College of Engineering

Guidelines for Graduate Assistantship Appointment


Only graduate students in good standing are eligible to receive graduate assistantship appointments. Funding for a student on first occurrence of probation may receive funding only under exceptional conditions. No student can be appointed as a graduate assistant before admission is approved by the academic unit.


Graduate Assistant (GA) appointments may start a few days before or after the start of the semester as appropriate with prorated pay. GA appointments may be for one semester, academic year or 12 months. GTA’s are normally appointed for a semester or academic year amounting to a full 8 months. It must be made clear to GRAs that they are expected to work, on the average, the number hours per week as indicated in the Personnel Action Form (PAF). GAs are not eligible for extended vacation during the winter holiday break. The appointment of a GA who is leaving campus for several weeks during the winter break should be terminated on the last day of work. Exceptions may be made for only those who have written plans and written agreements with their faculty advisors to continue the research work while away from the campus. No GA appointments can be made before the student is admitted.

Graduate Assistant Rules

In general, the following is to be considered as the minimum rate per month for full (20 hours/week) assistantships for students in the College of Engineering.

1. $1200 - for a master’s student appointed full time.

2. $1500 for a doctoral student appointed full time.

3. $1300 for Direct PhD admits

4. All GRA appointments funded by external sources should also be at the above level or higher. Partial assistantships should be at a minimum of 50% (10 hours/week).

Tuition and Fees Paid

Current Graduate Studies policy requires a minimum of 6 and maximum of 12 credit hours per semester for full-time GA’s. Tuition and Fees should only cover courses specified by student program of study and approved by graduate advisor and consistent with department, college and university policies.

Assistantship Eligibility Time Limits

Master of Science students in engineering are normally eligible for assistantship for a maximum period of two calendar years from the date of first enrollment at TTU for the degree. The two-year limitation is irrespective of how many semesters the student has received assistantship support or at what level. Similarly, doctoral students are eligible for assistantship for a maximum of three calendar years from the date of first enrollment until they achieve candidacy. The student is encouraged to have passed the comprehensive examination and have the research proposal accepted by the committee by the end of their second year.

The Associate Dean of Engineering for Research and Innovation may approve assistantship support beyond the above mentioned periods on receiving written request from the faculty advisor with recommendations from the Department Chair and Center Director. (See Justification for Funding Extension Form in Appendix).

The request should include the reasons for the requested extension, the current status of the progress towards the degree, and the expected date for graduation. Examples of acceptable reasons include change of research topic of advisor, interruption in enrollment due to health reasons, and the need for the services of the student to teach a class or to complete a sponsored project.

For Direct PhD admits

The initial time limit to achieve candidacy is 4 years from enrollment into the PhD program. The same justification process and approval must be followed as above for exceeding this time limit.

Academic Course Load

In general, a full-time GA is expected to carry a credit hour load of minimum 6 hours during fall and spring semesters. Given the time limits for funding noted above, students should carefully plan their studies, coursework and research credits with their advisors and committee to meet their time limits. It is recommended that academic course loads should not exceed 15 credit hours.

Note: All MS students who receive more than one semester of support as GTA or GRA must complete a thesis and are not allowed to pursue a non-thesis option .

Example of Performance Expectations for Continued Funding for Graduate Assistants

You cannot be compensated for work done prior to signing of the official contract. You will be notified when your contract is ready to be signed and should report to Human Resources as soon as possible. Please bring the signed contract to the Dept./Center.

You must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and pursue your degree in accordance with the requirements of your academic department, the College of Engineering, and the University.

You should maintain a full-time status during the regular academic year.

As part of your assistantship, it is required that you complete a semester progress report for the Dept./Center. Your faculty advisor must sign (authorize) this report.

When your assistantship is funded internally, using state appropriation money, continued funding is dependent upon available resources.

You must have full support and endorsement of your faculty advisor.