Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Graduate School Policies
Graduate Assistantships
Types of Assistantships

There are three types of graduate assistantships:

Graduate Assistant (GA): GAs provide academic and program support to faculty or departments. GA responsibilities may be administrative in nature and consist of duties unrelated directly to teaching or research (such as academic advising, program planning, advising student groups, and assisting with the administration of student services offices). GA responsibilities also may be academic in nature and include grading examinations, problem sets, and/or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures or laboratory sections, and preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory sections.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA): GTAs assist faculty in the department in the teaching mission, with assignments including laboratory teaching, grading of examinations, problem sets and/or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures and laboratory sections, and preparing or maintaining equipment used in laboratory sections. GTAs must have 18 credit hours of graduate-level course work in their teaching discipline to be assigned full responsibility for teaching an undergraduate course. GTAs lacking this training may be assigned to work under the supervision of a faculty member who will be the instructor of record for the course. Graduate students may assist faculty in teaching graduate courses but may not be the instructor of record for the course.

GTAs are required to attend and be enrolled in the GTA Workshop (GRAD 5004, 1 cr., P/F) in the first fall semester of their teaching appointment at Virginia Tech. Other students who hope to qualify for a GTA appointment in the future should take the workshop in their first semester at Virginia Tech. The workshop consists of Phase I (two half days, Monday and Tuesday of the week before classes start in August) a wide variety of Phase II sessions during fall semester.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA): GRAs conduct research under the direction of a faculty member, who is typically a principal investigator on an external grant or contract that funds the GRA and determines the nature of research work required for the assistantship. The research work required for the GRA is determined by the funding source and is typically beyond research  done for academic credit toward the student's degree.

Additional Employment for Students Holding a Graduate Assistantship

Unless specified otherwise in the assistantship agreement contract, graduate students on full assistantships are not prohibited from seeking additional employment. Students should consult with their academic advisor and/or assistantship supervisor as applicable regarding the fulfillment of their assistantship and graduate study responsibilities. Students must notify the Graduate School about any additional employment agreement, including the period of employment, name and contact of employer, and job title or short description of duties

Academic Eligibility to Hold a Graduate Assistantship

Assistantships may be offered to degree seeking graduate students admitted to Regular (GPA of 3.0 or greater) or Provisional (GPA of 2.75-2.99) status. To continue to be eligible for an assistantship a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be making satisfactory progress toward attainment of a graduate degree. The academic department and the Graduate School may allow a student to continue on an assistantship for one semester of probationary status to remedy grade deficiencies.

Students on assistantships must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours per academic year semester. Audited courses do not qualify in satisfying this minimum. Graduate students holding assistantships during the academic year and/or in the summer are not required to enroll during summer sessions, except if they are taking a preliminary or final examination.