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Graduate students receiving remuneration from departmental sources for services rendered are classified either as graduate teaching assistants or as graduate research assistants, depending on whether support is derived from general funds or research contracts and grants, respectively. Graduate assistants who serve for 20 hours per week or less are considered to be full-time students. Graduate students deriving fellowship support are obliged only to the terms of their fellowship.


Personnel decisions regarding graduate teaching assistants are made by the department chair. Those regarding graduate research assistants are made by the principal investigator and are subject to approval by the department chair. Only the department chair may waive the provisions of these guidelines in individual circumstances.

Additional Details:

Graduate assistants are not required to work during legal holidays. However, since they are classified as temporary employees of the university, they are not eligible to receive vacation or sick leave with pay.

Whether a stipend is eligible for income tax exemption is generally a matter to be resolved between the Internal Revenue Service and the individual graduate assistant. Normally, all graduate stipends and fellowships are taxable. Tuition support may be tax-exempt.

Graduate assistants frequently require keys for access to university offices, laboratories and buildings. Requests for keys are initiated by completing a key request form available in the department office. The faculty supervisor and chairman must certify the validity of each key request.

Graduate students are automatically eligible for “C” parking permits. Application for “ETA” permits by graduate assistants shall be accepted only upon additional certification of the department chair that the individual is employed in a service capacity and is required to meet a firm teaching or research schedule during normal class hours. To secure such certification, the assistant must obtain the proper from the department office, complete the form and have it signed by the chairman and the College of Engineering business officer.

The appointment period for graduate teaching assistants normally encompasses a nine-month interval beginning August 16 and ending May 15 of the following year. Appointments may also be made for four months beginning August 16 and ending December 31 for the fall semester, or beginning January 1 and ending May 15 for the spring semester. In no event will the appointment period exceed 12 months. However, re-appointments may be made subject to the provisions listed below in the section Renewal and Termination of Appointments. Appointments are not normally made during the summer months. Master’s candidates may not be appointed for more than three years nor Ph.D. candidates for more than four years.

Research Assistants

The appointment period for research assistants is determined by the principal investigator, subject to the same maximum periods above.

All Graduate Assistants

With the exception of legal holidays, teaching and research assistants are expected to provide service throughout the periods of their appointments. absences during these periods require notification of and prior approval by the faculty supervisor.

Renewal of Appointment for Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants

All assistants shall maintain satisfactory academic records and progress toward degrees; their assistantships shall not be renewed if their academic progress is unsatisfactory. Appointments are not renewed beyond the end of the academic term during which all degree requirements have been satisfied. Appointments are not renewed if the assistant’s service to the university is unsatisfactory. Appointments are not renewed if funding is unavailable. Appointments are not renewed if the maximum periods (as stated in the Period of Appointment) are exceeded.

Maximum Periods of Appointment

Graduate assistants working toward a master’s degree normally may serve no longer than six semesters, and graduate assistants working toward a Ph.D. degree, no more than eight semesters

Renewal Procedures for Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants wishing to have their appointments renewed must notify the director of graduate studies by February 1 for the next appointment period beginning August 16 or by October 15 for the next appointment period beginning January 1.

An M.S. student in mining engineering who has completed the formal coursework and who is receiving a graduate assistantship through the department or university during a fall or spring semester, with his or her time principally devoted to the M.S. thesis, is required to register for MNG 748. More details here.

Requirements for the doctorate may be completed in three years of full-time graduate work or the equivalent in combined full-time and part-time study; however, more time may be required. On the recommendation of the director of graduate studies (DGS) and with the concurrence of the dean of The Graduate School, successful completion of a master’s degree may be considered the equivalent of the first of the three years. Please review this page for more details.

Graduate Teaching Assistants

During the nine-month academic year, appointments are limited to a maximum of twenty (20) hours per week. Appointments during the summer are normally also for 20 hours per week, leaving the balance of time available for thesis or dissertation development. Some prospects may require 40 hours per week in the summer to complete. During the nine-month academic year, teaching assistants must be registered as full-time students. However, if the teaching assistant has completed all the course requirements for the degree, enrollment as a part-time student is permitted.

Graduate Research Students

The service load of a graduate research assistant is normally determined by the principal investigator. However, during the 9-month academic year, appointments are normally limited to a maximum of twenty (20) hours per week. However, if the assistant has completed course requirements for the degree and if the research service is being used to partially satisfy degree requirements, appointments of forty (40) hours per week may be made.

Graduate assistants holding either F-1 or J-1 visas are exempt from the payment of social security taxes. Others similarly exempted only during those academic terms in which they are enrolled as full-time students. Students are advised to consult with The Graduate School concerning changes in regulations concerning FICA exemptions.

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Stipends for graduate teaching assistants are as follows:

Full-time student (20 hours per week service):

Monthly stipend
Initial appointment: $475 – $950
Renewal appointments: $650 – $1375

The stipend for part-time service is directly proportional to the hours of service rendered per week.

In determining the stipend amount, consideration will be given to the student’s academic and career achievements.

The stipends will be reviewed periodically with regard to the availability of funds, cost of living and stipends available at other competitive institutions.

Research Assistants

Stipends for research assistants are determined by the principal investigator and approved by the chairman and are based on the qualifications of the student employee, the nature of the work performed and the available financial resources. Such stipends must be in accord with any relevant stipulations of the contracting/granting agency. The principal investigator may use the pay scale for graduate teaching assistants as a guide in determining the stipends for graduate research assistants.