Administered by the departments
Interested students should request application forms and information directly from their departments and NOT the College of Graduate Studies. Individual departments manage all aspects of assistantships, including receiving and screening applications and making award decisions. Types of assistantships may involve teaching, research, or administrative duties. They may be full- or part-time and/or may be awarded for a semester only or for the academic year. Some departments require submission of GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or other specialized test scores.
A full-time graduate teaching assistant is assigned a teaching load of six semester hours of courses, an equated number of contact hours of laboratory course work, or an equivalent load of assigned responsibilities each semester. Six to ten hours of course work per semester is the suggested academic course load for which a graduate assistant should enroll. International students are required by the USCIS to register for a minimum of nine credits per semester; for graduate assistants, that number is reduced to six.
The timing of decisions regarding graduate assistantship awards varies by department. Many decisions are made by March of each year for assignments beginning the following fall semester. After March, students should check with their departments to see if openings are still available. For the 2011-2012 academic year, a full-time graduate assistant pursuing a master's degree received an average academic year stipend of $10,500 and a tuition scholarship of 20 credits per year (valued at $9,340). An assistant pursuing a doctoral degree received an average stipend of $12,800 and a tuition scholarship of 20 credit hours (worth $10,760).
Please note: Assistantships do not always provide the full amount of financial support required for international students to receive an I-20. Additionally, assistantships are awarded on the basis of need and merit. It is very IMPORTANT to be aware that students not chosen to receive assistantships before arriving on campus are unlikely to receive them after reaching CMU.