Graduate assistants are, first and foremost, graduate students pursuing an education. They have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members and undergraduate students in residence and learning communities, research, or administrative. At the same time, they develop professional expertise, enhance research skills, and enhance their leadership acumen.
Types of Graduate Assistantships
GCU offers several graduate assistantship opportunities:
- Teaching assistants (TAs) have responsibility for instruction, laboratory supervision, lab preparation, tutoring, grading assignments, and other related activities.
- Faculty research assistants have responsibility for assisting faculty, departmental, school, or university research endeavors.
- Graduate assistants (administrative) deliver a wide array of professional support functions.
- Graduate assistants (residential) live on campus and help with administrative tasks within the Office of Career Services. They receive accommodations in a single room in residence with a full meal plan.
Appointment Period and Scheduled Hours
The Office of Career Services monitors compensation to help ensure it is reasonable and equitable across the university. Graduate assistants are generally appointed yearly for either a 10- or 12-month period, except for residential graduate assistants, who are expected to work a full calendar year.
Appointments generally begin at the discretion of the department. Typically, students pursuing a master’s degree hold an assistantship for two years. They are expected to be available for assignments of 20 hours per week throughout their appointment period. Work schedules vary by type of assistantship.
- Full-Year Graduate Assistants work 1,000 hours per 12-month period (approximately 20 hours per week). In return, they receive tuition remission for a total of 24 credits per year (9 credits in the fall, 9 credits in the spring, and 6 credits in the summer), and a $100 stipend per month from September through August. The student is responsible for all fees above and beyond the 24 credits of tuition remission per year. In some instances, required course(s) may not be offered during the semester enrolled. In such cases, the student must obtain a waiver from the dean of school in which he or she is enrolled and present it to the direct supervisor and the Office of Career Services /appropriate department. The student will still be able to persist as a graduate assistant.
- Semester Graduate Assistants work 135 hours per semester (approximately 9 hours per week for 15 weeks). In return, they receive tuition remission for one 3-credit course per semester. The student is responsible for all fees above and beyond the 3 credits of tuition remission per semester.
What’s Not Covered
Periodically, graduate students may find that they have to take an undergraduate course or a course not included in the requirements for a degree program in order to either meet a prerequisite requirement or to master a set of skills necessary to engage in graduate study. Graduate assistantships do not cover tuition for such courses, and thus graduate students carrying graduate assistantships must pay tuition for such courses out of pocket. The exception to this policy comes when a program agrees to grant credit for such a course on a substitution basis within the program.
Graduate assistants are responsible for paying all university fees in a timely fashion. No late fee should be charged as a result of the scholarship not being processed in a timely fashion by the university. If and when this should occur, the graduate assistant’s immediate supervisor will help resolve the matter.
Become a Graduate Assistant
To apply for a graduate assistantship, you must be a graduate student or a prospective matriculating graduate student, unless approval has been granted for prerequisites from the appropriate dean. Special consideration may also be given to students who require a semester of prerequisites for their approved program.
Prospective students can apply at the same time they apply to the university. However, the applicant cannot be employed as a graduate assistant before being accepted as a matriculated graduate student. If prerequisites are required for the program, they must be approved by the dean of that school prior to be being granted an assistantship.
Graduate Assistantships are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please submit your application at least a month prior to the start of the semester. To apply, follow the directions for each specific position. For an application, click here.