A graduate assistantship (GA) is an avenue for a graduate student to earn experience and financial benefits while attending APSU in a chosen or related field of study. Graduate assistants (GAs) will contribute in significant ways to APSU and are selected from among a very competitive group of superior graduate students. Thus, regardless of your specific duties as a graduate assistant, your assistance will be a central element in delivering top quality instruction or service to the university community. Although the workload varies throughout the departments, excellence is always expected. It is important that GAs are able to prioritize so neither the GA assignment nor grades suffer, and performance is always optimal.
Graduate assistantship positions allow qualified students an opportunity to gain experience while continuing their studies. These experiences not only further the knowledge and education experience, but also provide or build upon skills needed in a professional environment. In addition to these practical skills, successful GAs gain the respect of supervisors that can eventually become colleagues or references.
What kind of graduate assistantships does APSU offer?
There are three different categories of assistantships. You will be assigned an assistantship in a particular category. The descriptions below indicate what is expected of you and what you can expect of your department, program, or office. Graduate assistants are required to work approximately 20 hours per week in their assigned locations. Assignments may include research assistant, teaching assistant, and/or administrative assistant. To retain the assistantship, students must be enrolled full-time during their assigned terms and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA): A Graduate Teaching Assistant is employed by the university to provide direct support for the teaching mission of the unit.
Most Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) at APSU do not serve as the instructor of record. Graduate Teaching Assistants who are not the instructor of record may serve as discussion leaders, graders, leaders of laboratory sections, or may assist in capacities such as preparation of assignments, and other supportive duties necessary for a course. The GTA is not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week during the fall or spring semesters (a maximum of 20 hours a week for 16 weeks in Fall and 16 weeks in Spring).
Some GTAs can be approved to serve as the instructor of record. Under special circumstances, GTAs can be employed in a more advanced capacity than a regular graduate teaching assistant by serving as the instructor of record for a lower division course or courses (numbered 1000-2999). Each academic department must get prior approval from the College of Graduate Studies and Academic Affairs. A GTA approved to serve as the instructor of record must meet APSU’s Faculty Qualifications Matrix or SACSCOC guidelines and must complete additional training prior to serving as an instructor of record. The GTA must be directly supervised by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, must participate in regular in-service training, and is required to undergo planned and periodic observations and evaluations throughout the semester, including course evaluations, using the same online system as used for full-time faculty and adjuncts. The combined load of teaching responsibilities and graduate course enrollment may not exceed 15 hours per semester, during the fall or spring semesters, when the GTA is assigned as an instructor of record. For example, a GTA who is instructor of record could enroll in 9 graduate semester credit hours and serve as the instructor of record for two sections of a three-credit hour course (teaching a total of 6 credit hours). The GTA is eligible for a full tuition waiver per Internal Revenue Code 117.
Graduate Research Assistant (GRA): A Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) is employed by the university to perform duties related to a scholarly project or program of research under the guidance and direction of faculty member. The duties of a research assistant involve applying and mastering conceptual and theoretical ideas, practices, or methods of scholarship. A Research Assistans may be employed outside his or her academic department in a capacity in which the assistant brings knowledge or skills related to his or her program of study. The GRA is not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week at APSU during the fall or spring semesters (a maximum of 20 hours a week for 16 weeks in Fall and 16 weeks in Spring). The GRA is eligible for a full tuition waiver per Internal Revenue Code 117.
Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA): A Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA) is employed by the university in a capacity not related to his or her program of study and does not engage in activities directly related to research or teaching. The GAA is not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week at APSU during the fall or spring semesters (a maximum of 20 hours a week for 16 weeks in Fall and 16 weeks in Spring). The GAA is not eligible for a full tuition waiver per Internal Revenue Code 117.
It is important to note that each department is required to devise a GA job description for their area. You should obtain the job description at the beginning of your assignment to ensure you are meeting the required expectations.
Graduate Student Worker (GSW): A GSW is employed by the university in university related duties for hourly pay. The GSW is not eligible for any tuition waiver. The GSW is not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week at APSU during the fall or spring semesters (a maximum of 20 hours a week for 16 weeks in Fall and 16 weeks in Spring). GSW’s are eligible to work fulltime (37.5 hours/week) when not enrolled in course(s) for additional pay during the summer terms.
Graduate Assistant Eligibility Requirements
GAs in all three categories must be fully admitted to a graduate program at APSU to begin and retain their positions. Full admission requirements vary by program. Please review admission requirements for your desired Graduate Program.
Applicants who are applying for a graduate assistantship in the Department of Health and Human Performance must have an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 and meet the minimum GRE revised General Test scores of: Verbal - 140, Quantitative - 140, and Analytical Writing - 2.5.
Fall and Spring Assistantships
- GTA’s and GRA’s are eligible for an academic year stipend (minimum $5,200) and also eligible for a tuition waiver to cover the cost of tuition and fees (approximately $10,000) not to exceed 10 graduate credit hours per academic semester. GTA’s and GRA’s are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week during the fall or spring semesters. The GTA or GRA is eligible for a full tuition waiver per Internal Revenue Code 117.
- GAA’s are eligible for an academic year stipend (minimum $5,200) but are not eligible for the same tuition waiver as GTAs or GRAs. However, the sponsoring department can pay the GAA the equivalent of the full tuition waiver, in addition to GAA stipend. For example, the sponsoring department could pay the GAA the total stipend of $15,200 of which approximately $10,000 would cover the cost of tuition and fees, not to exceed 10 graduate credit hours per academic semester. The GAA may elect to have the tuition and fees deducted in equal installment amounts from the GAA paycheck, during each pay period during the academic year. The GAA is required to sign the applicable payroll deduction paperwork in the Office of Human Resources/Payroll in order to initiate this process. GAA’s are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week during the fall or spring semesters. The GAA is not eligible for a full tuition waiver per Internal Revenue Code 117.
The College of Graduate Studies does not normally award graduate assistantships for the summer term. A limited number of summer assistantships may be arranged by individual hiring departments on a case-by-case basis, provided work is needed and funding is available.
Other (any time of the year)
- GSW’s can be employed by APSU in university-related duties on an hourly pay basis. GSW’s are not eligible for a tuition waiver. Monthly payroll deduction may be processed for tuition through the Office of Human Resources/Payroll. The GSW is required to sign the applicable payroll deduction paperwork through the Office of Human Resources/Payroll in order to initiate this process.