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

Student/Faculty Research Team Published

May 09, 2018

A student and faculty research team in the School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration was recently published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership.

The GVSU and West Michigan Aviation Academy partnership advances engineering education

May 09, 2018

A partnership between Grand Valley and the West Michigan Aviation Academy supports students learning STEM disciplines and focuses on helping teachers develop curriculum and extracurriculars.

Biostatistics students honored at international competition

April 16, 2018

Kayla Hawkins and Joe Lorenz, both graduate students in the Master of Science in Biostatistics at GVSU, recently finished in 2nd place at an international analytics competition involving 60 teams. Kayla and Joe are mentored by Biostatistics Director, Dr.

2018-19 GSA E-Board Members

April 16, 2018

Meet the 2018-19 Graduate Student Association Executive Board.

GVSU graduate Students presented at the 9th annual midwest graduate research symposium

April 09, 2018

Several GVSU students were chosen to disseminate their graduate research at The University of Toledo's 9th Annual Midwest Graduate Research Symposium.

View More News and Information

Page last modified December 23, 2015