UW Graduate School

Types and Terms of Appointments

Types of Assistantships

At the University of Washington, there are several types of assistantships:

  • Teaching Assistant: work with students in a classroom, lab, or quiz section setting
  • Research Assistant: work on research projects; does not involve teaching
  • Staff Assistant: other types of duties such as, advising or administration
  • Predoctoral Instructor or Lecturer: work independently and are solely responsible for the development and teaching of academic courses.

Appointment Terms

Appointments can be made for any FTE up to 100% and for any length of time. A typical appointment is 50% FTE for the entire quarter.

All assistantships are salaried (with the exception of Graduate Research Student Assistantships, which are hourly Research Assistant positions that can be used in summer quarter only). Information about these positions can be found in Article 24 of the contract and in the Benefits and Budget Charges section of our website.

When it is possible (i.e. funding is available), appointments should be made on an academic year basis. If that is not possible, it is permissible to offer appointments per quarter. Article 4 of the contract provides policies and procedures for appointments.

A student employed in a 50% FTE appointment for the full payroll quarter is expected to work a total of 220 hours. Total work hours are prorated for appointments that are greater or lesser. More information about workload expectations is included in the contract.

Payroll quarter dates are different than academic quarter dates. Payroll quarters are six pay periods and the dates are:

  • Autumn: September 16–December 15
  • Winter: December 16–March 15
  • Spring: March 16–June 15
  • Summer: June 16–September 15

During the academic year (autumn, winter, spring), if an appointment is at least 50% FTE and runs for five of the six quarter pay periods, the student is eligible for benefits (tuition/fee payment and health insurance). During summer quarter, if the appointment is at least 50% FTE and runs for two consecutive pay periods, a student is eligible for benefits.

Students employed in a salaried assistantship position (at any FTE percentage) are required to enroll in a minimum of ten credits in autumn, winter, and spring quarters and in a minimum of two credits during summer quarter. If there are exceptional circumstances that meet the listed criteria, students can file a Petition for Reduced Enrollment.  If approved, this provides students the opportunity to maintain employment while enrolled in fewer than the required number of credits.