Policies and Procedures for Research Assistantships

Research assistantships are available only to those doctoral students who are receiving teaching assistantship awards (students who enter with BAs are eligible in the summer after their first year). Students with Monroe fellowships, dissertation fellowships, merit research fellowships, or adjunct appointments are not eligible.
The department will make every effort to assign a research assistantship to each eligible student who wants one at least once during his/her career here.
Students become eligible for the Project Research Assistantship only after completing a regular research assistantship.
Research assistantships are not guaranteed to faculty: faculty must apply for them.
Projects requiring digitization or other technical support are not eligible for research assistantship funding. Those projects are funded through the technical support of the media lab.
It is necessary to try to balance the needs of the faculty for research assistants with the fair distribution of awards to graduate students. Two separate categories of assistantship have been designed to help strike this balance:
A. Project research assistantships (PRAs):

Faculty working on projects that require special training are eligible to apply for this assistantship. These are competitive awards for the faculty: typically, one will be available each year. The faculty member or members associated with the project must apply through the DGS to the Executive Committee, specifying the nature of the project, the type of work the student will perform, the duration of the assistantship (no longer than one year), the number of hours, and the student with whom s/he chooses to work. The Director of Graduate Studies will assist the Executive Committee in determining these awards by providing information as needed. Faculty may recruit specific students for these positions. If more than one faculty member is working on a project, either one assistant will be shared between or among the faculty, or the total number of hours worked by all assistants will not exceed the maximum of 250 hours (150 during the summer, no more than 50 per semester) paid at the rate of $10.00/hour. The total budget for this award per year is $2,500.00 payable to the research assistant. If proposals amounting to less than that amount are brought forward, more than one proposal may be funded. The funds for this award are fungible with the regular research assistantships and vice versa.

B. Summer/semester-long research awards (RAs):

Students available to serve as research assistants during the summer or during a given semester should notify the DGS of their availability. The budget for the summer assistantships is $4,500, typically 3 awards at 150 hours per award; the budget for the semester assistantships $3,000, typically 3 per semester at 50 hours each. Faculty who would like to have a research assistant for the summer or a given semester should apply to the DGS, explaining the purpose and nature of the work. The DGS will assign RAs to faculty on the following basis:

Students will work a maximum of 150 hours during the summer or a maximum of 50 hours during the semester, at a rate of $10.00 hour.
Students and faculty who have never been awarded an RA move to the head of the list. Those who have not been awarded an RA during the previous year will be given second preference.
Students and faculty who have PRAs are not eligible for regular research assistantships. Students and faculty who have received PRAs the previous year go to the bottom of the list.
Every effort will be made to pair student interests with faculty needs. However, faculty and students should not recruit each other for these awards.


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