Research Assistants (RA)
Appointments for non-dissertators are permitted up to 50%. A full graduate load (8-15 credits during the academic year; and a minimum of 2 graduate level credits in the summer) must be carried with an RA appointment held by a non-dissertator. Research Assistant appointments for non-dissertators exceeding 50% will not be permitted.
Appointments for dissertators are permitted up to 50%. Full time enrollment for dissertators is 3 credits.
Teaching Assistant (TA) and Project Assistant (PA) Appointments
Academic Year Appointments (includes annual basis PA appointments held during the academic year)
Appointments are permitted up to 75% for domestic students and 50% for international students. A full graduate load (whether or not prelims and residence have been completed) may be carried with any PA or TA appointment.
Semester Break and Spring Vacation
Project Assistants and Teaching Assistants may be employed 100% during semester break and spring vacation. The Request for Exception to Maximum Levels of Graduate Assistant Appointments request form does not need to be completed for Project Assistants or Teaching Assistant appointed 100% time during breaks.
Appointment Dates and Levels: Project Assistants and Teaching Assistants may be employed up to and including 100% time during the summer. The exception form is not required.
For individuals on academic appointments during the spring or fall semesters, appointments for more than two-ninths of the full-time academic year rate will be allowed only under the same procedure established for faculty summer appointments exceeding two-ninths time.
Domestic graduate students who are new to the University and have fall admittance can be appointed as a Project or Teaching Assistant no earlier than Monday after spring exams end. For students that have spring admittance, an appointment as a Project or Teaching Assistant may not begin any earlier than the Monday after winter exams end.
International graduate students who are new to the University and have fall admittance cannot be appointed as a Project or Teaching Assistant unless they have admittance for the summer term.
Registration: Students holding summer appointments as Project Assistants or Teaching Assistants need not necessarily register during the summer session,* although they must either have been graduate students during the preceding semester or have a letter to register for the upcoming Fall.
*Registration is expected for any student using University facilities or consulting regularly with his/her professor.
Combined RA/TA/PA Appointments (Academic Year and/or Summer)
When a service-requiring appointment (PA or TA) is combined with a research-training appointment (RA), the maximum combined appointment level for non-dissertators and dissertators cannot exceed 75% for domestic students, with no more than 50% being the RA appointment. International students cannot have any combination of a RA and another appointment over 50%.
Graduate Student Fellowships and Traineeships
The policy governing supplementation of these awards has been outlined in a separate policy titled University of Wisconsin–Madison Policy for Supplementation and Concurrent Appointments for Graduate Students Holding Predoctoral Fellowships or Traineeships. Information regarding this policy may be obtained from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Human Resources Office or, in the case of UW–Madison Fellowships, from the unit awarding the fellowship.
Procedure for Requesting Exceptions to Policy
The Request For Exception To Maximum Levels of Graduate Assistant Appointments Form is not required for appointments that are under 75% for domestic students. This means graduate assistant appointments not exceeding the maximum levels in this memo (MaximumAppointmentLevelsbyAppointmentType.pdf) do not require documentation of any kind.
All other proposed appointments that would exceed these maximum levels will require prior approval of the appropriate Dean or Director and the Graduate School.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Human Resources Office is responsible for approving rare cases when there is a need for an exception to these policies. Clear documentation of the necessity for an exception to UW–Madison policy must accompany such a request and should be submitted through the appropriate Dean or Director to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Human Resources Office, 358 Bascom Hall, prior to making the appointment (RequestforExceptiontoMaxLevelsofGraduateAssistantAppointments.doc.pdf form).
Those responsible for appointments are cautioned that funding sources may impose restrictions in addition to those outlined above.
International students on F-1 and J-1 Visas are at risk concerning their immigration status if they are employed for more than 20 hours per week during the academic year, including PA and TA appointments. This means the sum of an individual international student’s Teaching Assistant, Project Assistant and Student Hourly appointments may not exceed 20 hours of work or 50% time per week. Visit https://iss.wisc.edu/employment/f1-employment/ for more information regarding international student employment from the Office of International Student Services.
A full graduate load is:
- Academic Year: Full-time enrollment is defined as 8 to 15 graduate level credits per semester (courses numbered 300 and above) for graduate students and 3 credits for persons registered as dissertators.
- Summer: Full-time enrollment is defined as 2 graduate level credits (courses numbered 300 and above). Dissertators must register for 3 credits. Students must register for the eight-week general session.
Graduate assistant appointments totaling less than one-third time will not generate remission of non-resident nor resident tuition, or eligibility for health insurance.
If you have any questions regarding maximum levels of graduate assistant appointments, please contact Julie Karpelenia (262-8389), or Trisha Bauer (262-1250) in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education-Human Resources Office.