A Communications and Advocacy student teaches a class

Want your graduate tuition covered and a stipend for your living expenses?

Graduate and Teaching Assistantships generally cover the cost of attendance and provide the student with a modest stipend for living expenses. Please go to the Cost of Attendance Calculator to see the estimated cost of attendance for your program of study

To be considered for a graduate assistantship in our program, students must complete and submit the application for a graduate assistantship with their application to the program

Review of graduate assistantship applications begins Feb. 15.

Year 1: Graduate Assistant (GA)

Students offered an assistantship during their first year in the program will serve as graduate assistants.

  • GA's assist faculty members in preparing for instruction, grading papers and evaluating speeches in introductory communication studies courses, as well as other administrative duties assigned in the School.

  • Assistantships require 20 hours per week.

  • GA's carry a course load of 9 hours of graduate study per semester.

  • Must enroll in SCOM 502 each semester in which they hold an assistantship.

During their first year in the program, graduate assistants will be assigned to work with a member of the graduate faculty in introductory courses in human communication. 

Year 2: Teaching Assistant (TA)

Students with assistantships who maintain a 3.0 GPA and meet the benchmarks of our graduate teaching program will then automatically have their assistantship converted to a Teaching Assistantship during their second year in the program.

  • TA's are expected to instruct 6 credit hours of introductory course work in communication studies.

  • TA's carry a course load of 9 credit hours of graduate study per semester.

  • TA's must have completed 18 graduate credits in the teaching discipline and be directly supervised by a faculty member (SACS requirement).

  • TA's must enroll in SCOM 502 each semester in which they hold an assistantship.

During their second year, those students whose appointments have been converted to teaching assistantships will be the instructor of record for two sections of an introductory course in human communication.

Graduate Assistantships in Debate and Individual Events

Some Graduate and Teaching Assistants may have half of their duties assigned with the Debate or Individual Events Teams. Students interested in being assigned to debate or the individual events team, much indicate their interest on the assistantship application and provide evidence of experience in undergraduate debate or I.E. to be considered.  During their first year as graduate assistants, students offered appointments with debate or Individual events, will dedicate 10 hours per week to debate or I.E. and will be assigned as a graduate assistant in an introductory course in human communication. During their second year, as teaching assistants, assistants will dedicate 10 hours per week to debate or I.E. and will be the instructor of record for one section of an introductory course in human communication. Students with assistantships in debate and I.E. must also be enrolled in SCOM 502. Introduction to Teaching Fundamental Communication and are required to meet the competency benchmarks to maintain their assistantship. Our philosophy is rooted in the belief that all coaches working with our undergraduate students are educators-in-training and must demonstrate those same competencies that we expect of instructors teaching in a traditional classroom context.

Selection Criteria

Graduate Assistantships will be competitively appointed based upon applicant's academic merit and potential to be successful assisting and teaching introductory coursework in communication studies.

Applicants for graduate assistantships should demonstrate an interest in teaching communication studies, the maturity to assist faculty responsibly, an ability to work with students effectively, and the organizational skills essential to balancing academic and graduate assistant duties.

Graduate Assistants must demonstrate proficiency in English sufficient to carry a full program of graduate student and teach in an introductory communication classroom though submission of a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Examples of acceptable score include 570 on the paper-based version and 88 on the internet-based version. For more information, visit http://www.toefl.org.

Other Opportunities for GAs

Graduate students in Communication Studies may also be qualified for other assistantships on campus, such as assistantships at the Communication Center, and should review the assistantship jobs posted at JMU’s joblink:

Go to jHome (jmu.edu)
. Click on "Graduate Assistants." Select the position you are interested in then complete and submit the application.

Centennial Scholars Program

Applicants who qualify for James Madison University's Centennial Scholar program may consider applying for a graduate assistantship. For more information visit the Centennial Scholar's Program website.

For additional information about financial aid at JMU visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

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