Graduate School
Graduate School
Financial Resources

ASSISTANTSHIP/FELLOWSHIP DEFINITIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS

Assistantship.  An arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student who performs specific  services (see definitions of assistantship types below) in furtherance of his/her graduate education.

Fellowship.  An arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student to pursue his/her degree without any obligation on the part of the student to render service to the university as an assistant or employee.  Fellowships are generally merit-based awards

Graduate Intern Assistant (GIA).  An arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student who may provide a wide variety of services related to academic and programmatic support.  GA responsibilities may be administrative in nature such as academic advising, program planning, advising student groups, and assisting with the administration of student services offices.  GA responsibilities may also be academic in nature such as: (i) grading examinations, problem sets, and/or laboratory assignments, (iii) setting up displays for lectures or laboratory sections, and (iii) preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory instruction. Note 1: When academic functions are the primary responsibility of the assistant, the graduate teaching assistant (GTA) designation may be more appropriate. Note 2: At unit’s discretion, GIA’s may be supported with unit funds; however, they may not be supported with Graduate School assistantship funds.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA).  An arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student who performs thesis/dissertation research or other directed research.  The student is expected to devote considerable time on research that is academically significant and directed by a faculty advisor.  Often the faculty advisor is a principal investigator working on an externally-funded grant/contract. Note 3: At unit’s discretion, off-campus students enrolled in distance education programs may receive GRA’s with unit funds; however, they may not be supported with Graduate School funds.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA).  An arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student who provides academic program support under the supervision of a faculty member.  GTAs may assist faculty in teaching undergraduate courses, including laboratory teaching assignments, or in providing other appropriate academic assistance such as: (i) grading examinations, problem sets, and/or lab assignments, (ii) setting up displays for lectures and laboratory sections, and (iii) preparing or maintaining equipment used in instructional laboratories.  Note 4:  “Graduate teaching assistants: master’s in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned and periodic evaluations.” (SACS Guidelines on Faculty Credentials, 2006).  Note 5: At unit’s discretion, off-campus students enrolled in distance education programs may receive GTA’s with unit funds; however, they may not be supported with Graduate School funds.

Partial Assistantship.  An arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student appointed as a part-time GA, GRA, or GTA.  For example, in return for half the service expected of a regular assistant, the student receives half the regular stipend.

Revised April 16, 2009