Graduate Assistantships FAQs

What is a graduate assistantship?


  • Teaching Assistant I (TA I): A graduate student employed on a salaried basis who is primarily assigned to instructional support activities.
  • Teaching Assistant II (TA II): A graduate student employed on a salaried basis that is the instructor of record for a lecture section of a course and has independent responsibility for its teaching and grading.
  • Research Assistant (RA): A graduate student who is employed on a salaried basis to perform work primarily related to academic research or other similar work.
  • Administrative Assistant (AA): A graduate student who is employed on a salaried basis to perform work of an administrative or technical nature.

Under the terms of the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) contract, a full-time assistantship is defined as 18 hours a week. However, all students, including international students, are permitted to work 20 hours a week on campus while classes are in session.

Graduate assistantships may be awarded to matriculated doctoral, certificate of advanced graduate study, and master's students who are in good academic standing (e.g., GPA of 3.0 or higher). Graduate certificate students are not eligible to receive assistantships. There is no credit minima required to hold an assistantship. Those students on program fee status are eligible for assistantships. International students must hold an F1 visa in order to be eligible to be employed as a graduate assistant.

Who do I ask about a graduate assistantship?

First, make sure that your GPD (graduate program director) knows that you want an assistantship since the GPD awards the assistantships in your program. For assistantships outside your program, you should visit the Human Resources website and search for open assistantships.

As an international student, are there additional requirements for employment?

Yes, international students doing a complete course of study and holding the F-1 Visa are only allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. International students must complete the Non Resident Alien Form and complete the Windstar interview process in the Human Resources Department.

What is the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO)

The GEO is the Graduate Employee Organization at UMass Boston, the graduate employees’ union.