Graduate Assistantships | Department of Economics

Graduate Assistantships

Assistantship offers are updated annually; the following information is current but is subject to change.

The Department of Economics offers 4 types of assistantships for graduate students: Academic Assistantships (AA), Teaching Assistantships (TA), Research Assistantships (RA), and Teaching Fellowships (TF). Academic Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships are allocated competitively and are offered to incoming as well as second-year students. Second-year students also may be offered a teaching fellowship.

Assistantships are allocated on a competitive basis, and the number allocated depends on our funding allotment from the University. Assistantships are awarded based on the totality of application material--we do not have any one single criterion that guarantees an assistantship will be offered. We do place a priority on students who were economics majors as undergraduates, so that is the most important item that we consider. We also consider the following items: GRE scores, GPA, the number of math and statistics classes taken and the grades earned in those courses, the student's personal essay and letters of recommendation, research projects in which the student has been involved, participation in grant projects, and (for some positions) a personal interview.

Assistantships cover both the fall and the following spring semester, provided the student is making appropriate progress towards his/her degree and his/her work has been satisfactory. To receive full consideration for an assistantship, all application material must be received by the Department of Economics by March 1st. If additional funding becomes available, we may allocate a number of additional assistantships to those students who did not secure funding when they began in the fall semester.

FIRST and SECOND YEAR STUDENTS:

The AA position is an hourly paid position of 20 hours per week for 15 weeks during the fall and spring semester. In an AA position, students work in the Department's "Help Center" assisting students with questions in principles of microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory, proctoring exams, grading homework assignments, and keeping a spreadsheet of grades for one or two professors. Since the AA position requires tutoring, we offer this kind of assistantship only to students who were economics majors as undergraduates, and we give preference to students who earned grades of "A" in both microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory at the intermediate level.

This position requires proof of English proficiency. See below for more information.

Working in the Help Center provides a great opportunity for students to get to know and exchange ideas with other graduate students who also are working there. It is a great opportunity to network and integrate oneself into the Master's program. Students also get to know the faculty members better, which is important for establishing long-term relationships that will be important for students' future. Currently, Academic Assistants are paid $20 per hour. This position is renewable the following year as long as the student remains in good standing. Similar funding might be available for summer sessions as well. AAs qualify for in-state tuition with this position--which is approximately half of the cost of tuition for out-of-state students.

The RA position also requires 20 hours of work per week, assisting one of the faculty members with his or her research. This might involve gathering and cleaning up data, performing data analysis or Internet research, gathering research materials, or whatever else the assigned professor needs. Each faculty member has different projects in progress so exact tasks depend on with whom the RA works. The Department attempts to match students with professors who are doing research in the areas in which the student has an interest. Working as an RA is a great way to learn more about economic research and enhance one's skill set to improve marketability. In this capacity, the student has access to many additional learning opportunities than he or she otherwise would have. It is a great way to earn money while also learning valuable skills. RAs set their own hours and often can do their work from home. The stipend for this position is approximately $13,000 for 9 months for a Level 1 student (students with less than 18 graduate hours) and $15,000 for 9 months for a Level 2 student (students with 18 graduate hours or more). In addition, an RA qualifies for in-state tuition and may receive a partial tuition waiver.

The TA position requires 20 hours of work per week. In these positions students work closely with one particular professor or instructor, attending all of their lectures, handing out class materials, taking attendance, and assisting in whatever way the instructor needs during class time. TAs also maintain the instructor's grades and grade all of the students' homework assignments. They spend part of the 20 hours per week in the Help Center assisting the students and answering questions just like the AAs do. Students who are TAs qualify to move into the TF position in their second year in the program. The stipend for the TA position is about $13,000 per 9-months for a Level 1 student, and about $15,000 for a Level 2 student. As a TA, students also receive in-state tuition and may receive a graduate tuition reimbursement (which reduces tuition to what an in-state undergraduate would pay). Only students who were economics majors as undergraduates are eligible to receive TA positions.

This position requires proof of English proficiency. See below for more information.

SECOND YEAR STUDENTS:

The TF position is a regular teaching position. TFs are assigned their own classes of Principles of Microeconomic Theory or Principles of Macroeconomic Theory (depending on departmental needs) to teach. They have full responsibility for teaching the class, creating homework assignments, administering exams, maintaining their grades, and so on. TFs teach one class per semester (in some rare instances a TF may teach two classes with the consent of the chair and the willingness of the TF). In addition, the TF position qualifies a student for in-state tuition. Only students who have worked as a TA, RA, or AA, are in good standing, and have successfully completed our Teacher Training Program may serve as TFs.

This position requires proof of English proficiency. See below for more information.

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENT:

Students who are considered for Academic Assistant, Teaching Assistant, and Teaching Fellow positions are interviewed by the Department. Because AAs, TAs, and TFs work directly with students, it is critical that their English proficiency skills are high. Therefore, prior to the first semester of employment, each potential AA, TA, and TF must be evaluated with a 15-minute interview to assess his or her oral communication skills in English. These interviews are administered at the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) main office. Only students whose first language is English or who received a speaking score of 26 or higher on TOEFL iBT are exempt from this requirement. More information will be provided to prospective AAs, TAs, and TFs on an individual basis.

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