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Assistantships and Fellowships

Students may be awarded a service (research or teaching assistantship) or a non-service (fellowship) appointment. As part of this award, students may receive a Tuition Remission Award, reducing tuition to in-state rates, and/or an In-State Tuition Award.

The Graduate School recognizes that graduate students are first and foremost “students” and their making continual significant progress toward their degree is paramount to the ethical training and education of students. The Graduate School recommends that students should not normally conduct service work (research or teaching assistantships) in excess of 15-20 hours per week on average for doctoral students and 12-15 hours per week on average for master's students. This policy enables them to work on their own studies and research for at least the remaining 20-25 hours per work week. However, it is not simple to set maximum service work hours due to the complexity inherent in the education and training of graduate students. Directors of graduate studies, therefore, need to be thoughtful about the specifics involved in each particular student's situation and sensitive to the incremental gains in knowledge and skill acquisition in the particular situation.

The University asks graduate students to perform work that is simultaneously both training and service. Their training may take various forms, including apprentice-type training under faculty mentors within the research lab, classroom or community, as well as more traditional coursework. This training often is the primary way in which students learn the core skills, expectations, norms, ethics, and content of aspects of their graduate disciplines/fields. However, when examining a particular student's educational/training program, it may be seen that while initial training is requisite to acquiring appropriate knowledge and skills, additional similar training may add only incrementally to their development. In such cases, the standard of not exceeding 15-20 hours per week for doctoral students and 12-15 hours per week for master's students should apply.

Directors of graduate studies in each graduate program are best informed to make these judgments on an individual basis and should be responsible for monitoring that service expectations do not impede any student's significant progress toward their degree.

All policies on graduate teaching assistants should adhere to the UNC System policy Guidelines on Training, Monitoring, and Evaluating Graduate Teaching Assistantspdf icon. The Office of the Provostnew window icon maintains policies about the Professional Development of Graduate Teaching Assistants, as well as an Eligibility Waiver Request Form.

Additional financial policies and procedures can be found on our Funding Resourcesnew window icon website.