Types of Assistantships

Kennesaw State University has two main categories of graduate assistantships: Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA).  Below are descriptions of each.

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) is the term used at KSU to refer to graduate assistantships with a primary job duty of instruction. KSU has two categories of GTAs - Teacher of Record and Teaching Assistant.

    • Teacher of Record (TOR) are the primary instructors for an undergraduate course. They may teach a maximum of 6 credits each semester. Teacher of Record GTAs are responsible for instruction and management of their courses.
    • Teaching Assistant (TA) GTAs assist faculty members with teaching. GTA Teaching Assistant responsibilities vary greatly and may include, but are not limited to:
      • Teaching a small section of a course
      • Holding office hours and meeting with students
      • Assisting with the grading of homework, exams, and/ or written assignments
      • Administering tests or exams
      • Assisting a faculty instructor with large lecture classes by teaching students in laboratory or discussion sessions
  • Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) is the term used at KSU to refer to graduate assistantships that work on campus in research-related positions. These research positions primarily exist in academic departments as well as some research centers and institutes. GRAs gain the experience of working alongside faculty members on cutting edge research. GRAs are generally funded through competitive faculty grants and contracts. GRA responsibilities vary greatly and may include, but are not limited to:

    • Collecting, coding, and/or analyzing data
    • Conducting literature reviews or library research
    • Preparing materials for submission to funding agencies and foundations
    • Writing reports
    • Preparing materials for IRB review

    Generally, research assistants work under the supervision of an individual faculty member or center director. Work on research which is directly applicable to the student’s thesis or dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master's or doctoral degree is not permitted. Research assistants should also not be engaged in work unrelated to their academic program or that does not further their educational experience and objectives.



Graduate Assistant positions are considered exempt employees of the university, which means they are to utilize content knowledge that requires at least a bachelor’s degree, and as a result are paid as exempt professionals.  Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), exempt work is performed by:

  • (a) executives/administrators 
  • (b) professionals, and is paid on a salaried basis regardless of the specific number of hours worked in a given week.

As such, Graduate Assistants may not have a primary job duty consisting of work that would be classified as non-exempt under the FLSA.