What is Graduate Assistantship?

A graduate assistantship serves two purposes:

  1. To provide graduate students with part-time, paid work experiences in their field of study, and allow them to expand and/or apply their discipline knowledge and skills under supervision.
  2. To provide GVSU faculty and/or university staff assistance in carrying out special projects or other assignments that require the advanced discipline skills of graduate students.

The activities assigned are to have educational value for the student, to enhance the student's academic experience. Although some tasks may include a clerical component, a graduate assistantship is not meant to be used to provide primarily clerical and office support to departments.

Many graduate assistants are assigned to work in their own program, e.g., a Social Work student will work in the School of Social Work. However, a number of departments will hire across disciplines when the need arises. For example, a position in the Physical Therapy department may require someone with advanced computer skills, thus a student majoring in Computer Science & Information Systems would be eligible for the assistantship in that department. Additionally, some non-academic units may have no specific major in mind when hiring a GA. Some of the non-academic units are: The Graduate School, Autism Education Center, Johnson Center for Philanthropy,  the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Qualifications Required for an Assistantship

To qualify for a graduate assistantship, the student must:

  1. Be fully admitted as a degree-seeking student in a Grand Valley graduate program at the time of appointment.
  2. Successfully maintain a minimum course load of 9 graduate credit hours per semester for a full-time graduate assistantship or carry a minimum course load of 5 graduate credit hours per semester for a half-time assistantship.
  3. 3. Be enrolled in class during the semester or semesters in which the student will be working as a GA.


Financial Support

Graduate Assistantship Terms and Conditions


A typical full-time assistantship includes the following responsibilities and benefits during the appointment:

  • a. A 20-hour per week work assignment for 16 weeks per semester, corresponding to the beginning and ending dates for a semester as published in the university schedule of classes and Bulletin.
  • b. Support from GVSU which includes:
    • A stipend of $4,000 each semester. *
    • Tuition credit for up to 9 graduate credits per semester.

A typical half-time assistantship includes the following responsibilities and benefits during the appointment:

  • A 10-hour per week work assignment for 16 weeks per semester.
  • Support from GVSU which includes:
    • A stipend of $2,000 per semester *
    • Tuition credit for up to 4.5 graduate credits per semester.

*Stipend payments are split up through the semester so that the student receives a regular paycheck every two weeks.


News and Information

University of Michigan Partners with GVSU and 7 Other Universities to Maintain the Great Lakes

August 07, 2017

University of Michigan is hosting the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research in collaboration with eight other universities in the Great Lakes region to keep the waters of the Great Lakes healthy and beautiful.

Speech Lab to Stay Open for the Summer

May 05, 2017

The GVSU Speech Lab has announced that they will be open to serve the Grand Valley community during the Spring/Summer sessions.

NCAA Research Committee Invites Graduate Student Research Proposals

April 03, 2017

The NCAA Research Committee invites graduate student research proposals for students working on doctoral dissertations, master's theses, or external publications.

International Graduate Student Enrollment Sets Record Growth

March 30, 2017

Enrollment for international graduate students at Grand Valley State University has gone up by 60 percent in the past five years.

Graduate Student Association Seeks Faculty Nominations for the Dean's Citation Awards

March 22, 2017

Nominations are now being accepted for the Faculty and Staff Award for Mentorship and the Kimboko Inclusion Award.

View More News and Information

Page last modified December 23, 2015