Graduate assistantships

COVID-19 update: Offers of graduate assistantships approved for Fall 2020

Graduate programs continue to be allowed to make offers of graduate assistantships to graduate students for contracts beginning Fall 2020.

Graduate assistants perform a variety of duties from teaching undergraduate classes to grading papers, to conducting research in laboratories. Teaching assistants receive special teaching-skills training through the Graduate School. All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching TA or research RA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship.

Graduate assistantships are awarded by the applicant’s graduate program or academic department, not by the Graduate School. For information regarding the availability of graduate assistantships, please contact the appropriate graduate program director.

Minimal eligibility

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 (upon approval of the Graduate Dean, English Bridge Course credits may be used to help satisfy the enrollment requirements.) A student enrolled in a prescribed program is ineligible for a teaching or research assistantship. These positions are offered through various departments and are paid by grants or state funds. Students interested in these positions must contact the department for specific requirements.

To be considered full-time for federal financial aid purposes, all graduate students, including those on assistantships, must be enrolled in nine (9) graduate credits, to be considered part-time for financial aid reporting purposes you must be enrolled in five (5) graduate credits. For those graduate students who are required to take Intensive English Language Center Bridge Courses, these courses can be considered part of full registration upon approval by the Dean of the Graduate School but these courses will not count for Federal Financial Aid purposes.

Mandatory Graduate Teaching Assistant Training (Grad 701S)

First-time graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) at the University of Nevada, Reno are required to satisfy GTA training requirements by enrolling in GRAD 701S (Preparing Future Faculty: College Teaching I) during their first semester as a GTA. The single, in-person training session is held before the start of the fall semester. GRAD 701S is an orientation and training session that includes instruction in academic standards, professionalism, technology and library resources, FERPA compliance and sexual harassment prevention training.

The departments of Chemistry and English have approved GTA training programs, and graduate students teaching in the Chemistry graduate program are exempt from the GRAD 701S course requirement.

If you are a first-time GTA, this information should be provided to you by your department/graduate program as part of your contract paperwork.

For international students who are offered GTAs, the SPEAK test is required if the TEOFL score is below 24ibt. You can learn more about the SPEAK test at the Writing & Speaking Center.

If you have questions regarding this requirement, please call (784-6869) or email Pam Moore in the Graduate School.

Additional employment

While the Graduate School cannot monitor outside or additional employment for students on assistantships, such additional work is discouraged as it may impede academic success and timely progress towards degree completion. In some departments, acceptance of an assistantship is contingent upon agreeing to limited additional employment.


The Graduate School is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships after a department has requested the initiation of a contract. All positions are contingent upon available funding.

Payment and benefits

Any Graduate Assistantship (either RA/TA) must be provided:

  • at least the minimum monthly salary approved by the University of Nevada, Reno.
  • the approved fringe rate to cover the cost of providing insurance. 
  • a Grants-in-aid/Fee Waiver to cover department share of tuition/per credit fee costs.
    • Grants-in-aid covers up to 9 credits. 
    • Students will have to pay remaining portion of tuition, per credit fees and ALL mandatory and differential fees.
    • An exception to the grants-in-aid/fee waiver is allowed for those graduate assistantships associated with Grants where tuition costs are disallowed. In those cases, the terms of employment must clearly indicate by the checked box: This contract does not include a grant-in-aid to cover tuition/fees.

The Grants-in-aid/fee wavier covers graduate-level courses only, however, in instances where a legitimate case can be made for a graduate student to take undergraduate courses (e.g. for a second language), a letter of exception can be addressed to the Graduate Dean for his/her consideration. Additionally, faculty and students need to be aware that federal financial aid can be affected when a student enrolls in both undergraduate and graduate level credits. Federal financial aid is based on FULL TIME enrollment (9 credits) of graduate-level courses (600-700 level). An enrollment of less than 9 credits of graduate-level courses (600-700 level) will proportionately reduce federal financial aid. State-funded assistantships (TA/RA) may be held for a maximum of:

  • Three (3) years for master's degree students;
  • Five (5) years for doctoral degree students

Additional GA resource links