The George Washington University has two types of assistantships for graduate students: Graduate Assistantships (GAs) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs).

  • Graduate Assistants (GAs) are graduate students appointed to carry out activities such as teaching, light research, or administrative duties directly related to their programs of study. 
  • Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) are graduate students who are employed by the university to assist professors with their research. 


Learn more about Graduate Assistantships (GAs) 

 Learn more about Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs)


Assistant­ship awards are usually made for the full academic year (but can also be one semester only). Responsibilities vary among departments, but work must average no more than 20 hours per week and may include assisting teaching, grading papers, or teaching laboratory sec­tions, assisting with writing grants, and some research or administrative assistance related to the students’ academic programs, as examples. 

All Graduate Assistants (GAs and GRAs) are paid a graduate salary. Assistant­ship salary payments may vary by school, department, or sponsored project and include: payment for providing teaching, research, or administrative assistance related to the awardees’ academic program. Some GAs also receive stipend fellowships and/or tuition fellowships. These fellowships do not require additional service and are merit awards.

How to Obtain an Assistantship Position

All assistantships are offered and managed directly by departments. If you are interested in obtaining an assistantship, please reach out to your department to inquire about current assistantship availabilities.

Assistantship Policies

Graduate Assistants must be enrolled for the number of credits required by their awards for the entire award period. Other conditions may exist for your award; if the requirements are not met, stipend and salary payments and tuition awards can be jeopardized. Please note that by University Policy, stipend checks can only be released if the recipient is enrolled.

Assistantship salary payments may vary by school and department.

Assistantship salary checks are issued on the last business day of each month, beginning on the first day of a month and ending on the last day of a month.

  • Checks can be electronically deposited in a U.S. bank or mailed to a student’s local address if direct deposit is not set up.

All questions on payments should be directed to your awarding office. Your awarding office is indicated by the contact information listed at the bottom of your award letter. If you do not have an award letter please contact the department that has appointed you as soon as possible. If any problems cannot be resolved contact  [email protected].

Some GAs/GRAs may have a stipend award in addition to their GA/GRA salary. A stipend is awarded to cover living expenses, requires no services and is a merit award intended to support your academic study. Stipends are paid monthly and are transferred via direct deposit to GAs personal bank accounts on or by the first business day of the month. 

Some GAs/GRAs may have a tuition fellowship award in addition to their GA/GRA salary. Tuition fellowships are applied directly to your GW account. A tuition award covers all or part of the cost of tuition. If you have been awarded one, it will be entered into the Banner system by authorized University staff and roll to your student account after you have registered for the required number of credits. If you receive a bill for tuition and you think you should not, you should contact your awarding office. Most awards do not cover fees.

Graduate Assistants may hold more than one assistantship (GA and/or GRA) concurrently or hold an assistantship in combination with an hourly wage job as long as all positions together total no more than 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters.

Graduate Students who hold an assistantship position during the summer semester are permitted to work up to 40 hours per week as long as they are not enrolled in summer coursework during the tenure of their assistantship appointment.

In general, students holding a fellowship or assistantship from GW in the amount of $8,000 or more for a semester must not hold other employment inside or outside GW. "Employment" is defined as internships or any other miscellaneous employment that is not part of the fellowship or assistantship.

However, under exceptional circumstances, students may apply for and be granted permission to work by submitting the Request for Permission to Work form.

Domestic (U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident) students who enroll in the GW Student Health Plan will receive the mandatory rate. More information is provided here.

A background check is required for all graduate students who are GAs and GRAs for the first time.

Students will receive information about completing the background check from "Sterling Info Systems".

The I-9 process is required by the federal government for all employees new to GW. Students will receive instructions for completing the I-9 process from the Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships. 

For questions on the process, the I-9, or required documentation, email [email protected] or call (202) 994-8500. 


Sick time provides GAs with paid time off to take care of their basic health and safety needs as well as those of their family members.

Sick time begins accruing on the date of your appointment and any accrued but unused sick time can be used during the appointment period with manager approval. Accrued sick time is credited on the last working day of each month and may not be used prior to its actual accrual.

GAs and GRAs accrue sick time at a rate of 2.25 hours each month up to 20 hours per year and can carry over up to their maximum annual accrual of sick time each year.

Sick Time is tracked via Kronos.

Sick time policy information is in the Time Off and Leave Guide.

Please refer only to the sick time sections specific to Graduate Assistants, beginning on page 11. You can also contact Benefits at [email protected] for questions related to sick time.

If you have questions about taxes related to your salary and/or stipend, please contact the GW Tax Department.