Graduate Appointments

Most graduate students in the Ph.D. program receive financial support as Graduate Associates, (either Teaching Associates (GTA), Administrative Associates (GAA) or Research Associates (GRA)) or as Fellows during their student career. These appointments cover the cost of tuition and the instructional fee, monthly stipend, and 100% subsidized health insurance. Renewal of GA appointments is subject to the student adhering to the code of student conduct, and remaining in Good Standing with the Physics Department.

Good Standing in the Physics Department generally requires that the student meets the Physics Core-Course GPA requirement (at least 3.30 GPA in the core courses), the Graduate School’s GPA requirement (at least 3.00 GPA in all graduate courses, see below), has satisfactory teaching performance as a GTA (as determined by the Physics Vice Chair for Administration), and is making reasonable progress towards their degree (as determined by the Physics Graduate Studies Committee). Graduate School policy is that a student with a GPA in all graduate courses below 3.00 is put on probation by the Graduate School, and is not eligible for graduate appointment for the semester following their GPA falling below 3.00 without petition from the Vice Chair of Graduate Studies to the Graduate School.

Appointment titles and the semester stipends will be sent via Workday before the start of each semester. All graduate appointments are subject to good academic standing, prior performance as well as available funding per section 9.2 of the Graduate School Handbook.  

2023-24 Stipends

Most of our students are supported for a full 12 month year that runs mid-August to mid-August for Autumn, Spring and Summer semesters with monthly stipend amounts for students appointed through the Department of Physics are:

Pre Candidacy  $2585/month  

Post Candidacy $2660/month  

If necessary, changes to your Monthly/Annual stipend will be amended during your semester appointment for the following situations:

  • Passing your graduate Candidacy Exam to receive a raise to the Post Candidacy rate noting the date effective schedule below for by last day of finals or passing during the between semester dates. For Autumn 23, Spring 24, Summer 24
  • Award of a Graduate Fellowship and/or Fellowship Supplement that is done AFTER your graduate appointment has been processed in Workday. 
  • Increasing an FTE for a domestic student to increase their workload to go above the 20 hours 50% FTE. International students are not eligible to receive over appointments due to the federal immigration rules that sets a maximum of 20 hours of work for international students. 

Revised Policy to be start in Summer 2024 for when Candidacy raises are implemented is being updated to reflect HR deadlines for graduate appointment information that is due around the middle of the semester. There are key details related to OSU's HR policy as well as ASC HR policy that have an impact on when raises can be applied to a student's graduate appointment.  11.7.23-Kris Dunlap


Current Policy for the 2023-2024 Autumn, Spring & Summer appointments.

For Candidacy Exams that are completed by the last day of finals in a particular term, the raise will go into effect at the start of the HR appointment dates for next academic term.

Exams scheduled and passed between terms (after the last day of finals to the last business day before start of next term) the raise will go into effect per following schedule: 

  •  After Summer finals & before start of Autumn Term=September 1;
  • After Autumn finals & before start of Spring term=February 1;
  • After Spring finals & before start of Summer term=June 1).


Semester and Dates of Appointment

Pay Dates are the last working day of month.

Autumn: 8/16 - 12/31   August, September, October, November, and December (4.5 months)
Spring: 1/1 - May -last business day before start of Summer term:   January, February, March, April and May (4.5 months)
Summer: May -1st day of Summer term   May, June, July and August (3 months)  

Requests to move ON or OFF TA support must be made by the student’s Advisor to the Graduate Studies Office NO LATER THAN:   May  for Autumn; October 15th for Spring; March 1 for Summer 

Date(s) per term by which unit expects to make reappointment decisions:  

                 For Autumn - May 15; Spring - October 15; Summer - March 15

 Tuition and Fees

The Department of Physics will make GA appointments in a manner such that students will not be billed for tuition. If a GA fails to register for classes according to the schedule published by the Registrar’s Office or class/registration information provided by the Graduate Program Coordinator, the student will be responsible for any late registration penalties that are assessed. 

The GA will also be responsible for obtaining student health insurance or waiving it if student is still on parental plan. Student Health Insurance is subsidized 100% by the University.

Primary Duties

Teaching Associates:

  • Instruction of introductory physics course recitations and/or labs.
  • Mandatory attendance for all associated preparation, training/organizational weekly meetings.
  • Proctoring examinations as assigned.
  • Duties also include grading homework and exams, record keeping, examination proctoring, holding 1 to 2 office hours
  • per week, tutor room hours as assigned .
  • Enroll and attend Physics 7891A teaching seminar for first academic year of teaching assignment. (Students who have already been a GTA are not required to register for this course.)
  • Reappointments require satisfactory teaching performance in prior semesters.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Reappointments require satisfactory performance in prior semesters. Graduate students in our program are required by the department to maintain a 3.3 GPA in the core courses and a 3.0 overall GPA is required Graduate School policy as noted in their handbook
  • *Must be available during entire term of contract.

 Research Associates:

  • Responsible for conducting a directed scientific research project with a graduate faculty research advisor. 
  • Conduct experiments and/or performing calculations as well as organizing or analyzing data.
  • Presenting findings in a publication and/or dissertation, collaborating with faculty in preparing publications, mentoring/coaching work of other GRA’s, or undergraduate students.
  • Other research activities and other related duties as assigned.
  • Other duties as assigned
  • Re-appointments require satisfactory performance in prior semesters. Graduate students in our program are required by the department to maintain a 3.3 GPA in the core courses and a 3.0 overall GPA is required Graduate School policy as noted in their handbook.
  •  Please note that you must be available during entire term of contract as your tuition authorization and health insurance subsidy are both dependent on you being enrolled AND employed for the entire semester.

        *See Section 11 on Benefits in Graduate School Handbook for guidelines on short term absences.

                 Section 11.2 Time Off under Sick/Bereavement Leave 

Most graduate associates are part-time student employees (50 percent time) and therefore do not meet the eligibility criterion for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy 6.05(opens in new window). GAs, fellows and trainees do not accrue vacation or sick leave. Rules regarding time off during semester or term breaks or other times are determined by the GA’s appointing unit. GAs must check with their appointing units to determine when they are expected to be on duty. GAs that have held an appointment for more than 60.1 percent FTE for an entire 12 month period may qualify for leave under FMLA and should contact their local unit and FML Administrator(opens in new window) to determine eligibility. 

Legal Holidays. GAs are not required to work on legal holidays noted on the university calendar. When university offices are required to maintain services on certain holidays and GAs are scheduled to work on a holiday, they must be given an alternate day off.

Each program unit can determine the policy or guidelines for graduate student paid leave. Any leave additional to legal holidays is optional, but are strongly encouraged by the Graduate School. One day off for students working 20 hours per week is recommended to be assessed as 4 hours/day over 5 working days. The Graduate School has the following guidelines that are strongly encouraged for students holding a GA, fellow or trainee appointment. 

  • Sick/Bereavement Leave. A period of one to three consecutive days at a time for up to a maximum of three times for personal and/or family illness each spring or autumn semester may be taken. Sick days do not accrue beyond a semester. Many GAs have nine-month appointments and thus sick leave would not be granted in the summer term. If the student is a summer GA, fellow or trainee, then 1-3 days off up to twice per summer term is recommended. 
  • Personal Leave. A period of up to 10 business days per year (two weeks per year) for vacation and/or personal reasons may be taken. Personal leave does not accrue.
  • Professional Development Leave. It is recommended that at least 5 business days per year be allotted for professional development activities such as attending workshops, or attending and presenting scholarly work at national and international meetings. 
  • Parental Leave. Up to 3 weeks of leave may be granted for childbirth or adoption. Up to 3 additional weeks for health recovery of the birth mother is recommended (Appendix F). One suggested allocation would be to use remaining sick-leave, personal leave, and professional leave followed by paid leave for up to 3 or 6 weeks as applicable. Parental leave should be discussed and planned with the advisor and local unit.


Page updated 11/7/23