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Graduate Assistantships

Financial Awards for Graduate Students

Graduate assistantships are available to full-time graduate students who meet the requirements listed under the Graduate Assistantship Guidelines. Stipends vary by program and college. To find out about available assistantships, contact your graduate program director. Assistantships outside of your program may also be advertised through Career Development Services and Student Engagement & Enrollment Services.

Nature of Graduate Assistantships

A Graduate Assistant (GA) is expected to participate directly in either instructional, research, or administrative duties in support of the ongoing activities of the University's academic, research, and service units.

It is the University's intention to make the assistantship an integral and valuable part of the student's graduate education. It should be viewed as an apprenticeship in teaching, research, or administrative service.

Categories of Graduate Assistants

Administrative Assistant (GAA)

Participates directly in the support of the activities of a University administrative unit (e.g. student services or athletics).

Research Assistant (GRA)

Participates directly in research or support activities conducted by faculty members or administrators. The University recognizes two categories of graduate research assistant responsibilities and activities: GRA-Faculty Assistants and GRA-Project Assistants

  • GRA-Faculty Assistants assist faculty on non-sponsored research activities.
  • GRA-Project Assistants assist faculty on sponsored research projects funded through external grants and contracts managed by the Old Dominion University Research Foundation, or through funds generated by the Educational Foundation or gift accounts.

Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Participates directly in teaching activities, such as the teaching of a course, holds responsibility for a laboratory section, or is assigned to specific instructional support or related activities. The University recognizes two levels of graduate teaching assistant responsibilities and activities: GTA-Instructors and GTA-Assistants.

  • GTA-Instructors directly communicate and interact with students in ways that lead to the conveyance of knowledge or skills required to successfully complete the course. Included in this category are graduate students who serve as instructors, laboratory supervisors, recitation leaders, and tutors.
  • GTA-Assistants do not directly instruct students; instead, they serve as graders and/or classroom or laboratory assistants.

Information For Students

Applying for an Assistantship

Application forms for graduate assistantship stipends paid by the University (GTAs, GRAs, and GAAs) are available from the Office of Admissions or from the University's web page. The completed form, together with a brief essay by the applicant discussing academic interests and career objectives, must be submitted to the appropriate graduate program director or office making the appointment, as soon as possible for fullest consideration. Applications for GRA positions funded through ODURF are made through the faculty member who is the principal investigator, the department chair, or graduate program director.


  1. Only students admitted to graduate degree programs in regular or provisional status on the basis of complete and fully evaluated credentials and in good academic standing are eligible for appointment to a graduate assistantship. Additional criteria apply for appointment as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) (see section on appointments).
  2. All students appointed to a graduate assistantship are required to verify their identity and employment eligibility and complete an I-9 Form, according to University procedures, prior to commencing their duties. This requirement is established in order to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Students are also required to complete the Child Support Disclosure and Authorization Form, the Commonwealth of Virginia's Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs Form, ODU Use of Electronic Communications and Social Media Form, the Commonwealth of Virginia Selective Service Form, and the Employee Payroll Direct Deposit Authorization Form.
  3. Students who are not in good academic standing are ineligible to hold an assistantship. Assistantship appointments will be terminated for any student whose GPA is less than 3.0.

Work Schedule

Graduate assistantships require 20 hours per week of service and are generally made for a period of one academic year with a nine-month performance period. For a GTA (instructors and administrative assistants), the work load should include no more than six hours of classroom teaching or nine contact hours of laboratory supervision per semester, plus normal preparation time.

Nominations should be submitted at least 30 days before the semester of employment in order to assure adequate time for processing. A graduate assistant funded through a grant or contract may be appointed for shorter periods if required by the conditions of the grant or contract.

An assistantship workload (20 hours per week) may be divided between teaching and research duties with the approval of the dean of the appropriate academic college. A graduate assistant appointment may be renewed upon nomination, review of qualifications, and satisfactory previous performance.

Additional Employment

Full-time (20 hours per week) graduate assistants are not permitted to accept additional on-campus employment during the period of their assistantship. In particular, graduate assistants (graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, and graduate administrative assistants) may not be paid for part-time teaching or other campus employment for the University in addition to their normal responsibilities. Exceptions to this policy may only be made under unusual circumstances and only with the approval of the dean of the appropriate college or equivalent administrator upon the written recommendation of the graduate program director and the department/school chair. Any outside employment (i.e., off-campus) should be undertaken with caution and in consultation with the GPD. It should in no way adversely affect academic performance or assistantship duties and responsibilities. Information on employment guidelines that are specific to international students may be obtained from the Office of Visa and Immigration Service Advising (VISA).

Grievance Process

Should a graduate assistant believe that his/her assigned duties and/or the workload required to fulfill these duties do not conform to university graduate catalog policies, he/she should first attempt to reconcile the grievance with his/her academic/nonacademic immediate supervisor. If the grievance is not resolved, the graduate assistant will ask his/her graduate program director (GPD) to mediate the grievance between him/her and the immediate supervisor. If the GPD is the student's immediate supervisor, the GPD chair/dean's designee will attempt to mediate. If the chair is the student's supervisor, the GPD shall refer the case directly to the dean or the dean's designee. If this course of action does not resolve the grievance, the GPD/chair/dean's designee will seek mediation with the supervisor of the student's immediate supervisor. If a resolution cannot be achieved, the chair/dean's designee will appoint an ad hoc committee comprised of two senior faculty members from the student's department and one senior faculty member from another department. If the student's assistantship is a non-academic unit, the third member will be a senior level administrator from the nonacademic unit. Should the committee not resolve the grievance, it will be referred to the dean of the student's college for a final decision. For matters involving sexual harassment and/or discrimination, please see the "Student Complaint Procedure" or the "Discrimination Policy" in this catalog.

Information For Faculty & Staff

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