Working as a Graduate Assistant
Students on Graduate Assistantships will normally be funded through the assistantship for three years, subject to satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree. Graduate assistantships pay stipends over a nine-month period beginning in September; they do not pay stipends over the summer. They include a waiver of tuition costs up to a maximum of 12 credits per semester.* Students on regular graduate assistantships should therefore be able to complete their required coursework without having to pay any tuition out-of-pocket.
Graduate assistantships formally require 18 hours of work per week during the semester for the assistantship supervisor to whom the student is assigned (note that the assistantship supervisor is a different role from a dissertation committee chair; they may be the same person, but often will not be). During their second year, students serve as both research assistants (RAs) and teaching assistants (TAs).
Graduate assistants will normally be assigned as an RA in their first year in the doctoral program. In the second year they will normally be assigned half as a TA (for 9 hours per week) and half as an RA. TA assignments will generally be for undergraduate courses in cognate fields to GGHS, such as political science, women’s and gender studies, communication, etc., and orientation will be provided before TA duties begin.
In the third year, graduate assistants will normally be assigned as RAs unless they request an assignment as a TA (adding to your teaching portfolio and experience can be useful if you are considering a career in academia), subject to Department and University needs. Students on assistantship are expected to remain in residence in the Boston area for at least one semester of their third year even if they are assigned as an RA, and performing RA duties when not in residence the other semester is subject to agreement by the RA supervisor (TAs, of course, need to be in residence in the Boston area).
PhD students in their third year of assistantship funding who seek to be non-resident at UMass Boston for more than half of the academic year should discuss options with their doctoral advisor, the GGHS graduate program director and the CRHSGG department chair. Students will need to submit a written request, describing their plans for the third year to their advisor, the GPD and the department chair. Importantly, such students should either have defended their dissertation research proposal before being non-resident or outline a credible plan for the defense of their proposal in the early fall semester of their third year.
*The tuition waiver may not be applied to undergraduate courses, courses offered by Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS), or off-campus courses.
Applying for Departmental Conference and Research Funding
The department funds graduate students travel through two mechanisms.
- Funding travel to present papers at conferences.
- Funding seed grants for research
Professional Development Grants through the GSG found here.
The Professional Development Grants for the McCormack Graduate School students will be announced soon.