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The University of South Dakota offers qualified post-baccalaureate students financial assistance in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university – known as a graduate assistantship. Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments.  Further inquiries should be directed to the graduate chair of the department.

Graduate Assistantship Rules & Regulations

How to Receive an Assistantship

  1. Graduate assistantships within your academic unit can be offered with admission to the program. You would not need to fill out a GA application. The academic unit uses your admission application to determine that they will offer you a graduate assistantship and therefore you do not need to fill out a GA application. Contact your academic unit for details about their assistantship process.
  2. Graduate assistantships within an academic unit can be offered after admission to the program through the GA application. You may be eligible for graduate assistantships in academic units outside of your own academic program. 
  3. Graduate assistantships within support offices (non-academic units) are offered after admission to a program through the GA application.

Graduate Assistantship Application

If you have not been offered a graduate assistantship with your admission letter to your academic unit, then you will need to fill out a GA application to apply for graduate assistantships still available in your own or other academic units or support offices.

  • The GA application is an electronic form in DocuSign. You do not need specific software to fill out the application. It allows for an electronic signature. Once you submit the form, it automatically is sent to the Graduate School – you do not need to download and email the form. 
  • Please attach your current resume to the application (there is a paperclip icon on the form that allows you to upload your resume and attach).
  • There is no deadline to submit the GA application. You are encouraged to apply as soon as you are admitted to a graduate program.
  • The application can be filled out prior to acceptance to a USD graduate program. If you submit the application before you are admitted to an academic program, it will only be distributed to hiring units once you are accepted to an academic program and deemed eligible to apply for a graduate assistantship.
  • Applications need to be submitted each academic year that you are seeking a graduate assistantship. (For purposes of the GA application process, the academic year will start with fall and end with summer)
  • The Graduate School will email you a confirmation when your GA application has been received. 
  • There is no list of available GA openings. However, your GA application is made available to all GA hiring units. You do not have to apply for a specific academic unit or support office’s GA position. You will be considered for all openings. The GA application will ask you to indicate your preference for a type of graduate assistantship position or if you have spoken to a hiring unit previously.

Graduate Assistantship Application

GA Application FAQs

What is the difference between teaching, research, clinical, and administrative assistantships?
See Graduate Assistantship Rules and Regulations. If you are willing to work in any of the 4 types of GA roles, then you can mark all 4 types.

How do I answer the question “If you have contacted a specific hiring unit about an opening or know of a hiring unit that you would like to work with, please list the unit(s).”
If you have spoken to your academic unit about possibly getting hired as a GA or if you have spoken to a support office on campus about getting hired as a GA – you can write that academic unit or office in the blank for this question. This helps to identify quickly if you have been encouraged to apply by a specific unit/office. You can also list a unit you are interested in working for, however we do not have a list of GA openings. Keep in mind your application will be made available to all hiring units. If you haven’t spoken to a specific unit nor have a specific unit as a preference, you can leave it blank.

How do I answer the “anticipated graduation date” question?
During your application process you were likely in contact with your academic unit or the graduate admissions office– they can let you know how long the program usually takes to complete and they can tell you when you can anticipate graduating. You should answer the question with a semester and a year. 

How long is my GA application active?
Your application is active for up to one academic year. You can also choose specific semesters in that academic year that you are seeking a GA position. The academic year for purposes of the GA application starts with fall and ends with summer. The entire academic year would be fall 2021, spring 2022, and summer 2022. Then you would need a new application for the next academic year. If you are interested in a summer GA position as well as the next academic year, you would fill out two applications. The first would indicate summer 2021. The second application would indicate fall 2021, spring 2022, and summer 2022.

Once I am hired is my GA application still available to all hiring units?
Yes, the application is still available, however it will indicate that you have already been hired. Your application will not move to the next semester in the academic year if you have already been hired for the entire academic year. 

Should I attach a resume?
Yes. The application alone does not indicate your skill set or previous work experience. 

Are there remote/online GA positions?
Unfortunately, most of the GA positions are on-campus, in-person roles. There are sometimes opportunities once you have been hired as a GA to work remotely. That would be up to the hiring unit. However, there are not any specific remote/online GA positions. 


  • Individual hiring units will contact applicants after reviewing applications to offer an interview for their open graduate assistantship.
  • If a hiring unit chooses to offer you a graduate assistantship, they will make you an unofficial offer. The hiring unit will send a hiring notification to the Graduate School to send you the official offer – the GA contract.
  • You will need to be registered for the required credit hours to be contracted as a GA during the fall and spring semesters – please register as early as possible so your contract is not delayed.
  • The official GA contract will be sent to you by the Graduate School via DocuSign. Please read this contract carefully and sign and submit it as soon as possible. Contracts are typically sent one month before the start of the semester you begin your assistantship.
  • You will be sent an email from HireRight to complete a criminal background check; this will occur around the same time you are given your GA contract by the Graduate School. 
  • You will be coded as a GA to receive the discounted tuition rate after your contract is signed, your criminal background check is completed, and you are registered for the required credit hours in any given semester you are contracted as a GA.

All new GAs are required to complete the self-paced online Graduate Assistantship orientation prior to beginning their graduate assistantship.

Graduate Assistant Orientation

For more information about graduate assistantships, contact the Graduate School at 605-658-6173 or by email at