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Assistantship Information

Graduate Assistants (GAs) are, first and foremost, graduate students pursuing an education. The opportunity to work closely with faculty members and undergraduate students in teaching, research, or administrative environments is an integral part of that education.

Graduate students who hold assistantships benefit educationally and professionally. They gain further expertise in their field; enhance their research skills and develop pedagogical skills; acquire experience in leadership, interpersonal effectiveness, and performance evaluation; acquire academic administrative experience; and enjoy collegial collaborations with advisors that may result in joint publications and other professional activities. Skills learned in assistantships prepare students not only for the academy, but also for corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations.

Assistantships also provide graduate students with the financial resources necessary to pursue their degrees. This financial support—stipend, tuition remission, and benefits—is part of the University’s commitment to the success of our graduate students. Graduate Assistant stipend levels are reviewed each year.

Please visit the Office of the Student Financial Aid website for information about other student financial aid.

The official title of Graduate Assistant is used in all university documents, but, in general practice, Graduate Assistants are referred to either as Graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs), Graduate Research Assistants (RAs), or Graduate Administrative Assistants (AAs). Additionally, a small number of Graduate Assistants serve as resident life counselors. Qualified graduate students often move between these kinds of appointments during their graduate education.

For full details, please see Policies for Graduate Assistantships.

Teaching Assistantships

The specific duties of Graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) vary across disciplines and departments. For the majority of teaching assistants, however, assignments and responsibilities fall into four categories:

  • Assuming teaching responsibility for a laboratory or discussion session of a course; 
  • Assuming teaching responsibility for a classroom section of a multi-sectional course, under the close supervision of the director(s) of the course; 
  • Assisting a faculty member in the grading, advising, and administrative duties necessary for a course(s); 
  • Assisting in general departmental administrative duties, such as advising or the administration of community programs, workshops, etc.

Within a department, the particular assignment depends on the department’s needs and the experience and academic qualifications of the TA. All graduate TAs serving in any capacity are under the direction and close supervision of a member of the faculty.

Research Assistantships

The specific duties of Graduate Research Assistants (RAs) vary according to the nature of the research project in which they participate and the source of the funding. RAs may occasionally be asked to conduct some work at home or to do their research at times when classes are not officially in session. The duties of RAs are also performed under the close direction and supervision of a member of the faculty.

Administrative Assistantships

A number of academic and non-academic units employ Graduate Administrative Assistants (AAs), generally to perform administrative support functions in an office setting. Such positions are expected to have a research or professional development component. Some administrative appointments are for less than one academic year.

Tips and Other Opportunities

Graduate Assistantships While Abroad

With the exception of temporary overseas research/scholarly trips (extending for only part of a semester), the following policy applies to all GA positions at UMD: Graduate assistantships are not allowed for students abroad. The University's Office of General Counsel, in consultation with Maryland's Office of the Attorney General, has determined that we may NOT provide graduate assistantship appointments to students who are residing outside the US. This applies to new and continuing students, regardless of visa status, whether the duties can be performed remotely, and whether the student currently holds or previously held a GA appointment. Students who have not entered the U.S. with permanent or temporary residency within the first four weeks of the semester cannot be appointed as GAs. Students residing outside the US may receive a fellowship stipend, so long as there is no work requirement or expectation apart from progress on degree requirements (e.g., dissertation research). International students shall consult with campus officials about any visa limitations prior to any temporary scholarly trips.

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