Western Michigan University offers a number of graduate assistantships to support our graduate students. Please contact the individual department to learn about assistantship opportunities. 



  1. Assistantship: Assistantships are awarded to graduate students with the expectation of appropriate professional service. Graduate assistants are apprentices in the profession, and while the service aspect is emphasized in the definition in order to make a distinction, Graduate Assistants, first and foremost, are students and valued members of the community of scholars. They are chosen for their scholarship and manifest interest in the discipline as well as their ability to perform the needed service. The service of a Graduate Teaching Assistant (T.A.) consists primarily of activities directly related to teaching, while the service of a Graduate Research Assistant (R.A.) consists primarily of research activity under the supervision of a faculty member or administrator, and the service of a Graduate Service Assistant (S.A.) includes all other professional work in the unit accepted as appropriate and germane to the student’s educational goal.
  2. Associateship: Associateships are assistantships awarded to outstanding students in doctoral programs. Service may involve teaching, research, or other appropriate professional activity.
  3. Fellowship: Fellowships are awarded to students who have distinguished themselves by outstanding academic achievement or special abilities. Fellowships are provided by the University or by another donor with the approval of the University. The fellowship grant (stipend) is a gift to help the Fellow achieve an educational goal. Most fellowships also carry a tuition scholarship.


The kinds of service required of graduate assistants and associates may vary among departments, each of which determines its own range of appropriate possibilities subject to administrative review. Whatever kind of service is expected, however, a full assistantship in any department consists of twenty hours of service per week or its equivalent. Equivalency is calculated on the basis of the value assigned by a department to the performance of each particular service.


  1. Tuition scholarships: Graduate appointees may, at the discretion of the University, be granted partial (master’s level) or full (doctoral level) tuition scholarships. Any such tuition scholarship will be identified in the appointment letter and on the appointment form. Tuition scholarships are awarded only during the semester(s) or sessions(s) a graduate appointment is held. Students who are granted such partial or full tuition scholarships and subsequently withdraw from a class or from classes after the refund period will be required to repay the portion of the tuition scholarship that was granted as a benefit of the appointment. Any portion of a tuition scholarship that has not been used by the end of drops and adds will be forfeited by the student for that term. Unused tuition awards cannot be carried forward to subsequent terms.
  2. Library: Graduate appointees will be accorded the same privileges and responsibilities as faculty members in the use of library facilities. These are specified in the faculty handbook (Western Michigan University Policy Handbook).
  3. Parking: Graduate appointees are exempt from paying the motor vehicle registration fee, but are required to register their motor vehicles. Application may be made to the Public Safety Annex for parking privileges in designated lots; the appointee will be required to present the student identification card and the letter of appointment.
  4. Campus bookstore: Graduate appointees will be accorded discount privileges on purchases at the Western Michigan University Bookstore in the same manner and degree as faculty and staff members. Discount will be given for current semester or session only; the appointee will be required to present the student identification card and the letter of appointment.
  5. University facilities: Graduate appointees will be accorded the use of University facilities (e.g., student offices, research facilities, etc.) authorized by the director of the facilities on the same basis that they are authorized for part-time faculty.