Other than loans, assistantships are the primary source of funding offered by JMU to graduate students. You may search for additional funding for your graduate education on our Funding Opportunities page for a few links to scholarship searches and listings.

To be eligible to receive an assistantship upon entry into a graduate program, the following criteria must be met:

  • The student must be conditionally or unconditionally accepted into a graduate program. Students who are provisionally accepted will not be eligible until they achieve conditional or unconditional acceptance into their program.
  • The students must have an official transcript on file indicating completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • After receiving an assistantship, the student must maintain at least a 3.0 graduate GPA in order to retain or reapply for the assistantship.

These are minimum criteria. Graduate program coordinators have the right to impose additional criteria if they see fit.

Information found on this page:

Types of Assistantships
Tuition Scholarships
Typical Total Compensation
Registration Policies
Application Process
Additional JMU Employment  

Additional information can be found at the following links:

Hiring and Contract Guidelines
GA Contract Form 

Are you a member of a JMU hiring department? Click here for info.

Types of Assistantships

Teaching Assistant (TA) 
A limited number of Teaching Assistantships are available in departments offering major programs of graduate study. Students awarded a teaching assistantship are assigned to an academic department and are expected to instruct 6 credit hours of course work or laboratory. Students may also be awarded a teaching assistantship to assist professors within the department with grading, etc; 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).

Graduate Assistant (GA) 
Graduate Assistants are assigned to an academic department or administrative office to assist faculty members in preparing for instruction, grading papers, conducting research, preparing laboratories, performing departmental administrative tasks, or other assignments as required by the assistantship department. Assistantships require 20 hours per week in the assistantship department; GA’s carry a course load of 9 hours of graduate study per semester.

Doctoral Assistants
Some Doctoral Assistantships are available and may cover more than 9 hours/semester tuition. Doctoral Assistantships may be in effect through summer.

Other Types of Assistants
Some Graduate Assistants are assigned to Student Affairs, Athletics, or grants. The assistantships in Student Affairs and Athletics are handled within their division, and the grant related assistantships are handled individually by departments with external funding.

  • Graduate assistantships do not pay undergraduate tuition.
  • Tuition will be covered at the on-campus rate for the hours stated on the contract. Any additional credit hours and any additional charges for web-based courses will be the responsibility of the student.


Assistants are typically paid the following stipends : 
Teaching Assistant and Athletics Assistants (TA and AA):  $9470 ($4735per semester)
Graduate Assistant, Service Assistants, and Research Assistants (GA, SA, and RA): $8070 ($4035 per semester)

Doctoral Assistants and Assistants funded through grants may be paid at different rates. 
The standard Doctoral Assistant stipend is $15,850 ($7925 per semester). 

Health Insurance is not included in assistantships. Graduate students may purchase health insurance; for information please call the Health Center.

Tuition Scholarships

Graduate, Teaching, Service, and Athletic Assistants generally receive 9 hour tuition scholarship amounts, per semester, for graduate level course work only.

Doctoral tuition awards may differ. Grant-funded assistantship tuition scholarships may or may not be available. GAs are responsible for tuition for any undergraduate hours and for all additional hours for which the student is registered over and above the designated number specified in your contract.

Typical total compensation*** provided by an assistantships, based on 2019-2020 stipends and tuition.

Type of Assistant  Stipend per Year  Hours of Tuition per Year
in-state /
Total annual value of assistantship per year
in-state /

Graduate Assistant (includes Service and Research Assistant) $8,070
 18 hours                 



Teaching Assistant or Athletic Assistant $9,470
 18 hours                  



Doctoral Assistant  $15,850
 hours vary by program $11,641 / $29,545

***PLEASE NOTE: Amounts listed in this chart are generalized. Actual awards are determined by the program at the time of acceptance.

Registration Policies

All assistants must register each semester for all courses to be paid by tuition scholarship during the regular registration period, and prior to the tuition refund date outlined in the current Schedule of Classes. Students who register for additional courses after this time will be held personally responsible for additional tuition and fees.
NOTE: Assistantships do not pay tuition for courses dropped after the university's tuition refund deadline. Tuition for dropped courses will be the responsibility of the student and the student will receive a grade of W for the course. Exceptions will be made only for documented extenuating circumstances and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The registration period for graduate students coincides with registration for undergraduate students.

Application Process

Your graduate program may have assistantship positions that you may be eligible to fill. Your first step to acquire an assistantship should be to contact your own graduate program to inform them of your interest in an assistantship.

To apply for an assistantship 
· Go to http://joblink.jmu.edu/ 
· Click on "search job openings" 
· Select "graduate assistantship" from the position type dropdown menu
· Click on "search" 
· Select the position you are interested in then complete and submit the application

Assistantship departments contact applicants directly to set up interviews. If you are selected for an assistantship, the department draws up contract materials and forwards them to the Graduate School. After you sign the contract and complete the tax forms, return them immediately to the assistantship department so information can be entered into the payroll system.

Questions concerning your assistantship should be made directly to the assistantship department.

Regarding Additional JMU Employment

Graduate students receiving stipends from VA state funds are occasionally permitted to accept JMU employment in addition to the assistantship’s 20 hours. Permission for such employment must come from The Graduate School, in response to a request by the student's graduate program director or advisor. The student and the director or advisor should carefully consider the overall effect of additional employment on the student's academic performance. The Approval of Additional Employment Form, signed by the student, director/advisor, and assistantship supervisor, is to be submitted to The Graduate School for review.  If approved, TGS will notify payroll.

With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, students and part-time employees of the university may work no more than 29 hours per week in any given week during the year. This restriction applies during breaks, holidays, and summer semesters as well. You cannot be paid for work until it is approved. For this reason, it is imperative that any additional employment at JMU be approved prior to work completion, that total hours worked in any given week total 29 hours or less, and that the number of expected work hours per week be appropriately noted on hiring paperwork. 

Approval of Additional Employment Form (pdf fillable) 

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