Rules and Guidelines: Assistantships

The following rules and guidelines apply to all graduate assistantships offered by the Marquette University Graduate School. By accepting an assistantship offer from the Graduate School, it is understood that the assistant agrees to these rules and guidelines.

Responding to This Offer

You should accept or decline your offer as soon as you are able to give us a reply.

For offers issued between Jan. 1 and Apr. 1, for awards beginning in the fall term, you have until April 15 to respond. If your reply is not received by April 15, the Graduate School may rescind the offer.

For offers issued on or after April 2, you should respond within 2 weeks of receipt of the award letter, or the Graduate School may rescind your offer.

Types of Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantship

Graduate teaching assistants may serve as instructors of record, or assist faculty in teaching courses including functioning as discussion/laboratory section leaders or in providing other appropriate professional assistance including grading examinations, problem sets, and/or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures and laboratory sections, and preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory sections.

Graduate Research Assistantship

Graduate research assistants are graduate students conducting academically significant research under the direction of a faculty member. Graduate research assistantships are awarded by departments with faculty members engaged in research projects.

Graduate Assistantship

Graduate assistants are appointed for the primary purpose of assisting in classroom or laboratory instruction or in the conduct of research. Graduate assistants are included in this category when differentiating between primarily instruction and primarily research duties is difficult.

Graduate Service Assistantship

Graduate service assistants meet the definition of a graduate assistant except students are not appointed for the primary purpose of assisting in classroom or laboratory instruction or in the conduct of research. Graduate service assistant positions are awarded for the primary purpose of gaining experience, practice, or guidance that is significantly connected to the students' fields of study and career preparation. Graduate service assistants typically serve the university outside of an academic department and may provide service to off-campus organizations affiliated with the university. Trinity Fellows are included in this classification.

Duration and Renewal of Awards

Normally, assistants are appointed for the months August – May. The assistants' departments determine the specific beginning and ending dates of the appointments.

Future assistantships are not guaranteed or renewed automatically. You must apply for continued support and be considered along with new applicants. Award decisions are based on academic credentials, not on financial need. Some programs renew assistantships for the duration of their students’ programs; and some have limits on the number of assistantships a student may receive. Students should not assume that their awards extend to any terms not specifically stated in their award letters.

To reapply for an assistantship, fill out this online Financial Aid Application for Admitted Students form. Or print this PDF and fill out and return to the Graduate School by the appropriate competition deadline below:

  • Fall:       February 15
  • Spring:   November 15

Rules and Guidelines

Disbursement of Your Scholarship

Your scholarship will be applied to your Bursar account or show up as an anticipated payment, after we receive your acceptance of your offer and after you register for classes. Actual posting of scholarships typically is done one week before classes start. If you receive a scholarship after you already paid for your courses, you will be notified by the Bursar when you may receive a refund.

Employment Documents

  • Federal law requires verification of employment eligibility for all employees within 72 hours of employment. You must submit a completed I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form to the Graduate School. You are required to present specific documentation IN PERSON to the Graduate School. Refer to the reverse side of the I-9 for a listing of acceptable documentation. In addition to submitting an I-9 form, international students must also submit a letter of employment eligibility from Marquette’s Office of International Education. International students may not begin working until both documents are on file in the Graduate School.

  • Assistants should complete the W-4 Employee’s Withholding form (on the Payroll website).

  • All assistants must have, or must have applied for, a social security number.

English Proficiency/English as a Second Language (ESL) Courses

All TAs with native languages other than American English are required to attend the International Teaching Assistant Orientation Program and take an English proficiency test on campus during the first or second weeks before their first semester. Based on the test results, TAs may be required to take one or more ESL course. Students may use their regular tuition scholarships to pay for the courses if required.

Full-Time Enrollment Status

 Assistants must be registered full-time during the fall and spring semesters of their awards.

 Graduate School of Management Students

 Awards to students in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, and Human Resources are jointly administered by the Graduate School and the Graduate School of Management. GSM students are expected to follow the rules and guidelines in this document.  I-9 forms for GAs are distributed and collected by the GSM and not the Graduate School (see section on Employment Documents). Additional conditions may be placed on awards by the GSM. If that is the case you will be notified in writing in your award letter, or separately. Requests for waivers of any of the rules in this document must receive the approval of the GSM.

Identification Cards/Key

 Graduate assistants are issued Marquette ID cards that can be used to obtain discounts on purchases from the MU Spirit Shop and the Haggerty Museum of Art, and receive additional on campus printing privileges. If an assistant resigns or is terminated, they must return their keys and their assistantship ID cards to their departments. If the student is continuing his/her program, a new ID card will be issued at no charge.

Involuntary Terminations

Assistants are retained only if they are doing acceptable work, maintaining a 3.0 GPA (each semester and cumulatively), making progress towards their degrees, and are meeting their obligations to their departments and to the university in an acceptable manner. Before recommending a termination, the department chair or director of graduate studies shall, in most cases, inform the student in writing that there is danger of termination as soon as it becomes evident that his/her performance is unsatisfactory. The warning letter should:

  • Outline the assistant's deficiencies.

  • Suggest required remedies.

  • Set a date when the matter will be reviewed to recognize improvement or recommend dismissal to the Graduate School.

In serious cases, a department may recommend to the Graduate School that an assistantship be terminated effective immediately. In these cases, the department is not obligated to use the above warning procedure. After making such a recommendation to the Graduate School, the department may immediately suspend any/all duties of the assistant pending the Graduate School’s decision regarding termination. Serious cases include, but are not limited to, violations of university policy/procedures and violations of ethical or professional codes or standards. Termination appeals should first be made to the student’s department then to the Graduate School. All stipends end on the date of termination.


Outside Employment


Students with full assistantships are not allowed to accept additional employment for pay during their award terms. The Graduate School, under the following conditions, may give special permission:

  • The employment is required by serious financial need.

  • The request is accompanied by evidence that the assistant's academic work and quality of service will not be affected adversely.

  • The request is approved by the assistant's department.

If you are a graduate assistant and wish to request additional outside employment, you should contact your supervisor (or the director of graduate studies in your program). Discuss your need for additional work, including the number of number of hours per week. If your supervisor/DGS endorses your request, they should send their endorsement to the Graduate School at Their endorsement should include:
1. Your name.
2. Your assistantship position, and whether it is a full (20 hours per week) or partial assignment.
3. Where you plan to work.
4. A brief description of your work duties.
5. The number of hours you will work per week.
6. The length of time involved.

The Graduate School will review the request and send it it’s official decision.


You must register no later than the last date of registration of the first semester of your award term. If you fail to do so, your award may be rescinded.



Departments count on the services of their assistants for the entire academic year. If an assistant resigns, they must:

  • Discuss the resignation with his/her department chair or director of graduate studies well in advance of the resignation.

  • Submit a signed letter explaining the reason(s) for and exact date of the resignation to the Graduate School.

  • Return their assistantship ID card and all issued keys to their department.

Stipends will be ended and final checks will be prorated to the date of resignation.

Stipend Payments

 Checks are issued bi-weekly and disbursed in 10 payments each semester, over the academic year (August-May) unless stated otherwise. Assistants must sign up for direct deposit online via Through MyJob. Instructions are available on the Payroll Department’s web site


Your stipend is taxable income and is reported to the IRS. You will receive an earnings statement from Payroll in January to submit with your income taxes. FICA taxes (social security) are not deducted from fall and spring stipends. FICA is charged to the stipends of assistants in summer unless assistants are registered and provide proof of their summer registration to the Payroll Department.


All assistants must complete Title IX and FERPA training and participate in assistantship orientation programs offered by their departments.  Additionally, new teaching assistants are required to participate in mandatory TA training from the Graduate School.

Tuition Scholarships

Most full assistantships include tuition scholarships to pay for 9 credits in fall and 9 credits in spring. The dollar value of your award is stated in your offer letter. Your award will not pay for more than this amount. You must pay for all charges taken that exceed the dollar amount of your scholarship and for tuition/fees related to courses that are not covered by your scholarships.

Your award letter shows the amounts of your scholarship allotted to fall, spring, and summer terms. Unused scholarship money from one term is not automatically carried forward to following terms. You should contact the Graduate School to request the transfer of scholarship money from one term to another. Award money cannot be transferred from one aid year to another. Each aid year begins with the fall term and includes the following spring and summer terms. Scholarships will not pay for more than 6 thesis or 12 dissertation credits.

Scholarships may only be used to pay for valid courses that are directly related to your degree.

Valid courses include:

Graduate-level courses numbered 5000 and above that count toward your degree.

Invalid courses include:

  • Audited courses.

  • Undergraduate-level courses taken for undergraduate credit including prerequisites or deficiency courses.

  • Personal preference courses within or outside of your discipline that will not count toward your degree and that have not been approved for scholarship coverage by both your department and the Graduate School in writing.


Work Hours and Duties

Assistants are required to work approximately 20 hours per week. Starting and ending dates, duties, distribution of hours over the semester, and assignments to faculty are made by each department chair or director of graduate studies. Some departments may also require that their assistants work during regular university recesses such as winter and spring holidays. F-1 visa students may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.

Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) Resolution

Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the condition affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of the Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above resolution that a copy of this resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

This resolution and a list of members and institutions that support it are on the CGS website in PDF format.

Issued by:

Marquette University Graduate School
Holthusen Hall, Room 305
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-7137
Fax: (414) 288-1902
Marquette University Graduate School Website