Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantship (GA) is a generic term referring to financial support of graduate students that results in a stipend and compensation and for which performance of defined duties is expected. Specific graduate assistant appointments are made in one of three categories: research assistants, teaching assistants represented by the Graduate Employees Union, and teaching assistants not represented by the MSU - Graduate Employees Union Collective Bargaining Agreement.

More than 3,000 assistantships are available to qualified graduate students at Michigan State University. The University is concerned with the quality of educational experience that graduate assistants receive, and, for teaching assistants, also the quality of the instruction that they provide to undergraduates.

Graduate assistants are enrolled students whose primary association with MSU is directed toward advance degree completion. Satisfactory progress toward earning a degree is a condition of maintaining the assistantship. Departments may limit the number of years that a graduate student may hold an assistantship.

Graduate assistants are responsible for knowing the specific policies and procedures that govern their particular assistantship and academic program. One good place to look for these is Academic Programs which includes the Illness, Injury, and Pregnancy Leave Policy.

Graduate assistants are covered under other MSU policies, including those regarding laboratory and campus safety, Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace, policy on Religious Observance, Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct in Scholarship, MSU Anti-discrimination Policy, and the policies on Sexual Harassment and Conflict of Interest in Educational Responsibilities Resulting from Consensual Amorous or Sexual Relationships.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs or TAs) are subject to the collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employees Union/American Federation of Teachers. to view the contract, see Graduate Employees Union (GEU) Contract 2019-23.

If a student has completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, then the student should be aware that receipt of a fellowship, scholarship or assistantship may reduce the student's eligibility for federal student loans.  Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at if you have questions.

For graduate programs looking to recruit and retain graduate students who have been accepted into a master’s or a doctoral degree program and whose enrollment will contribute to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion while enhancing their program’s academic excellence and diversity please see the Academic Achievement Graduate Assistantships page.