make every effort to distinguish legitimate critiques of the course from negative evaluations related to:

  • Prejudice against the GTA on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or other protected status.
  • Disagreement with viewpoints expressed by the GTA or by students in the class.


Any assignment of responsibilities, such as teaching a course, must be associated with fair and reasonable compensation. This precludes a graduate student from "volunteering" for extensive service commitments to the academic programs without an appropriate stipend.

Academic programs may differentiate graduate teaching assistantship stipends by graduate student status (master's or doctoral, first-year or experienced) or by the number of hours of work required. Within academic programs and within each level of differentiation, stipends should be equivalent. Guidelines used to determine stipend levels should be available to students through the academic program.

Research assistantships

A student may be granted a research assistantship through a faculty member's grant or other university funds, enabling the student to work toward an advanced degree while performing research tasks related to the grant or fund requirements.

Academic programs decide whether the work required by the graduate research assistantship is directly related to the student's academic program.

Other graduate assistantships

Other graduate assistantships provide stipends for students who assist in academic or nonacademic program activities 10-20 hours per week. These graduate assistantships occur across campus and may involve diverse duties covering a wide variety of functions.

All MU assistantships