Assistantships – UW Graduate School Skip to content


Assistantships are a form of paid academic employment in which students receive tuition reimbursement for the tasks they perform for faculty members, departments, or colleges.

Nuts and Bolts of Assistantships

At the University of Washington, there are three types of graduate student 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

Academic Student Employees (ASEs), which include the above mentioned graduate student assistantship positions, are covered by the UAW/UW Academic Student Employee union contract. The union contract governs policies and procedures for appointments, salary, job definitions and leave time. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with this contract.

Some, but not all, assistantships provide a tuition waiver and health insurance through the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP). Your offer letter from the hiring department will confirm the length of employment, salary and benefits eligibility.

In order to hold an Assistantship position on campus, students are required to adhere to the enrollment policies outlined in Executive Order 28. The Graduate School has a process by which students can Petition for Reduced Enrollment if they meet the criteria to do so.

International Students: International students in degree programs are eligible to serve in assistantship positions. You must meet university English proficiency requirements (both written and spoken) in order to work with students in a teaching capacity. For more information, please see Graduate School Policy 5.2. If you have questions, please contact your department’s hiring official.

Finding a position

At the University of Washington, ASEs are hired directly by the employing department. Each department conducts its own individual hiring process and can let you know what is required to be considered for such positions.

Many departments hire their own students. Other departments – particularly those that do not have graduate students or administrative units that hire graduate students – will recruit widely for positions from relevant degree programs across campus.

You may hear about ASE positions open to all graduate students from the following sources: