Academic Policies and Procedures

Research Assistant (RA)

A Research Assistant (RA) must be a graduate student working toward a master's or doctoral degree. Research Assistants are UW–Madison graduate students who are given stipends to support their own education and training. RAs should not be given work assignments unrelated to their own educational pursuits-graduate assistants with significant duties unrelated to their own course of study should be appointed as a PA rather than an RA.

The program will give consideration for an RA appointment based on information provided in the application for admission or, in some cases, in a specific program application form. Research Assistants will receive a letter of appointment or reappointment each semester or year they hold their assistantship. If appointed students have not received such a letter, they should contact their payrolling office.

Note that the RA appointment percentage is merely a mechanism for setting the stipend amount, and does not correlate to any particular requirement for hours of work. The maximum appointment percentage is 50%. However, to account for the potential that RAs may occasionally perform duties that are not directly related to their course of student, the university has deemed an RA appointment to entail 5 hours of compensated employment per week. In no event may an RA be asked to perform more than 5 hours per week of work unrelated to their course of study, regardless of percentage of RA appointment. Find more information here.

See Enrollment Requirements, International Students Maintaining Legal Status, Maximum Levels of Appointments

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