Graduate Assistantships

The Department offers graduate assistantships to full-time Ph.D. students.

Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. The Department uses a number of criteria in deciding which students will receive them. The Department seeks assistants who are going to be full-time students, who have excellent academic records, and who have established a record of service if they have held an assistantship previously.

Graduate assistants are assigned to work as research assistants to faculty members; more advanced doctoral students teach introductory-level undergraduate courses. Graduate assistants are expected to work roughly 12 hours per week.

The current average assistantship for doctoral level students is $14,000 for the academic year. Additional funding may be available in the summer. Special awards beyond the base amount may be given to exceptional Ph.D. students. All assistantships come with full waiver of tuition and matriculation fees, although they do require payment of student fees. Assistantships are renewable yearly.

With satisfactory progress through the program and with satisfactory performance as an assistant, students may receive up to four years of assistantship support. In addition, students in the Direct Admit Ph.D. program will normally receive a fifth year of funding. An additional year for the Ph.D. may be requested. Recipients of assistantships who fail to provide the required services or maintain the required credit hours may have their assistantships terminated during the academic year.

The deadline for admission for students who wish to apply for an assistantship is February 1 for Fall admission, though we will continue to consider applicants up to the regular admission deadline as long as funds are available.

There may be assistantships opportunities outside the department for students not awarded a departmental assistantship. Interested students should contact the Director of Graduate Studies for more information. Applicants can also refer to the College’s website for additional funding opportunities (, and admitted students can access the university’s jobs portal for information about assistantship and employment opportunities beyond the political science department (


Assistantship Requirements

Assistantships are for full-time students only, defined as students carrying a 3-course load each semester. Graduate assistants are expected to register each semester for a total of 18 credit hours - nine hours of coursework, and nine hours of graduate research or teaching internship. Students must obtain authorization from the Graduate Director in order to register for research or teaching internship hours. Students who have already completed their coursework should register for a combination of thesis research hours and research or teaching internship hours to reach 18 hours per semester.

An assistantship comes with a tuition waiver and a stipend. Assistantships are renewable each year, contingent upon the student's performance and budget contraints. We expect to fund students for up to 4-5 years. Students are funded over the 12-month calendar year rather than the academic year, and are expected to work during the summer months. While the department encourages students on assistantship not to work outside the department, we do understand that some outside work may be necessary. To ensure that this does not interfere with assistantship responsiblities or progress to degree, however, students on assistantship should not work more than 12 hours per week outside the department.

Advanced Ph.D. students  typically have an opportunity to teach one or more classes on their own before going to the job market. All graduate students teaching a course must have taken the department's teacher training course, offered every Maymester.

Assistantship Policies

  • For graduate students on assistantship, we expect to fund PhD students for up to 4 years (5 for those in the Direct Admit program), contingent upon satisfactory progress and performance. Students on assistantship will be reviewed yearly to ensure satisfactory progress and performance. Students on assistantship will be reviewed yearly to ensure satisfactory progress and performance, including but not limited to adherence to the following policies and satisfactory performance in their assistantship duties. Students on assistantship are expected to be full-time students, and any employment outside the department is limited to no more than 12 hours per week.
  • All students on assistantships are expected to make satisfactory progress through their program of study. Satisfactory progress includes, but is not limited to, adhering to all deadlines stipulated in the Graduate Catalog.
  • All students on assistantship who have completed at least 18 hours of coursework must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or better, calculated from the date when the student was first awarded the assistantship.
  • Any grade below a C received in a graduate seminar will result in an immediate revocation of the student's assistantship.
  • All students on assistantship must complete the requirements for any Incomplete within the two semester limit established by the University. Failure to complete these requirements, reflected by the Incomplete automatically converting to an F, will result in an immediate revocation of the student's assistantship.
  • All students on assistantship must abide by the University's Policy on Academic Honesty. Any student found guilty of violating the Academic Honesty Policy will be immediately removed from his/her assistantship.
  • All doctoral students on assistantship must take during the Maymester of their first year the "teaching" course (POLS 8997). All other doctoral students are strongly encouraged to take this course as well.

Multiple Submissions Policy:

Students must receive prior written approval from the relevant instructors in order to (a) submit the same paper or large portions of said paper simultaneously for two graduate seminars and/or (b) submit a paper for a graduate seminar based in substantial part on a previously submitted paper. Individual instructors may impose additional requirements if they choose to allow these submissions.