Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships provide students with training and valuable professional experience in higher education work environments.  Graduate assistantships are employment-related appointments and may require teaching, research, and/or administrative service. The responsibilities may vary depending on the department’s needs and the experience and academic qualifications of the graduate assistant. A full-time assistantship requires approximately 20 hours of work per week (including the summer semester); a half-time assistantship requires about 10 hours weekly.

Earnings from graduate assistantships are not counted as financial aid for purposes of qualifying for Guaranteed Student Loans. However, graduate assistant earnings are considered employment resources to apply against need for other financial aid programs.


Graduate assistantships provide graduate students with financial resources, in the form of a stipend and tuition waiver benefit, to pursue their degrees. Stipends for individual graduate assistants are determined by the department/college, and are prorated for graduate assistants appointed less than full time or for less than an entire academic year.

The number of credit hours covered by the graduate assistant’s tuition waiver benefit is determined by appointment type and level.   The tuition waiver may be applied to courses taken during the semester of the assistantship, through the subsequent summer sessions. The tuition waiver benefit pays tuition at the on-campus rate only.

Graduate assistants are classified as Michigan residents for the purpose of determining tuition rates at CMU. This classification remains in effect for the duration of their stay at CMU if working on a doctoral program. For specialist's and master's degrees, and graduate certificates, this classification as a Michigan resident is in effect only during the academic year of the award (including the subsequent summer).

Additional information on employment and the benefits provided to Graduate Assistants is available on the Faculty Personnel Services website at

Some graduate assistants are represented by the Graduate Student Union.  More information is available at:


To be eligible for an assistantship, a student must be admitted to the College of Graduate Studies under regular, conditional, or non-degree admission. Students who have concurrent or accelerated admission status may be appointed as graduate assistants only if they have special permission from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Other hiring criteria may be determined by the department or office responsible for the assistantship.

Graduate assistants must maintain a cumulative, graduate GPA of 3.0. The following credit hour loads are also required:

• Fall or spring semesters: 6 credit hours

• Summer semester: 1 credit hour

• Final semester of enrollment before degree completion: only the number of graduate credit hours needed to complete the degree requirements. This waiver is for only one semester. Requests for exemptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations affect international students' eligibility for assistantships. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will confirm whether an individual international student is eligible for an assistantship.

Application and Selection Procedures

Prospective graduate assistants must contact individual departments to apply. While it is always best to apply early, different departments may have different application deadlines and due to extenuating circumstances, graduate assistants are sometimes selected a few days before classes start.