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Teaching and Research Assistant Opportunities

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has several financial programs to assist you with the cost of graduate studies. A limited number of research and teaching assistantships are available each year. These are awarded based on academic merit and are very competitive. All teaching assistantships (TAs) are recommended by the department and college and are awarded through the Office of Academic Affairs (508.999.8024). Most research assistantships (RAs) are awarded by a faculty sponsor. If you receive either of these assistantships, contact the CIS Department secretary as soon as you arrive on campus to sign the necessary paperwork to initiate payments. If you receive an RA, contact your faculty sponsor to learn the scope of your assistantship. Continuation of assistantships will be determined by the department or your faculty sponsor and the college. Assistantship renewal is contingent upon maintenance of an acceptable grade record and satisfactory progress toward the degree. Performance in the assistantship and availability of funds are also criteria for continuation. Graduate candidates are usually limited to two years of departmental support. A full-time graduate assistant is expected to work 20 hours per week for the assistantship.

Some fellowships, scholarships and loans are available from government and private institutions, often for special purposes such as supporting research. The university library reference room has books describing these resources. You can also check with the university's Office of Grants and Contracts. For more Information, visit http://www.umassd.edu/financialaid/.

For information on graduate fellowships, please click here.

Terms and Conditions (from the UMass Dartmouth Waiver Policy)

A graduate assistantship—be it in the form of a Teaching, Research, or general Graduate Assistantship—is accompanied by a full waiver of academic-year tuition charges for the period of the assistantship award, provided it is at least a half-time assistantship (10 hours/week). A full-time graduate assistant works 20 hours/week.

Graduate assistants pay campus fees, those for non-Massachusetts residents being adjusted to the in-state rates, but they receive a partial waiver of the academic fee (curriculum support fee); a table of CSF fee charges and waivers is approved each year by the chancellor. The tuition/fee waiver provided to each graduate assistant is a scholarship award, whereas the stipend is compensation for services rendered. The partial CSF waivers are pro-rated to give less benefit to those whose assistantships are less than full-time.

Assistantships are awarded competitively. On the recommendation of the Graduate Council, the Provost determines each year a minimum stipend for a full-time academic year graduate assistantship (for 2005-2006, that minimum is $6,000, with $7,000 recommended).

Accepting an assistantship indicates an intention on the part of the student to complete a degree program at UMass Dartmouth. Assistantships represent a substantial investment by the university and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Graduate assistants are expected to make progress toward their degrees and be in good academic standing, in order to retain their assistantship or to receive a subsequent award. Many departments have specific requirements for academic or professional performance. Good performance of the duties of the assistantship is also required. The assistantship contract issued to the student states the general requirements as well as the stipend, tuition and fee waiver amounts, general work assignment, and hours/week.

Although it is possible for an individual student to combine two 10-hour assignments into an assistantship, in addition to meeting the criteria above the resulting package of duties needs to be approved by the student’s department as having a coherent purpose.

To encourage faculty to obtain more research grants and enable them to attract and retain higher quality students, students supported by funded external grants as graduate research assistants, in addition to being waived from paying tuition and a portion of their CSF (current practice), will be given waivers for the full CSF amount. To receive this waiver the program and student shall satisfy the following conditions:

  • The assistantship must qualify as an assistantship by UMass Dartmouth's assistantship policies.
  • The assistantship shall be a full-time assistantship and the student a full-time student.
  • The student shall be in a program track that involves writing a thesis or dissertation.
  • The stipend from the grant-supported research assistantship shall be at least $15,000.

A precise definition of "funded external grants" must be followed. For example, this policy does not extend this waiver to students supported on service or economic development grants or on Foundation grants or contracts. The Provost makes final determinations of eligibility.

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