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Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistant is both a student and employee, this unique position allows you to gain work experience in your field for a reduced tuition rate.

Graduate Assistantships–What You Need To Know

An assistantship is awarded to a graduate student in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university. In recognition of this support, a stipend is earned and a portion of their tuition is waived. Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments.

From reviewing the rules and regulations to understanding the applications process, the Graduate School can answer any questions you have in regards to securing a teaching, clinical, administrative or research assistantship.

Graduate Assistant Jobs

You may apply for an assistantship within the academic unit to which you've been accepted or to any other academic units or support offices (non-academic units) outside of your academic unit. Some assistantship positions are offered with admission to a program. If this is the case, you won't need to complete the GA application.

Benefits of Graduate Assistantships

  • Obtain professional experience to prepare you for your career
  • Receive reduced tuition rate
  • Earn a monthly stipend
  • Receive reduced tuition rate in following summer without a work service requirement

GA Eligibility Requirements

Several requirements must be met before you can apply for an assistantship:

  • You must be a regularly admitted graduate student in good academic standing 
  • You must maintain a 3.00 GPA to retain the assistantship
  • You must maintain active status and be registered for at least nine credit hours during fall/spring semester and one credit hour for any summer session
  • If selected, you must successfully pass a criminal background check and sign an intellectual property and confidentiality agreement
  • Provisionally admitted students are not eligible to apply until all provisions have been met
  • If you are an international student, you must meet admission requirements and any additional departmental requirements depending on the type of assistantship

Types of GA Positions

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Graduate Teaching Assistants may be responsible for instructional delivery, team-teach or provide instructional support, or perform academic-related activities and projects for the department.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

Graduate Research Assistants provide advanced level support related to research and creative activities to assist faculty in the research process. You may conduct experiments, perform simulations, write or edit reports, conduct surveys and more.

Graduate Clinical Assistant (GCA)

Graduate Clinical Assistants are assigned to clinical faculty to assist in the clinical setting. You may perform various duties, including scheduling appointments, payment processing, greeting and prepping patients, updating medical records and more.

Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA)

Graduate Administration Assistants work with department heads, deans, directors or other administrators to perform administrative duties, technical tasks or manage projects.


Assistantship Application

If you did not receive an assistantship position with admission to your program, you may submit a GA application to the Graduate School to apply for an assistantship. You will receive an email confirmation once we receive your application.

Assistantship FAQs

Graduate School staff welcome new incoming graduate students at orientation

GA Orientation Required

The Graduate School has compiled a series of online orientation materials to assist in your transition to or continuation in graduate education at USD. Please complete the self-paced online orientation before you begin classes and refer back to these resources at any time throughout your time at USD.


View Graduate Orientation

Success Story

Photo of Bradley Sowell
My undergraduate professors in Georgia recommended USD for my Master of Music program. After researching the program and applying, I was offered a graduate assistantship. I was impressed with its high level of excellence and the knowledgeable and connected professors that have years of experience to share and professional connections to help their students reach the next level.

Bradley Sowell

M.M. Music, Vocal Performance '19
Vermillion, South Dakota

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