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.
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 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) 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. GRAD 701S is an orientation and training session that includes instruction in academic standards and student conduct, professionalism, sexual harassment prevention and FERPA compliance, and is held on the Thursday, the week before the start of classes in both fall and spring semesters. For more information on scheduling, check MyNevada or contact the Graduate School.
The following departments/programs conduct approved GTA orientation programs and students teaching in these programs are exempt from the Grad 701S course requirement:
- Core Humanities
- Intensive English Language Center
- World Languages and Literatures
Unless you are GTA in one of the five exempt graduate programs listed above or have already taken the course, attendance at the Grad 701S training session is mandatory.
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 & 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. (For information about health insurance visit Wells Fargo.)
- a Grant-in-aid/Fee Wavier to cover department share of tuition/per credit fee costs.
- Students will have to pay remaining portion of tuition, per credit fees, and ALL mandatory and differential fees.
- An exception to the grant-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 Grant-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
International students serving as Teaching Assistants must meet minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. TOEFL and Test of Spoken English (TSE) minimum scores are below:
|Requirement Part A - Test||Score||Requirement Part B - Test||Score|
|TOEFL paper version||550 or better||Speak Test or Test of Spoken English (TSE)||50 or better|
|TOEFL computer version||213 or better||Speak Test or Test of Spoken English (TSE)||50 or better|
|TOEFL Internet-based version (iBT)||79/80 or better||TOEFL internet based – speaking section OR Speak Test or Test of Spoken English (TSE)||24 or better/50 or better|
|International Language Testing System (IELTS)||6.5 or better||Speak Test or Test of Spoken English (TSE)||50 or better|
The University's Intensive English Language Center (IELC) has resources to assist International Students. The IELC also administers the SPEAK test, which costs $60. Contact the IELC at (775) 784-6075 to schedule a test.
For more information about Graduate Assistantships please visit Human Resources.