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Guideline: Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) Employment And Contracts

Guideline Name: Guideline on Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) Employment and Contracts

Related Policy:

Prepared by:  Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Original Date:  January 25, 2022

Current Guideline Date:  January 25, 2022

Applicable to:  Graduate Students in all Melbourne Campus Graduate Programs

Context: 

Academic Units at Florida Tech provide Graduate Assistantships to full-time, degree-seeking graduate students on a competitive basis. Graduate Student Assistants (GSAs) play an important role at Florida Tech and function both as graduate students and as professionals whose formal graduate studies are complemented through teaching, conducting research under the supervision of a faculty, and/or other tasks assigned by the employing Academic Unit.

The number of GSA positions available in an Academic Unit are determined by available funding from the University and external grant funding awarded to individual faculty members.

Guideline: 

Types of Graduate Student Assistantships

Depending on the duties and responsibilities, Graduate Student Assistantships at Florida Tech are categorized as

  • Teaching Assistants(TAs): Serve in many roles to help faculty teach both undergraduate and graduate lecture courses and laboratory sections. TA roles may include teaching, grading, holding office hours, tutoring, training undergraduate students, and other tasks involving interaction with students. TAs are directly supervised by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline and receive regular in-service training and planned and periodic evaluations by their faculty supervisor(s) as a condition of the renewal of their appointment normally once per academic semester. These evaluations become a part of the TA's record. Eligibility and qualification requirements for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship are outlined below.
  • Research Assistants(RAs): Work with faculty members on research projects supported by governmental and private sponsors and university research funds. In many cases, these projects are directly related to the student's thesis or dissertation research. Full tuition scholarships are available for graduate research assistants working toward a doctoral degree through the Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant Tuition Scholarship (DGRATS) Program. Periodic evaluation by the faculty supervisor(s) is required as part of the renewal of an RA appointment. Eligibility and qualification requirements for a Graduate Research Assistantship are outlined below.

Contract Requirements for Graduate Student Assistantships

Graduate Student Assistantships can be awarded by academic semester (Fall or Spring), by academic year (Fall-Spring), or by summer term. All graduate students seeking assistantships must meet the University-wide minimum academic standards and any additional qualifications required by the respective Academic Unit.

To be eligible for a Graduate Student Assistantship (Teaching or Research) contract, the graduate student must meet the following standards:

  • Be a full-time, degree-seeking student in or accepted into a (Melbourne campus) graduate degree program at Florida Tech. Full-time enrollment is considered to be 9-credit hours graduate coursework or a Full Load Graduate Course in academic semesters (Fall and Spring) and 3-credit hours of graduate coursework in Summer. If a graduate assistant is enrolled in the final semester of the program of study, the number of registered semester hours may be less than the full-time load requirement.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for Master’s program students or 3.2 for doctoral program students. Students who are on academic probation (began the term on academic warning and did not achieve the minimum 3.0 term GPA – Graduate Policies GP 1.11 & GP 2.9) or are academically dismissed (began the term on academic probation and did not achieve the minimum 3.0 tern GPA or earned a cumulative GPA below 3.0 or two failing grades (D,F, or U) at any stage of the graduate study – Graduate Policies GP 1.11 & GP 2.9) may not hold a graduate assistantship.
  • Meet any additional academic qualifications for the GSA position as specified by the hiring Academic Unit.
  • First-time TAs: All newly hired Teaching Assistants are required to successfully complete the Teaching Assistant Seminar prior to the semester the are expected to teach.
  • International Students: If the student’s home language is not English, evidence of proficiency in both written and spoken English must be provided (Graduate Policy GP 4.11) which is defined as 
    • Teaching Assistantships: a minimum score on at least one of the following proficiency tests (taken no more than two years before attendance at Florida Tech):

      iBT

      IELTS

      PTE Academic

      Cambridge English: Advanced

      Florida Tech TOEFL

      Duolingo English Test

      Embassy English

      100

      7.0

      70

      193 (Grade of B)

      600

      120

      C1

      The International Teaching Assistant Speaking Assessment (ITASA) with a passing score is required for all Teaching Assistants whose home language is NOT English.

    • Research Assistantships: A minimum score on at least one of the following proficiency tests (taken no more than two years before attendance at Florida Tech):

      iBT

      IELTS

      PTE Academic

      Cambridge English: Advanced

      Florida Tech TOEFL

      Duolingo English Test

      Embassy English

      79

      6.0

      58

      180 (Grade of C)

      550

      100

      B2

  • Eligibility requirement exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis and requires the approval of the Provost. An eligibility waiver request must be submitted to the Provost by the Academic Unit Head through the respective College Dean. 

Contract Requirements for Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant Tuition Scholarships (DGRATS)

Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant Tuition Scholarships (DGRATS) are full tuition scholarships awarded to full-time Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) doctoral students who are supported by stipends charged to a research grant or contract for a complete semester or supported by a full national fellowship.

To be eligible for a DGRATS contract, a graduate student must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a full-time doctoral-level student who has earned a Master’s degree in an identical or related discipline or who has completed a minimum of 18 credits toward their doctoral degree program.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.2 is required.
  • International Students: If the student’s home language is not English, evidence of proficiency in both written and spoken English must be provided (Graduate Policy GP 4.11) which is defined as:
    • DGRATS: a minimum score on at least one of the following proficiency tests (taken no more than two years before attendance at Florida Tech):

      iBT

      IELTS

      PTE Academic

      Cambridge English: Advanced

      Florida Tech TOEFL

      Duolingo English Test

      Embassy English

      79

      6.0

      58

      180 (Grade of C)

      550

      100

      B2

The total tuition scholarship provided by DGRATS is capped at 45 credit hours for students who have a conferred Master’s degree in identical or related disciplines or 57 credit hours for students who have completed a minimum of 18 credits towards their doctoral degree program.

For more information, see Graduate Student Assistant Employment-DGRATS Policy 10.2 and DGRATS FAQs.

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