VII. Graduate Assistantships

Most of the graduate students within the University of Nevada, Reno Geoscience program have a graduate assistantship. Here we outline what is expected of these roles. Students should not be asked to engage in unsafe activities, should not ask others to engage in unsafe activities, and have a right to decline performing tasks that they feel are unsafe.

Graduate Teaching assistantships (GTA) are responsible for assisting with classes and/or leading laboratories associated with classes at a commitment of 20 hours per week. The DGSE Chair will assign which student will TA which class. Graduate students and faculty are welcome to provide recommendations on who would be a suitable TA for what class, but ultimately the decision will be made by the Chair. Please provide recommendations as soon as possible, ideally before TAs are assigned. TAs are expected to generally lead the lab portion of the class, help with field trips and field activities (e.g., field camp TAs), and/or help with grading and proctoring of exams. The activities will be assigned by the instructor of the class. The number of GTAs available every semester are determined by funding available to the Chair of DGSE and the number of graduate students that have completed their degree that were on a GTA. The assistantships have a stipend with a fixed salary of $1600 for MS students or $1900 for PhD students per month for the ten academic months (Aug 1 to May 30), waiver of any non-resident fees, paid student health insurance, a Grant-in-Aid Tuition credit for between 6 and 9 credits. The student is responsible for payment of any other student fees such as Health Center and Counseling.

TAs need to monitor and try to maintain a healthy classroom environment whenever possible. When working with students in the class, TAs are expected to follow the guidelines described the Geoscience community Code of Conduct and treat the students with respect. Students within the class are also required to treat their TA following the same code of conduct. If a TA or student is violating this code of conduct, the person should be reported to the class instructor. If the complainant does not feel comfortable talking to the instructor, they may submit their complaint to Geoscience leadership or the UNR Title IX office.

TAs are required to take a Teaching Assistant Training (Grad 701S) provided by the Graduate School prior to TAing. Additional training in a variety of topics is available through the Title IX office.

Graduate Research assistantships (GRA) are generally tied to specific research projects related to the grant that is providing the RA funding. Thus, the research duties associated with an RA are generally provided by the faculty or staff member that is the PI on the grant. They are also at a commitment of 20 hours per week. The faculty member funding the research assistantship will determine the stipend but it will be no less than that set by the university for the teaching assistantships ($1600 for MS students or $2000 for PhD students). The assistantship also consists of a waiver of any non-resident fees, paid student health insurance, a Grant-in-Aid Tuition credit for between 6 and 9 credits. The student is responsible for payment of any other student fees such as Health Center and Counseling.

All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching GTA or GRA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship.

GTAs and GRAs for incoming, new students are determined at the time the student is accepted into the program. If a student would like to request a state-funded GTA or GRA later in their career, they are advised to email the Chair of the Department as soon as possible to make the request. This does not guarantee the request will be granted.

In addition to the 20 hours spent TAing or RAing, the graduate student is expected to spend an additional time every week on research related to their MS or Ph.D. degree. While the Graduate School and DGSE cannot monitor outside or additional employment for students on assistantships, such additional work is heavily discouraged as it may impede academic success and timely progress towards degree completion. Offer letters clearly state that you must agree to limited additional employment outside of the university to ensure that you complete your degree in a timely manner. Any additional employment needs to be discussed with your advisor, the graduate director, and the DGSE chair before pursuing.

Graduate School: General information  and HR Graduate Assistantship information.