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Graduate Associates

GA appointments complement formal instruction and give the student experience in teaching, research, or administrative activities. 


GA responsibilities should not interfere with a student’s reasonable progress toward completion of the graduate degree.

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. The graduate school recognizes that paid apprentices for research, teaching or service activities at the university can form an enriching experience for graduate students. This section summarizes the major types of paid apprenticeships for graduate students, graduate associate (GA) appointments. In addition, during their program of study some graduate students can support themselves directly through external sources. These include federal aid and loans, sponsorships and scholarships provided by entities external to the university, (summarized in Section 9.6). Additional information may be obtained from the student’s appointing unit, the Graduate Studies Committee, or the Office of Human Resources. Each office participates in the formulation of GA rules.

Titles. The three graduate associate (GA) titles are: Graduate Administrative Associate (GAA), Graduate Research Associate (GRA), and Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA).

Benefits for 50% (and greater) GA Appointments

All graduate associateships include the following benefits:


Paycheck Calendar

Graduate associates appointed for autumn semester will receive their first paycheck at the end of August. GAs on a nine-month appointment will receive one-half of a month’s paycheck in August and one-half in May.

Payroll Deduction

Payroll deductions for student health benefits and other student service fees will occur in four installments for both autumn semester and spring semester. Deductions will be reflected in September through December paychecks for autumn semester and January through April paychecks for spring semester. For summer term, deductions will be reflected in June and July paychecks.

Payroll Deduction Form


2020–21 Appointment Dates

  Autumn Spring Summer
Start August 16, 2020 January 1, 2021 May 16,2021
End December 31, 2020 May 15, 2021 August 15, 2021

2019–20 Appointment Dates

  Autumn Spring Summer
August 16, 2019
January 1, 2020
May 16, 2020
December 31, 2019
May 15, 2020
August 15, 2020

2018–19 Appointment Dates

  Autumn Spring Summer
August 17, 2018
January 1, 2019
May 17, 2019
December 31, 2018
May 16, 2019
August 15, 2019

2017–18 Appointment Dates

  Autumn Spring Summer
Start August 16, 2017 January 1, 2018 May 16, 2018
End December 31, 2017 May 15, 2018 August 16, 2018

Previous appointment dates

Appointment Description

All graduate associates must receive clear, complete, and written information about the terms and conditions of their appointments.  Continued regular, clear communication between graduate associates and their supervisors is critical to establishing and maintaining a positive and productive environment. 

All GA-appointing units are required to use the Graduate School's standard GA Appointment Document for new and renewed GA appointments. Individualized offer letters are also an important part of the graduate student recruitment process. Offer letters should reflect the particular culture and values of the appointing unit and should refer to the GA Appointment Document.

Enrollment Requirements

Student Max Min Max Min
Graduate Associate, 50% 18 8 15 4
Graduate Associate, 25% 18 4 15 2
Graduate Fellow 18 12 15 6
Post-Candidacy Student 18* 3 15 3
For Financial Aid and Fees 18 8 15 8

* Post-candidacy students typically enroll in three hours. Post-candidacy students who wish to take more than three hours should speak with their graduate program.

Students may be eligible for financial aid at half time. Please contact the Buckeye Link for detailed information about financial aid.

Appointment as a GA contributes to the overall objective of earning a graduate degree by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical and personal experience that can be gained only by performing instructional, research, or administrative activities. It is expected that GA responsibilities will not interfere with a student’s reasonable progress (Section 5.4) toward completion of the graduate degree and may align and support the student's graduate degree. It is important for the student, the advisor and the academic unit employing the GA, to understand that the student is to work a maximum of 20 hours per week on duties that are not directly related to their graduate degree. The monitoring of these activities will vary by unit.

Petitions about GA appointments are considered by the Graduate Studies Committee, the Graduate School, or the head of the appointing unit, depending on the nature of the petition. The Graduate School considers eligibility petitions from students who wish to hold a GA appointment but who are on probation, not maintaining reasonable progress toward a degree, or need to take non-graduate courses. The GSCC or head of the appointing unit considers petitions concerning waiver of rules established by the appointing unit.

First Four-Week Summer Session

A typical graduate associate appointment is for autumn and spring semesters. However, work patterns are determined locally, and they may vary due to the first four-week summer session.

If the first four-week summer session is part of a GTA’s established teaching load, for example, no additional pay is required. Alternatively, GTAs who have fulfilled their teaching obligations during autumn and spring semesters may be hired on supplemental appointments to teach during that session.

Other Information About Appointments

Terms of Appointment, Reappointment, or Termination

Appointing Unit Responsibilities


All GAs must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Graduate Degree

    GAs must be pursuing a graduate degree

  • Minimum Registration

    GAs must register for the minimum number of hours for their appointment

  • Good Standing

    GAs must maintain a high GPA and be making reasonable progress toward their degree, see also Section 5.1 of the Graduate School Handbook.

  • Spoken English Certification

    Applies only to international graduate students whose nation of origin has an official language other than English (including those nations with English as one official language among others). Details about certifcation can be found at the ESL siteLearn More

  • Other Requirements

    Learn More

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