Types of Assistantships

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

Click here for a Comparison Chart of the three categories

Click here for a Decision Tree showing the three categories

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) refers 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.  Graduate student TORs will have a faculty mentor in the discipline.
    • Teaching Assistant (TA) TAs 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) refers 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

    Research assistants work under the supervision of an individual faculty member or center director. Research assistants should not be engaged in work unrelated to their academic program or that does not further their educational experience and objectives. 

  • Graduate Professional Assistants (GPA) provide an opportunity for graduate students to be assigned work that is relevant to their graduate program and the professional and scholarly goals of the student.  The graduate professional assistantship should provide the opportunity for the student to use knowledge of their academic field while enhancing skills relevant to the student's professional goals. The ideal graduate professional assistantship will provide the student with a broader and deeper understanding of work in their assigned site, under the supervision of a mentor.

                The following guidelines should be used when determining the work assignments and workload for assistantships:

    1. Assistantships best serve the student, the hiring unit, and the student’s academic department when they are used as an integral component of the graduate education experience.  
    2. Assistantships should enhance the educational experience by exposing the student to the professional activities of their disciplines, involving them in university activities related to their academic and professional interests, and affording them the opportunity to work closely with faculty and professionals.  
    3. Assistantships should provide high quality support for the academic mission of the University.