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What sorts of assistantships are there and what do they involve?

The Religious Studies Department offers, on a competitive basis, several types of assistantships. All types of assistantships include a full waiver of tuition. All students granted an assistantship, whether residents or nonresidents, pay only the flat fee mentioned above.

In addition, assistants receive a stipend of $3,000 or more per semester. Assuming satisfactory performance, students admitted with assistantships can usually expect to receive four semesters of stipend support. Support past this time is possible but should not be expected.

All types of assistants must register for at least 18 hours of graduate level credit each semester. These 18 hours should include at least 3 hours of Rels 8960, Research Assistantship. Students who receive an assistantship for the summer term must register for 12 hours during the summer semester. While the specific tasks asked of assistants vary somewhat from year to year, what follows should provide some sense of what an assistant might expect to do:

  1. Some assistants work with professors doing such things as seeking research materials, proofreading, indexing books, and writing summaries of literature on a specific topic.
  2. Some assistants work with professors doing such things as mechanical grading, collating materials, proctoring exams, and sometimes attending undergraduate classes.
  3. Some assistants (Graduate Teaching Assistants) are the primary instructors of classes of RELS 2001, Introduction to World Religions.

How do I apply for an assistantship?

There is no special application form. Unless a student asks not to be considered for an assistantship, all those newly accepted into the program are considered. Students must be enrolled in classes full time (18 graduate level credit hours) and be in residence to receive an assistantship.

How does the department decide who gets an assistantship?

The department is forced to make difficult decisions and cannot provide assistance to all those who deserve it. For those applying to the program, assistantship decisions are based on the materials in the admission file and the procedure is similar to the one described under "Admission." For students in the program, factors such as GPA, progress towards the degree, and the professors' views of the academic ability of the applicant are considered.

When do assistants get paid?

On the last business day of the month. Note that the first paycheck of an academic year is paid on the last of September.

Where can I find more detailed information on Georgia State University tuition and fees?

Visit the webpage for the tuition and fees and follow the links.

How are summer teaching assignments determined?

Only a very limited number of RELS 2001 sections are offered during the summer. We recognize that there are many talented graduate student instructors who may wish to teach during the summer, and there may be more instructors than sections. Summer teaching assignments will be made according to the three factors listed below. No teaching assignments will be made to students whose GPA falls below 3.2 (where GPA includes all graduate-level letter-graded courses). The compressed teaching schedule in the summer makes instruction especially challenging, so graduate students who have taught RELS 2001 at least once will be considered for teaching positions before students who have not taught the course before are considered.

  1. Grades (overall GPA, and GPA in religious studies graduate courses)
  2. Academic Progress (how close student is to normative progress, that is, beginning thesis at the start of the second year and completing thesis by the end of the second year)
  3. Teaching Experience and Excellence (student evaluations and assessments of RELS 8970/8980/8985 instructors