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Washington State University Graduate School

Graduate Assistantships

To facilitate graduate education, Washington State University has teaching, research, and staff assistantships available for qualified graduate students who are pursuing programs of study leading to advanced degrees at WSU. The assistantship provides a financial package that assists students in funding their graduate education.

  • A Teaching Assistantship (TA) is an appointment in which a graduate student’s primary duty is teaching or serving as a teaching assistant. TAs are available to qualified graduate students in academic departments. Students should contact their department/program to inquire about TA opportunities.
  • A Research Assistantship (RA) is an appointment in which a graduate student is engaged in research under a faculty member’s supervision. RAs are available in many departments and special programs. Students should contact their department/program to inquire about RA opportunities.
  • A Staff Assistantship (SA) is an appointment in which a graduate student engages in service that enhances his or her educational pursuits at WSU. These appointments require a letter of support from the student’s faculty advisor.
  • For further information, students should visit the Graduate School’s websites: and

Service Requirements for Assistantships

  1. Graduate student appointments usually require half-time service. Appointments may, in some instances, be made for less than half-time at correspondingly reduced salaries (and tuition waivers).
  2. Half-time service (0.50 FTE) requires an average of 20 hours of work per week during the term of the appointment. Fractional appointments (less than half-time), when permitted, require work on a proportionate basis.
  3. During the term of the appointment, all graduate student service appointees are expected to be at work each normal workday, including periods when classes are not in session, with the exception of the legal holidays designated by the Board of Regents (see for official university holidays).
  4. There is no annual leave or sick leave associated with assistantship appointments.

Fellowships or Traineeships are available in some departments and programs through grants from government agencies and other private sources. No service to the university is required of fellows or trainees. These appointments are initiated by the departments and programs and inquiries should be directed to the relevant academic unit.

Students should contact the department in which the assistantship is desired. Some departments may require application materials or additional information.

A. Eligibility

Recommendations from departments/program for the appointment.

B. Tuition Waivers

Graduate students who have been offered a assistantship.

C. Required Training for Graduate Assistants

As key contributors to the WSU community, graduate assistants have a responsibility to maintain high standards of professional and ethical conduct. To this end, graduate students are required to complete two mandatory trainings: (a) Responsible Conduct of Research, and (b) Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Prevention. Training requirements are described further in the Graduate Appointment Processing memo, specifically Section B: Eligibility. This memo is published each semester, and is available on the Graduate School web page under “Graduate Assistantship Processing Memo”

Mandatory training on the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is required of all graduate students, and it is a service requirement for graduate assistants. This is a web-based training located at Students should take this training as soon as possible, and are required to renew the training after five years. Students are not eligible for an assistantship until the RCR training is complete.

All graduate students on assistantship are also required to complete the Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Prevention (DSHP) training, offered online through the WSU Human Resource Services (HRS) at ( This training is mandatory for all WSU faculty, staff, and graduate students on assistantships, and must be renewed every five years.

For both RCR and DSHP training, a grace period of one semester will be granted for students who have not completed the training at the start of their assistantship. However, a hold will be put on their registration for future semesters, preventing processing of assistantships, until the trainings have been completed. To ensure timely processing of assistantships, students should complete the trainings in their first semester by the following deadlines: September 30th (Fall semester), January 31st (Spring semester) and June 30th (summer semester). If DSHP training is completed after these dates, this hold can be released if the student presents a certificate of completion to Graduate School. Graduate programs are responsible for ensuring students on assistantship complete the trainings before the deadline each semester and that the trainings are renewed every five years. If an assistantship is processed late because the student did not complete both trainings in a timely manner, the student will be responsible for paying all late fees applied to the student’s account and may lose eligibility for the assistantship.

D. Academic Load for Graduate Assistants

While graduate assistants may be required by the major department/program to register for a greater number of credit hours than the normal academic load of 10-12 credits, they must enroll at least for the following minimums:

  • Graduate students on appointment as teaching, research, or staff assistants during the academic year must be enrolled full time for a minimum of 10 credit hours, or 3 credit hours during the summer if on a summer assistantship.
  • Students on non-service appointments must enroll for a minimum of 10 credit hours per semester during the academic year, or a minimum of 3 credit hours during the summer if on appointment for the entire year.
  • Credits in excess of 18 credit hours in an academic semester or 3 credit hours during the summer are not covered by tuition waivers.
  • Credit hours of enrollment in “Audit” status are not included in calculating the student’s academic load. Also, 100- and 200-level PE Activity courses do not count toward the minimum 10-credit enrollment requirement.

NOTE: Loads in excess of 18 credit hours in a regular semester, or 8 or 10 credit hours in six- and eight-week summer sessions, respectively, are considered overloads and must have the approval of the major professor and the concurrence of the Dean of the Graduate School. Students on appointment as teaching, research, or staff assistants also must have approval of their supervisors in order to take an overload.

E. Assistantship Stipends

Stipends for full-time and half-time (by semester or by academic year) graduate assistantship appointments are flexible.  However, it is expected that academic units will provide a consistent stipend for an entire academic year, assuming no change in the student’s status. This stipend level will be communicated to the student with an official offer letter.  Academic units are strongly discouraged from lowering stipend levels mid-academic year.  An Assistantship Stipend Guide is available to departments on the Graduate School website at Graduate assistants who qualify also receive a health insurance benefit. Information about the health benefit can be found at

F. Assistantship Offer, Appointment, Reappointment, and Evaluation and Certification of Effort

Acceptance of Financial Support, Appointments, Reappointments, Evaluation and Certification of Effort.

G. Termination of an Assistantship

Non-renewal at the end of the semester and termination mid semester.


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