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.
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.”
Investing in graduate assistants
UW–Madison, through internal, extramural, and gift funding sources, supports over 5,400 graduate students – including 72% 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.
Minimum stipend levels
The campus stipend rates for 50% graduate assistantship appointments for 2023-24 are:
Lecturer Student Assistant
Hourly rate: $22.66
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. View 2023-2024 program rates.
More information on the process for setting graduate assistantship minimum stipends and program rates is available in the UW–Madison policy library.
Instructional positions that include such duties as lecturing, grading papers, supervising laboratories, leading discussion sections, or developing course curriculum
Project-related assignments such as coordinating programs, organizing events, analyzing data, or supporting student services
Research under the guidance of a faculty member
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.
Office of Human Resources Policies
Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures (GAPP) outlining employment-related practices for graduate student teaching assistants, research assistants, and project assistants.
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.