Section Three: Application and Selection Process

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To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, a student must:

  • Be admitted to a degree program administered by the Graduate School.
  • Not be admitted conditionally or be on probation.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.000 grade point average (each term and cumulatively).
  • Be registered full-time (7 credit hour minimum) during each semester of their assistantship.
  • Show academic progress toward the degree (renewals).

Applying for a Graduate Assistantship

First-year graduate students apply for assistantships on their applications for admission. When applying, they mark the box that asks if they wish to apply for merit-based aid.

Admitted and returning students who want to be considered for first-time assistantships should apply on Checkmarq by the application deadline (see Instructions for Applying for Financial Aid).

Some service assistantships may require additional steps in the application process.

Renewal of Award

Although many programs state their intention to support their graduate students through assistantships for multiple years, assistantships are only provided on a semester- or year-basis. Future assistantships are not guaranteed or renewed automatically. Students should not assume their awards extend to any terms beyond those specifically stated in their award letters. Some departments have limits on the number of terms across which a student can receive an assistantship.

Assistants must submit an application for financial aid to be added to the list of applicants reviewed by the department for consideration for support along with other potential recipients. Award decisions are based on academic credentials, and progress, not on financial need. Students interested in reapplying for an assistantship should reapply for aid in CheckMarq by the application deadline each term.

A department’s decision to not renew an award cannot be appealed.


Most assistantships are offered in the fall term and granted for the entire academic year. Exceptions are noted in individual award letters.

Fall and Academic Year


  • Application - November 15
  • Acceptance – Within two weeks of receipt of award letter (See Responding to Offers for more information.)

These are the deadlines for priority consideration. Some departments may accept and review applications received after deadlines and some may not. Students should contact their academic departments for department-specific information. (Also, see Responding to Offers.)


While some graduate programs and principal investigators may offer assistantships during the summer term, the Graduate School does not typically award summer assistantships and, therefore, does not have a summer application deadline.


Graduate Assistantships are merit based and are not based on financial need. Each academic department reviews their applicants for university-funded assistantships in their programs and makes their recommendations to the Graduate School.

For incoming students, departments may consider admission credentials submitted at the time of application, research interests, potential for success, and the results of personal interviews. Assistants requesting renewals of their awards are evaluated based on past performance and academic progress.

International Students

International students are subject to additional rules established by the federal government. International students are strongly advised to seek the guidance of the Office of International Education when applying for a graduate assistantship.

Provisions include:

  • International students may only work on campus if allowed by their visas.
  • International students with assistantships are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week while classes are in session.
  • International students with assistantships must maintain a seven-credit load each term to be considered full time for immigration purposes.

All international students who are Teaching Assistants (TAs) are required to attend the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) conducted by the Office of International Education and take an English proficiency test administered during ITAP. ITAP is held before the start of the fall term. Based on the test results, TAs may be required to take one or more ESL courses. Students may use their graduate assistant tuition scholarships to pay for the courses if required. (See Tuition Scholarship.)


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