Graduate and doctoral students may be employed as teaching assistants, instructional assistants, research assistants, or graduate assistants in a non-exempt status* from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A prospective graduate/doctoral employee must be enrolled as a regular, degree-seeking student in graduate studies at Texas State University. The information below can also be found in UPPS 07.07.06.
Table of contents
- Graduate teaching assistants and doctoral teaching assistants (GTA/DTA) are employed by an academic department, paid from faculty salaries and reported as the “teacher of record” for an organized undergraduate class. Graduate teaching assistants and doctoral teaching assistants receive a faculty contract for a semester or the academic year and are paid on a monthly basis.
- Graduate instructional assistants and doctoral instructional assistants (GIA/DIA) are employed by an academic department, paid from faculty salaries, but are not reported as the “teacher of record.” Graduate instructional assistants and doctoral instructional assistants are responsible for a specific group of students (typically undergraduate students) and assign some portion of these same students’ grades. If graduate students are assigned as instructional assistants in graduate courses, they cannot grade other students’ work or have access to their grades. In rare circumstances, the dean of The Graduate College will allow an exception for doctoral instructional assistants assigned to master’s level classes, provided there is no conflict of interest. The academic department may pay graduate instructional assistants’ salaries for those assisting in the operation of a lab or an activity or recitation group from course fees collected for this purpose. Graduate instructional assistants and doctoral instructional assistants are typically appointed for a semester or the academic year and are paid on a monthly basis.
- Graduate research assistants and doctoral research assistants (GRA/DRA) are employed by a department or university office and may receive pay from grant or university funds. Chapter 10 of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Field Operation Handbook defines research assistants as students “engaged in research in the course of obtaining advanced degrees and the research is performed under the supervision of a member of the faculty in a research environment provided by the institution under a grant or contract.” If employed on a grant, the work performed must directly relate to the objectives of the grant. Graduate research assistants and doctoral research assistants can be appointed for a semester, the academic year, or the duration of a research project or any portion thereof and are paid on a monthly basis.
- Graduate assistants and doctoral assistants (GA/DA) are employed by a department or university office and may receive pay from grant or university funds. Responsibilities may include research (not under the supervision of a faculty member), technical assistance, and institutional support. To avoid conflicts of interests, graduate and doctoral assistants cannot have access to records of graduate students of their degree granting department. Graduate assistants and doctoral assistants who have access to records must be FERPA trained and sign a confidentiality agreement.
*Non-Exempt Status: A graduate/doctoral assistant is non-exempt if the job is subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FSLA. Human Resources determines whether students need to record working times on an exception basis and are not eligible for paid leave including holidays. Non-exempt students who work over 40 hours in a week will be compensated at time and one-half.
As a condition of employment, all GTAs, DTA, GIAs, and DIAs must complete a total of three hours of professional development course work. The course titles for the required in-service teaching courses vary by department. Some departments offer one three-hour course, some departments offer a two-hour and one-hour course for a combination of three hours, and other departments offer a one-hour course to be taken three times. Assistants enroll in the course offered by the department in which they are employed during their first term of employment and continue to enroll in subsequent terms until the three-hour requirement is met, as applicable. Students may not enroll in this course work beyond the required three hours. Up to a total of three semester hours may be used with other graduate courses to satisfy the minimum nine semester hours of enrollment required as a condition of employment. The university administration will cover the fees and tuition for the required teaching assistantship course (up to a total of three semester credit hours only). These courses are not covered by financial aid.
The minimum course load required during a fall/spring term of employment as a graduate assistant is nine graduate semester hours. Students who enrolled in nine graduate semester hours during the previous spring and fall terms are not required to enroll during the summer; otherwise, enrollment in three graduate hours is required for the summer term. Assistants taking more than 12 graduate semester hours during the fall/spring terms must have approval from the dean of The Graduate College. Similarly, assistants taking more than six graduate semester hours per summer session must have approval from the dean of The Graduate College.
The usual semester-hour teaching load during the fall or spring term is six semester hours or two classes. The usual semester-hour teaching load during a six-week or eight-week summer session is one course (up to a maximum of four hours). A twelve-week summer session carries a normal teaching load of six hours. The dean of The Graduate College must approve any exceptions to these teaching loads. These policies are designed to protect the graduate/doctoral assistant from bearing unfair employment and course load, which facilitates the timely completion of the degree.
The student must hold a master's degree in the teaching discipline or eighteen graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline. (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Principles of Accreditation). The student must have unconditional acceptance into a graduate degree program. The student must enroll in at least nine graduate semester credit hours (SCH) in a graduate degree program each fall and spring semester of employment and in at least three graduate SCH during the summer if their initial enrollment is in the summer. The student must also maintain a minimum 3.0 Texas State grade point average (GPA) in course work leading toward the completion of a graduate degree.
Graduate teaching assistants and doctoral teaching assistants must submit a complete faculty applicant packet that consists of a faculty employment application, official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions, a current vita or resume, a Criminal Background Check Consent Form, and an English Proficiency Form.
To see the full list of academic and enrollment requirements needed to be eligible for an assistantship position, please view The Graduate College's guide.
Applications for assistantships should be sent directly to the department or university office according to their application procedure. It is also possible to apply for certain assistantship positions online through Career Services at Jobs4Cats.
Offers of assistantships are contingent on available funds and admission of the applicant to a degree-seeking graduate program. Graduate assistantship appointments are typically made on the following basis:
- summer term (eight weeks)
- spring/fall term (four and one-half months)
- nine months
- 12 months
The term of an appointment of a research assistant may be based on the period of available grant funding. Renewal is at the discretion of the department or university office for which the student is employed. In all cases, the account manager or the manager’s designee will decide who is hired in accordance with the qualifications and standards required for the position.
Teaching assistants are the instructor of record for the course(s) assigned; however, they are under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline. Instructional assistants are supervised by the instructor of record or laboratory coordinator of the courses assigned. Research assistants are usually supervised by the faculty member or office supervisor with whom they work. All assistantship positions undergo regular evaluation as required by the department in which they are employed.
Assistants are paid in accordance with the following student employee pay schedule.
Assistants may qualify for tuition waivers through Student Business Services. For more details, please refer to the tuition waivers and exceptions list.
Assistants, employed at least half-time (50% FTE) for a minimum period of four and one-half consecutive months, are eligible for employer group insurance plans administered by Human Resources. Assistants are able to make a choice between the Student Health Insurance Plan administered by the Student Health Center and the Employer Group Insurance Program administered by Human Resources. Also, some assistants may already be covered by insurance outside the university and, therefore, may choose not to enroll in a health insurance option offered by Texas State. Assistants should refer to HR's comparison summary in order to make an educated decision.
No person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity sponsored or conducted by Texas State University on any basis prohibited by applicable law, including race, color, age, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
For more information regarding graduate student employment, including the required documentation for your PCR, please visit Faculty Records Frequently Asked Questions.