Graduate Appointments


Most graduate students in the Ph.D. program receive financial support as Graduate Associates, either Teaching Associates (GTA) or Research Associates (GRA), or as Fellows during their student career. These appointments cover the cost of tuition and the instructional fee waiver, stipend, and 85% subsidized health insurance provided students remain in good academic standing, adhere to the code of student conduct and make reasonable progress toward receiving their degree.

For students to be in good academic standing in the department, Physics students are required to maintain a 3.3 GPA in the core courses. Graduate School policy is for an overall GPA of 3.0. Students below a 3.0 are not eligible for graduate appointment for the semester following their GPA falling below 3.0 without petition from the Vice Chair of Graduate Studies to the Graduate School. 

Appointment titles and changes of appointment titles will be communicated via email message and are subject to academic and prior GA performance as well as available funding per section 9.2 of the Graduate School Handbook.  

2019-2020 Stipend Amounts

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  awarded as follows:

non-certified English GTA or GAA: $1915/month

Pre Candidacy  $2187/month

Post Candidacy $2272/month

Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for the exact amount of your research appointment.  Monthly stipend amounts will be listed on Page 1 of the Graduate Appointment  Document which  will be distributed via DocuSign. 

If necessary, changes to your Monthly/Annual stipend will be amended during the upcoming 12 Month academic year for the following situations:

  • Passing English certification to receive a raise to the appropriate Pre or Post Candidacy rate.
  • Passing your graduate Candidacy Exam to receive a raise to the Post Candidacy rate.
  • Award of a Graduate Fellowship and/or Fellowship Supplement


For English Certification and 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 2019:(8/16/2019 – 12/31/2019) August, September, October, November, and December (4.5 months)
Spring 2020:(1/1/2020 – 5/15/2020) January, February, March, April and May (4.5 months)
Summer 2020:(5/16/2020 – 8/15/2020) May, June, July and August (3 months)

There are overlapping dates in May where the actual academic semester ends for Spring and begins for Summer.  

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

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

                 For Autumn - July 1; Spring - November 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 health insurance. A health plan that is subsidized 85% by the University is available through the Department of Physics (students are responsible for the remaining 15% of the insurance premium). This charge will be deducted from your stipend checks.

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 

"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 ninemonth appointments and thus sick leave would not be granted in the summer term. If the Graduate School Handbook, 2018–19, Section 11: Benefits for Graduate Associates, Fellows and Trainees 75 v. 2.6 2019.05.16 student is a summer GA, fellow or trainee, then 1-3 days off up to twice per summer term is suggested."


Page updated 10/24//2019