Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships appointed at 33.3% or higher (>13 hours/week) provide multiple benefits:

  • monthly stipend;
  • remission* of both resident and non-resident tuition (students will still need to pay segregated fees, roughly $726/semester); and
  • eligibility for health insurance (health insurance options for a reasonable premium are among the country’s best group health insurance plans), with appointments of at least a full semester (for academic year positions) or six months (for annual positions). Student employees paid on an hourly basis are not eligible for the graduate benefits package.

*Graduate students enrolled in service-based pricing programs, such as online and accelerated programs, are ineligible to receive tuition remission.

Graduate students should consult with their graduate programs and read their admission and appointment letters carefully to understand their benefits eligibility.

Skill development

Students also gain valuable skills through assistantship roles.  This work may apply directly to their career goals or build broad, transferable skills in areas like communication, teamwork, and leadership.

“Through this position, I have developed a broad understanding of higher education issues… and continued to strengthen my applied analytical and technical skills.”
-Project Assistant

Minimum stipend levels

The campus stipend rates for 50% graduate assistantship appointments in 2024-25 are:

Research assistantship
Annual: $32,396
Academic: $26,506

Teaching assistantship
Academic: $26,506

Project assistantship
Annual: $32,396
Academic: $26,506

Lecturer Student Assistant
Academic: $29,068

PA grader/reader
Hourly rate: $25.83

Assistantship stipends by program

Graduate programs may adjust stipend amounts above the campus minimum to remain competitive in attracting top students. The Graduate School reviews, approves, and posts program rates annually.

More information on the process for setting graduate assistantship minimum stipends and program rates is available in the UW–Madison policy library.

Investing in graduate assistants

UW–Madison, through internal, extramural, and gift funding sources, supports over 5,400 graduate students – including 71% of doctoral students – through graduate assistantship appointments. The university’s continued investment in graduate students has resulted in minimum stipend levels at or above the peer institution median.

Read more about how UW–Madison supports graduate assistants.

Four years of graduate assistantship minimum stipend increases planned

UWMadison has committed to increasing minimum graduate assistant stipends for the next four years in a forecasting plan, which emphasizes factors that are critical to student success: tuition remission, health and dental insurance benefits, paid vacation and sick leave, and mentorship training. The new approach gives students, principal investigators, departments, programs, schools, and colleges the ability to budget for increases to minimum stipends several years into the future.

Finding and applying for graduate assistantships

The vast majority of graduate assistantship positions are not posted publicly or available to all graduate students. Instead, they are “owned” by particular graduate programs and are reserved for students in those programs. Programs use their own internal processes to award assistantships to students. To find out how your program awards assistantships, you should contact your program.

A smaller number of graduate assistant positions are not reserved for students in particular programs, and any graduate student can apply for those positions. Those positions are usually listed as they become available on the website of the Student Job Center. Generally, the positions are posted relatively close to the time they will start, so positions that start in the fall semester will usually be posted in July or August.

Browse UW Graduate Assistantships

Teaching Assistant Orientation and Training

Many programs offer specialized Teaching Assistant (TA) training during orientation, the week before classes begin. Other programs offer teaching methods seminars for their TAs. Some schools and colleges offer TA orientation sessions (typically during orientation week in August). Students should contact their program’s graduate coordinator or payroll representative for more information, or call one of the deans’ offices listed above.

Letters and Science TAs should watch for information from the L&S TA Training and Professional Development Office.

College of Engineering TAs should look for information from the Collaborative for Engineering Education and Teaching Effectiveness.

For international students

The International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Training Program, coordinated by the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program, helps non-native English speaking TAs (or potential TAs) improve their oral communication and classroom teaching skills.