The Graduate School at the University of Louisiana at Monroe approves the appointment of more than 200 graduate assistants each year. Graduate assistants are appointed across a variety of academic and non-academic departments, and come in the form of teaching or research assignments. These appointments follow the University calendar and can be assigned during Fall, Spring, Summer I and Summer II semesters as well as Maymester and Wintersession. The Graduate School considers assistantships to be a privilege; students given this opportunity will work to remain in accordance with the following policies while maintaining excellent academic standing.
To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, applicants must be regularly admitted to a degree program. Students who are conditionally admitted are not eligible for assistantships unless their deficiencies are undergraduate prerequisites. Provisionally admitted and non-degree students are not eligible to apply for assistantships.
Applicants must also have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher; if any graduate coursework has been completed (either at ULM or any other institution), applicants must have a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Students interested in applying for a graduate assistantship must submit an application form and three letters of recommendation to the department or program in which an assistantship is desired. Applications made to the Graduate School will not be accepted. Once the application materials have been reviewed by the department/program and candidate(s) selected, a request will be submitted to the director of the Graduate School for final approval. Once approval is granted by the Graduate School, an acceptance letter must be signed by the candidate. This letter outlines the responsibilities, type of assistantship, and compensation offered through the assistantship and must be returned to the Graduate School before the candidate begins work or any tuition waivers are applied. Some departments have specific requirements for their graduate assistants beyond the Graduate School minimums; each applicant should inquire with the hiring supervisor regarding additional requirements. Note: although the Graduate Assistant Application is often submitted with regular admissions materials, this is not a guarantee that an assistantship will be awarded. The graduate assistant appointment process is completely separate from the ULM Graduate School application process.
Graduate Assistantships fall into three categories:
Teaching Assistant (TA) Teaching Assistantships primarily support instruction. Examples of responsibilities include but are not limited to: teaching classes; grading; leading lab or discussion groups in a course setting; developing academic instructional materials; preparation of lecture and lab materials; conducting review sessions; proctoring exams; overseeing / coordinating the work of other TAs; monitoring or maintaining existing course websites; holding office hours; and other duties as assigned. TAs who are the teacher of record or co-instructors must have earned 18 hours of graduate credit in the teaching discipline.
Research Assistant (RA) Research Assistants primarily work on research projects under the direction of a supervisor. Duties of research assistants vary by discipline. Examples include but are not limited to: literature review; conducting experiments; collecting, organizing or analyzing data; writing reports; presenting findings in publications or conferences; collaborating with faculty in preparing publications; overseeing the work of other RAs; and other research activities as assigned.
Administrative Graduate Assistant (AGA) Administrative Assistants primarily help support functions in an office setting. Examples of responsibilities include but are not limited to: receptionist duties; copying; translation; correspondence; web page assistance; supervising/administrating labs (e.g. STAP labs, Learning Centers etc.); equipment management; network support; publication support; outreach duties; and other clerical duties as assigned.
The vast majority of assistantships begin in the Fall semester. If awarded an assistantship, work will begin on the first class day and will end on the final exam day of that term. Fall and Spring semesters are full 16-week semesters, while Summer I and Summer II semesters are four weeks each. Maymester and Wintersession are three weeks each.
Reappointment is contingent upon two criteria: the graduate assistant making satisfactory academic progress, and satisfactory completion of work duties. Graduate assistants are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and above, and must not earn more than one grade of C in their graduate coursework. If a request is made for reappointment, the student’s major professor must initial the request form indicating that the student is making satisfactory progress towards his or her degree. Receiving a request for reappointment from the student’s supervisor indicates satisfactory completion of work duties.
Upon completion of all coursework, and while working on research, practicums, theses, or dissertations, graduate students are expected to be continuously enrolled (fall, spring) for at least one thesis hour, or three dissertation hours or practicum hours (designated by program) each semester. Students are required to enroll in any term which will require the professional time of faculty and staff.
Graduate Assistantships require full-time enrollment during the appointed semester.
Required Course Load
Graduate assistants are expected to earn no fewer than nine semester hours of credit toward their graduate degree (12 hours for students in pharmacy) during a regular semester, at least six of which must be at the graduate level. During each summer semester, Maymester, or Wintersession, three semester hours of credit are required. Appropriate courses include:
1) Those which are required for the student’s graduate degree;
2) Those which have been identified as deficiencies/prerequisites and are included on the graduate student’s approved degree plan.
All Graduate Assistant (GA) appointments include 20 hours of work per week under the direction of the student’s assigned supervisor. Graduate Assistants are not permitted to hold any other on-campus employment or a second graduate assistantship. Graduate Assistants may not be asked to perform personal duties by or for their supervisors outside the scope of their assigned responsibilities; any changes must be approved in writing by the Program Graduate Coordinator. All GA work must remain within the confines of their assigned job duties and work hours. During published student breaks, GAs are not required to work. For unexpected University closures, Administrative Graduate Assistants paid by the hour are allowed to make up missed time.
All GAs are required to attend orientation, which is held on the Thursday and Friday prior to the first day of class day of the fall and spring semesters. All GAs are expected to attend training, workshops, and professional development activities held during University week (week prior to the start of fall and spring semesters) and through the semester. The first work day/last work day of any term for Graduate Assistants (GAs) is as follows:
AGA: First class day/ Last class day
RAs: First class day/ Last class day
TA’s: Up to 3 business days prior to the first day of class as assigned by the supervisor/ last date of the semester
The dates indicated are determined by the university’s academic calendar. Graduating students may not work past graduation.
Graduate assistants do not accrue vacation, sick leave or other paid time-off.
In the event of illness, a graduate student needs to notify his/her supervisor as soon as possible for any days of absences, and make appropriate arrangements to recover the lost time, in agreement with the supervisor.
For extended leave (>1 wk), due to illness, the student will need to provide medical proof or justification, and contact the major professor and graduate program coordinator. A stipend adjustment may take place accordingly. The Business Manager of the Graduate School must be notified of all stipend adjustments.
For any leave time, the RAs and TAs students must report the start and end dates to the supervisor and major professor. Appropriate arrangements to make up missed work will take place in agreement with the major professor/supervisor.
University graduate assistantships feature a base compensation package that includes a full tuition waiver and out-of-state fee waiver. Students are also awarded a base stipend of at least $3,000 per regular term, $1000 per summer term, or $800 for Maymester or Wintersession. Some departments offer assistantships with stipends that exceed the minimum.
Graduate assistants are required to pay all student assessed fees including general fees, activity fees, ID validation fees, technology fees, vehicle registration fees, international student service fees, and insurance fees.
Remuneration From External Funds
1. Principal Investigators (PI) shall negotiate salary levels for graduate assistants with funding agencies. The PI should work with and have pre-approval from the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (OSPR) and the Graduate School to ensure appropriate funding is designated in the proposal budget. Stipends must be based on special needs clearly documented in the grant and approved in advance of submission of the grant proposal by the academic dean.
2. Stipends must meet federal government minimum wage requirements. Students may not work more than 20 hours /week. (See GA workload policy)
3. All graduate assistantship positions funded from external sources must be carefully and regularly documented as to the hours and dates worked, duties performed, and any other requirements established by the funding agencies. Assistants are required to keep a daily log of time worked and submit reports to their supervisors monthly. All time sheets must be maintained on record for one academic year. For extramurally funded grants, timesheets must be maintained for five years or longer if specified by the granting agency. All timesheets must be maintained in a central location as determined by each graduate program
Late Appointments and Mid-Semester Resignations
All open graduate assistant positions should be filled by the end of the first week of classes each semester. For students who are awarded an assistantship after that date, the tuition waiver and stipend amounts will be pro-rated to adjust to the date work begins. If a student resigns his or her graduate assistantship at any point during the semester, that student will be responsible for the remainder of his or her tuition at a pro-rated rate proportional to the fraction of the semester worked, and will only receive stipend distributions through the final day of work.
All graduate assistants are required to complete the Graduate Assistant Orientation each regular semester. Orientation is mandatory for all Graduate Assistants.
If for any reason an exception to the above policies is requested, the student, student’s supervisor, and student’s major professor (if different than supervisor) must submit letters to the director of the Graduate School describing the exception being requested and detailed reasons for this request. These requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and submitting a request for exception does not guarantee the request will be granted. No requests for exceptions will be considered unless submitted as outlined above.
All graduate assistants must complete a Hiring Packet with their supervisor that must be submitted through Human Resources to Payroll.