Graduate Assistant / Associate Teaching

We offer financial assistance to most graduate students in the form of a Graduate Assistant/Associate in Teaching. M.A. students are funded at the Assistant level; doctoral students with an M.A. are funded at the Associate level, which carries a higher salary.


The Graduate Committee, appointed by the Department Head and chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies, evaluates applications on a competitive basis.

The Head of the History Department awards GATs to full-time students (minimum of 6 graduate credit hours per semester) on the recommendation of the Faculty Graduate Committee, with preference given to students who already have the M.A.

The number of GATs varies according to the funding we receive. If you are awarded a GAT as a Ph.D. student, you can reasonably expect three renewals for a total of four years, pending availability of funding, provided that you maintain a high level of performance in your teaching and in your courses (minimum 3.0 grade point average), and fulfill the other requirements for satisfactory progress in your program of study. For example, grades of incomplete in your course work and failure to pass language examinations when required will count against you in your application for renewal.

If you are employed by another University department, inform the DGS and the Graduate Program Coordinator of this employment immediately.  Concurrent employment as a GAT in another department affects the payroll process.  Informing the Business Manager of this additional employment in advance of hire will help him coordinate the preparation of your hiring documents and will assure appropriate payment.

Teaching Assignments

At the end of each semester, the Director of Graduate Studies assigns GATs to individual courses in the following semester,  making decisions in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator, the professors teaching those courses, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the Department Head. These assignments are subject to change depending on course enrollments. Students awarded a GAT will receive a course and instructor preference sheet to complete and return to the Graduate Program Coordinator.

GAT Duties

Each August the Graduate College conducts a one time training session that is mandatory for all new GATs. The History Department also provides a mandatory one-day workshop for all GATs in History.

Many GATs conduct discussion sections under the supervision of the professor in charge of the course to which they are assigned. In addition to conducting discussion sections, you are required to attend course lectures and student conferences scheduled by the professor, grade the papers of students in your sections, and keep regular office hours. Other GATs assist professors as graders in heavily enrolled courses.
You will be expected to meet with the professor in charge of the course to which you are assigned to discuss course procedures. If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities and those of the students in your sections, you should discuss these with the professor in charge. If you still have questions, see the Director of Graduate Studies.
Most GAT appointments are half-time, which is calculated at 20 hours per week. For discussion leaders, this means three discussion sections, each meeting once a week. For graders it means grading for between 60 to 75 students. GATs share office facilities in Chávez #420. Dakota Hogeboom, Administrative Associate, manages the keys for the building, TA office, and copier room.

Criteria for GAT Awards

The Graduate Committee evaluates applicants for graduate funding on the basis of overall achievement in three categories:

  • Quality of academic performance, as indicated by recommendations from the major advisor and other faculty, student performance evaluations from 600-level classes in history, and over-all GPA.
  • Teaching capabilities, as indicated by letters of recommendation from faculty or past employers, evaluations by faculty whom the applicant assisted and student evaluations.
  • Progress toward timely completion of degree requirements, as indicated by recommendations from the major advisor and/or other committee members and as measured by the “Point” System:
Points Activity
2 each Pass a language exam or equivalent (up to 2 languages) before comprehensives
1 Complete Historiography (HIST695K) in first year of program
1 each Complete seminar courses (HIST696), up to 2 (in lieu of MA thesis)
2 Complete Master’s thesis
1 Complete Master’s degree
2 Complete Qualifying Review in second semester of doctoral program
1 each Complete History 696 seminar paper
1 Pass a language exam or equivalent beyond 2 languages, if required by the student’s committee or advisor.
1 Form Exam Committee by third semester of doctoral program
1 Complete Ph.D. Minor requirements
3 Complete Doctoral Comprehensive Exams before seventh semester of program
2 Complete Doctoral Comprehensive Exams in seventh semester or later
2 Complete dissertation prospectus review within six months of completing exams
½ Sustained documented field research (per semester)

The Graduate College maintains specific criteria for GATs as well, which are specified on the Notice of Appointment, the official employment contract.