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Graduate Assistantships at Western Michigan University
Types of Assistantships Available at WMU
Western Michigan University offers three categories of graduate assistantships: teaching, research discovery, and research application. The research discovery and research application categories are new as of Spring 2012 semester, and replace the former research and service categories. Assistantships can be offered as full-time (equivalent to 20 hours of service per week), 3/4-time (15 hours/week), 2/3-time (13 hours/week), or half-time (10 hours/week). Students can hold two half-time assistantships concurrently but under no circumstances may one student hold more than the equivalent of one full-time appointment.
The three categories of assistantships are further described below:
Teaching assistantships are offered by academic programs to graduate students who will provide instructional support, either as a primary instructor of record (with primary responsibility for teaching a course) or secondary instructor of record (serving as teaching assistant to a professor teaching a course or providing other support such as leading recitation or lab sessions, grading, tutoring, etc.). The normal teaching assignment for a full-time teaching assistant is two 3-hour courses, or the equivalent as determined by the department. Most students who receive teaching assistantships are hired by the program in which they are seeking a degree; thus, the first place to inquire about a teaching assistantship is with your academic department. Some programs have deadlines for applying for teaching assistantships (check here). All teaching assistants are automatically members of the Teaching Assistants Union (TAU) and subject to the terms of the contract between the University and TAU.
Research discovery and research application assistantships are offered by some departments around the University. Research discovery assistants provide support on research projects to individual professors or a department. Students interested in a research discovery assistantship should inquire first with their academic department or college (not sure which college your program is in?--check here.). Research application assistants can be found in a wide variety of offices at WMU, including academic colleges, the University Libraries, Office of Residence Life, Sindecuse Health Center, Student Activities and Leadership, the University Counseling and Testing Center, etc. Research application assistants provide a wide variety of support services to University offices, including general office support and providing professional services such as advising, counseling, physical therapy, etc. in a clinic or office setting. Postings for research application (and some research discovery) assistantships can be found on BroncoJobs, which is the official on-campus employment recruiting site at WMU. Students may also directly inquire about potential research application assistantships at one of the offices mentioned above by sending a cover letter expressing interest in a position along with a resume or vita.
Requirements for Holding a Graduate Appointment at WMU
In order to hold a graduate appointment at Western Michigan University, a graduate student must be fully admitted to a graduate program, in good academic standing (i.e., GPA of 3.0 or better), and enrolled full-time (i.e., at least 6 hours in Fall or Spring and 3 hours in Summer I or II) during the appointment. All new graduate appointees, or those teaching at WMU for the first time, must attend Graduate Assistant Training offered by the Graduate College during the week prior to the start of Fall classes.
Pay and Benefits for Graduate Appointees at WMU
Current information on minimum stipend rates and tuition remission amounts for all categories of graduate assistants can be found here. The graduate appointee information sheet also posted on this site explains the privileges and benefits available to graduate appointees.
Important Tax Withholding Information from Payroll:
Stipend and tuition remission rates are based on whether an appointee is a master's or doctoral student and there are three levels of appointment available:
Doctoral associateships (DAs) are awarded to select doctoral students. These students are paid at the Doctoral Associate rate and receive up to 9 hours of tuition remission per semester and 3 hours per summer term during each term of appointment.
Doctoral graduate assistantships (DGAs) are awarded to doctoral students. These students are paid at the Graduate Assistant rate and receive up to 9 hours of tuition remission per semester and 3 hours per summer term during each term of appointment.
Graduate assistantships (GAs) are awarded to master's students. These students are paid at the Graduate Assistant rate and receive up to 7 hours of tuition remission per semester, (going up to 8 hours in 2013-14) and 3 hours per summer term during each term of appointment.
Tuition remission for appointments that are less than full-time is pro-rated according to the level of appointment (e.g., half-time assistants receive half the tuition remission rates given above). However, students who receive a partial appointment (and thus a partial tuition remission) are still required to be enrolled full-time unless an underenrollment has been approved by the Graduate College.
FAQs about Graduate Appointments
FAQs for WMU Graduate Appointees (Doctoral Associates, Graduate Assistants)
Last revised: July 17, 2012