University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Find a Graduate Assistantship

There are several ways to acquire a graduate assistantship at the University. Your department may offer you an assistantship as part of your admission and acceptance to a graduate degree program. In addition, there are other ways to find an assistantship:

  • Check departmental newsletters, bulletin boards, emails, etc., for internally posted positions
  • Visit the Employment System to search and apply for openings
  • Network with current and former professors and departments

With each posting, you will find complete application instructions.


You are eligible to hold a graduate assistantship if you are:

  • Admitted to a graduate school degree program or a post-baccalaureate professional degree program AND
  • Registered for the required minimum number of credits each semester (exception: summer) an assistantship is held.

Registration Requirements

You are required to register for at least six credits per semester to hold one of the following titles and classifications:

  • Administrative Fellow 9531
  • Graduate Instructor 9515
  • Graduate Project Research Assistant 9526
  • Research Assistant 9521
  • Teaching Assistant 9511

Registration must be completed by the first day of employment (in most instances) and maintained for the entire semester. Audit courses do not fulfill registration requirements.

You may register for 1-5 credits in select semesters by applying for an exemption with the Special Graduate Assistant Registration Status (SGARS) (pdf) form. Approval must be obtained from your employer, faculty adviser, and director of graduate studies.

Advanced Masters or Ph.D. candidates are required to register for at least one credit per semester. The credit can be at any graduate level credit but must be 8333 (Masters) or 8444 (Doctoral) in order to qualify for loan deferment.

Important: Tuition benefits only pay for one graduate school credit. If you register for more than one credit, you will be billed for tuition over one credit.

  • Administrative Fellow - 9532, 9533
  • Graduate Instructor - 9517
  • Research Assistant - 9528, 9529
  • Research Project Assistant - 9527
  • Teaching Assistant - 9518, 9519

Note: Registration for GRAD 0999 does not fulfill the registration requirements while holding a graduate assistantship.

Failure to Register

Failure to register for any credits or cancellation of all credits may result in termination of your graduate assistantship.

If you withdraw from all credits, you are responsible for any remaining student account balance.

Note: International students filing for “Exemption from Full Time Status” with the International Student & Scholar Services Office are not exempt from the minimum credit requirements.

Appointment Types

Flexible Hourly

This type of appointment has no set hours to be worked each pay period. These appointments generally require the use of a timecard and may or may not run the full semester. Departments provide an estimate of hours to be worked during the semester. A tuition benefit is then processed. If you work more hours than originally reported, the Graduate Assistant Employment (GAE) office will adjust the tuition benefit, if applicable. If you work less than the estimated hours (even by one hour), or do not work the minimum requirement of 98 hours per semester, you will lose all or a portion of your tuition benefit. You will be responsible for paying back the unearned portion of tuition benefits you receive. In addition, you may lose your non-resident waiver.

Fixed Hourly

This type of appointment has a set number of hours that are worked each pay period and does not require the use of a timecard. There are two types of fixed hourly appointments:

  • Single Semester: A single semester appointment is for one semester only and runs according to the official payroll semester dates.
  • Annual: An annual appointment runs for a 9-month academic or 12-month fiscal year.

Conditional Annual

This type of appointment is used as an alternative to fixed-hourly appointment when a department anticipates that funding will be available for the academic year but is not certain. This appointment type is contingent upon the availability of funding for the position and may be terminated at any time.

Work Study Funds

Graduate students are eligible to use Work Study Awards to fund graduate assistantships. You must maintain registration of at least three credits each semester in which an assistantship is held to receive a federal Work Study award.

You must inform your supervisor if you fall below three credits and/or if there are any changes to your financial aid package which influences your Work Study award.

Questions regarding work study should be directed to the Work Study Coordinator at 612-626-8608.

Assistantships and Graduation

You cannot work as a graduate assistant after the semester in which you graduated. If you graduate mid-term while holding an assistantship, you can continue working in your assistantship title until the end of the term.

Nonnative English Speaking Teaching Assistants

University of Minnesota Language Proficiency Requirements policy requires that all nonnative English-speaking teaching assistants or prospective teaching assistants assigned to teaching, tutoring, or advising duties must:

  • Take the SPEAK Test
  • Score 55 or 60 on the SPEAK Test (TSE)

Federal law requires all employees hired by the University to provide documentation showing proof of U.S. citizenship or aliens authorized to work.