University General Course Catalog 2021-2022 
    Dec 08, 2022  

Graduate Assistantships

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These positions are offered to University of Nevada, Reno degree-seeking graduate students through various departments and are paid by grants or state funds. Students interested in these positions must contact the department for specific requirements. Students who register for 9 graduate units or more in a semester are considered full-time. For graduate assistants on any contract, 6 graduate units or more constitute full-time. To be considered full time for financial aid purposes, all graduate students, including those on assistantships, must be enrolled in 9 graduate units. To be considered part-time for financial aid reporting purposes graduate students must be enrolled in 5 graduate units. For those graduate students who are required to take Intensive English Language Center Bridge Courses, these courses can be considered part of full registration upon approval by the Dean of the Graduate School, but these courses will not count for Federal Financial Aid purposes.

While the Graduate School cannot monitor outside or additional employment for students on assistantships, such additional work is discouraged as it may impede academic success and timely progress towards degree completion. In some departments, acceptance of an assistantship is contingent upon agreeing to limited additional employment. The Graduate School is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships after a department has requested the initiation of a contract. All positions are contingent upon available funding.

Any Graduate Assistantship (TA/RA) must provide:

  1. at least the minimum monthly salary approved by the University of Nevada, Reno
  2. the approved fringe rate to cover the cost of providing insurance
  3. a Grant-in-Aid/Fee Waiver to cover tuition/per unit fee costs**
  4. **an exception to the grant-in-aid/fee waiver is allowed for those graduate assistantships associated with grants where tuition costs are disallowed. In those cases, the terms of employment must clearly indicate by the checked box: This contract does not include a grant-in-aid to cover tuition/fees.
  5. the Grant-in-Aid/Fee Waiver covers graduate level courses only; however, in instances where a legitimate case can be made for a graduate student to take undergraduate courses (e.g., for a second language), a letter of exception can be addressed to the Graduate Dean for his/her consideration. For more information about the Grant-in-Aid/Fee Waiver, please consult the Graduate Assistantships website.
  6. faculty and students need to be aware that federal financial aid can be affected when a student enrolls in both undergraduate and graduate level units. Federal financial aid is based on FULL TIME enrollment (9 units) of graduate level courses (600-700 level).
  7. an enrollment of less than 9 units of graduate level courses (600-700 level) will be proportionately reduce federal financial aid.
  8. information about Health Insurance:

Graduate assistants perform a variety of duties from teaching undergraduate classes to grading papers, to conducting research in laboratories. Teaching assistants receive special teaching-skills training through the Graduate School. All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching TA or research RA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship.

To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting graduate program and be in good academic standing. The students must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level units (600-799) throughout the duration of the assistantship (Upon approval of the Graduate Dean, English Bridge Course units may be used to help satisfy the enrollment requirements. English Bridge Courses will not count for Federal Financial Aid purposes). A student enrolled in a prescribed program is ineligible for a teaching or research assistantship.

State-funded assistantships (TA/RA) may be held for a maximum of:

  • Three (3) years for master’s degree students;
  • Five (5) years for doctoral degree students.

International students serving as Teaching Assistants must meet a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550 (paper version), 213 (computer version), or 79 (internet-based, including a 24 on the speaking section of the test) and pass the SPEAK test with a score of 50. The International Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5 can substitute for the TOEFL. (A score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) can be substituted for the Speak Test). 

TOEFL scores are not required for the following:

  • international students from countries where English is the language of instruction and/or commerce (see English Speaking Countries Exempt from Testing). 
  • international students who have received a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited university or college in the United States.

The following students are exempt from taking the SPEAK Test:

  • Students who have achieved a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), or 100 (internet-based version); 
  • Students who have earned a degree in US;
  • international students from countries where English is the language of instruction and/or commerce (see English Speaking Countries Exempt from Testing).
  • International students who are not exempt from the SPEAK Test should contact IELC at (775) 784-6075. The cost of the test is $60.

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