Graduate Student Classification Categories/Job Definitions

UPDATED Fall 2012

  1. Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA): activities include, but are not limited to, duties primarily in support of instruction and educational functions (e.g. teaching classes, leading discussion groups, preparing curriculum, and grading exams).

  2. Graduate Assistant (GA): activities include, but are not limited to, duties primarily in support of administrative functions (e.g. performing clerical functions, maintaining webpages, supervising computer labs, and drafting non-research materials). 

  3. Graduate Research Assistant (GRA):  activities include, but are not limited to, duties primarily in support of fundamental and applied research (e.g. conducting experiments, analyzing data, and drafting research publications for professional journals or conferences). 

Potential FAQ’s under new classifications:

  1. How should my department’s graduate students be classified when they work in a departmental office or lab during terms that they are working on their own research for academic credit?

  2. These students should be classified as Graduate Assistants

  3. My department’s graduate students are required to work for pay in their faculty mentor’s research laboratory.  How should they be classified?

  4. These students should be classified as Graduate Research Assistants.

  5. If a faculty member’s research is not externally funded, does it change the student’s classification?

  6. No. Students are classified based on their activities, not funding source. 

  7. Is it possible for a graduate student to have two classifications simultaneously? 

  8. Yes. It is possible for a student to have two assignments with different classifications, provided that the student’s FTE on each assignment reflects the appropriate effort for that classification.  If, for example, a student spends one half of his/her effort as a Graduate Research Assistant and one half of his/her effort as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, then that student would be classified as 0.25 FTE GRA and 0.25 FTE GTANeither Graduate Research Assistants nor Graduate Teaching Assistants should have bi-weekly assignments.

  9. If a graduate student’s responsibilities are changed during the course of an academic year, can he/she be moved to another classification? 

  10. Yes. If a graduate student’s activities change, his/her classification may be changed, effective the beginning of the next academic term. For example, a student who is a GTA during fall term could be classified as a GRA for the spring term if that classification is more appropriate based on his/her responsibilities.

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