Graduate Assistantships

Academic Standards

The graduate assistantship is intended as an award to students who have demonstrated high academic performance and potential either at the graduate or undergraduate level. As a graduate assistant you will be considered a UNO employee with a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend.

  • Graduate assistants must be students in good standing in a degree or certificate program in the Graduate College.
  • Dismissal from a graduate program for any reason shall result in simultaneous dismissal from any graduate assistantship position. The student will not be eligible for an assistantship thereafter until fully reinstated in a graduate degree or certificate program.

Apply, Recruitment, Selection, and Renewal of Graduate Assistants

  • Each graduate department/school or other unit, as appropriate, shall establish its own procedure for graduate assistantship recruitment and selection in accordance with university policy on affirmative action/equal opportunity.
  • Assistantships are not automatically renewable and are dependent upon assessment of work and classroom performance. The student is reminded that, whether or not outside work commitments are involved, graduate assistantships may not be renewed if either graduate class work or assistantship duties are not carried out in a satisfactory manner.


  • The workload for a graduate assistant should average 20 hours per week for the duration of the appointment and shall be construed to be the equivalent of .33 FTE.
  • The department/school or unit in which the graduate assistant is employed should make arrangements with its assistants regarding vacation periods.
  • The graduate faculty considers a student who is pursuing graduate study and holding a graduate assistantship to be carrying the equivalent of a full-time workload (see course load below) and, therefore, discourages the practice of holding additional jobs which may interfere with satisfactory performance of assigned duties.

Course Load

  • Graduate assistants are expected to carry a minimum of six graduate hours in each of the fall and spring semesters; graduate assistants working in the summer semester are not required to be concurrently enrolled.
  • Graduate assistants may not register for more than 12 semester hours without the approval of both their supervisor and the dean for Graduate Studies. The graduate assistantship will not pay for more than 12 semester hours in a semester.
  • The six-hour minimum may be waived if the student is in the last semester of graduate work and needs less than six hours of graduate credit in order to complete requirements for graduation. For doctoral candidates, the six-hour minimum enrollment also may be waived with the approval of their supervisor and dean for Graduate Studies, if all required course hours except the dissertation have been completed. In either case, students still must register for one course.


Duties assigned to graduate assistants should be directly related to and in support of graduate studies in their chosen field of study. Typical examples would be one or more of the following:

  1. Teaching courses or discussion sections at the undergraduate level.
  2. Instructing and supervising undergraduate-level laboratories or tutorial sections.
  3. Grading or otherwise evaluating performance of undergraduate students.
  4. Collecting and/or processing research data for faculty members.
  5. Preparing materials for laboratories or classroom presentations.

In general, other duties which involve direct knowledge and application of knowledge related to the student's field of study would be acceptable. Graduate assistants should not be utilized solely for clerical duties.

It shall be the responsibility of each graduate program committee, in consultation with the cognizant department chairperson or program director, to draw up an agreement with each graduate assistant at the time of the appointment which shall specify the stipend, duration and method of payment, the assistant's duties, and the general conditions of employment. The agreement shall be reviewed by the graduate assistant before it is signed by him/her and the chairperson of the graduate program committee. The graduate program committee, upon the recommendation of the graduate assistant's faculty supervisor and/or the department chairperson/school director or unit director, shall have the responsibility to review the assistant's performance and to terminate the appointment for failure to discharge satisfactorily the duties specified in the agreement.

Lengths of Appointments

Assistantships may be awarded on an academic, calendar-year or semester-by-semester basis.