Graduate assistantships serve two purposes: (1) to provide graduate students with part-time paid work experiences in their field of study and to allow them to expand and/or apply their disciplinary knowledge and skills under supervision, and (2) to provide GSU faculty and/or university staff assistance in carrying out special projects or other assignments that require the advanced disciplinary skills of graduate students. If you have a graduate assistantship, you can expect both a stipend and a tuition waiver. The department awards two kinds of assistantships: Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs). If you hold either of these assistantships (or both), you should register for at least 12 credit hours per semester during fall and spring semesters and 9 hours in the summer (although summer assistantships are less common than assistantships in the regular academic year). Assistantships in our department are awarded on a competitive basis. The compensation rates for GTAs are typically set by the College; the rates for the GRAs can vary and depend on the supporting grant funding. In some cases, graduate students may be supported by both GTA and GRA appointments. If you are interested in a graduate assistantship (and have not been assigned one), please contact the Graduate Director.
1. Graduate Teaching Assistantships. The number of GTAs awarded is based on the availability of funds and the need for teaching assistants.
- Lab instructors. Typically, graduate students are assigned as a GTA to teach labs for introductory physical science courses (Geog 1112: Weather and Climate; Geog 1113: Landforms; Geol 1121: Introductory Geosciences I; Geol 1122: Introductory Geosciences II; Envs 1401: Introduction to Environmental Science and Envs 1402). GTAs who are lab instructors of these courses do not need prior teaching experience; GTAs will be trained in both pedagogy and in content in two ways: 1) GTAs will take the Teaching Practicum course once per year they serve as a TA, starting with their first semester; 2) GTAs will have weekly meetings with the Laboratory Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). GTAs who teach labs perform a very important function in our department, as thousands of undergraduate students take these courses. In many cases, these introductory courses are the first exposure students have to our department. GTAs who teach lab sections should anticipate lab assignments no later than the first week of the semester, as labs start the second week of classes. Your expressed preferences for labs that meet during certain days and times and/or online are honored when possible. We will do what we can to support you in your role as a GTA, and we expect professionalism (e.g., punctuality, clear communication with students, attendance at weekly meetings, etc.) from you.
- Upper-level courses. Some upper-level undergraduate courses require a laboratory component, and many of these are taught or assisted by GTAs. Typically these assignments are awarded to graduate students who have been enrolled for at least one semester and who have experience in the subject matter.
- WAC consultant. The Writing Across the Curriculum program has a number of opportunities for graduate students to serve as writing consultants for writing-intensive courses. WAC consultants typically receive a stipend of $2000 for the semester in addition to a tuition waiver.
2. Graduate Research Assistantships. The department has a limited number of GRAs, and the number of GRAs varies with both departmental funds and external grant funding.
3. Instructor of record. In some cases, Master’s students may serve as the instructor of record for introductory physical science courses. Typically experienced GTAs receive invitations to serve as instructor of record.