Teaching/research assistantships


Various forms of financial support are available to new and continuing graduate students including teaching and research assistantships. These opportunities may be accessed through each academic unit as well as individual faculty members. Please review the following Teaching/Research Assistantship policies for additional information.

Other fellowship opportunities for new and continuing graduate students can be found at https://graduate.engineering.asu.edu/graduate-fellowships/.

Teaching assistantships

Students receiving teaching assistantships may be assigned appointments which are half-time (20 hours per week) or quarter-time (10 hours per week). Assignments may include sole responsibility for the teaching of undergraduate laboratories, assistance in the teaching of undergraduate laboratory recitations, and assistance in grading of undergraduate homework. Students may additionally be asked to prepare lectures in undergraduate courses and administer examinations. Teaching responsibilities are in addition to the time spent on research for the graduate degree. Teaching assistantships generally include an out-of-state tuition waiver and a stipend. However, only full tuition waivers are given to those students who hold half-time (50%) teaching assistantships. Quarter-time (25%) assistantship holders receive only a half tuition waiver. In addition to the stipend and full tuition waiver, 50% time TA’s also receive health insurance benefits.

All teaching assistants whose native language is not English must achieve a Test of Spoken English (TSE) score of 230 or better before they are allowed primary teaching responsibilities. Students unable to take the TSE exam in their home countries can instead take the SPEAK Test—the SPEAK Test, offered on campus at ASU, is the local version of the TSE. Students taking the SPEAK Test at ASU must achieve a minimum score of 50 (for limited teaching capacity) or 55 (for full teaching capacity). Registration for the SPEAK test begins one week before each testing date. Results are sent to the academic department within five working days after the test date. You must register for the ASU SPEAK Test in person at the American English and Culture Program, (Engineering Center Annex (480) 965-2161).

Research assistantships

Research assistantship appointments pay the student a stipend for involvement in a particular faculty research project—this project usually also serves as the student’s dissertation research topic. A first-year PhD student receiving a half-time (50%) teaching or research assistantship generally receives a generous starting stipend for 12 months, in addition to the full tuition waiver and health insurance benefits. In addition to a stipend, students receiving a research assistantship are generally given an out-of-state tuition waiver. The amount of the tuition waiver, however, depends upon whether the student is appointed as a 50% time (20 hours per week) RA or a 25% time (10 hours per week) RA. Students given 50% time RA appointments additionally receive health insurance benefits. Students receiving stipends for research activity, which also constitutes the dissertation research, spend considerably more time each week working on the project than is otherwise expected by the assistantship.

Policies related to financial support of graduate students

A limited number of students receive written offers of financial aid prior to entering the program. Students who elect to enter the program without a written commitment of financial aid are responsible for providing their own financial support. Although it is the desire of the faculty to assist students by the aggressive pursuit of research grants, the faculty are not responsible for providing funding when a student enrolls in the program. All supported students are expected to complete their work assignments in a satisfactory manner as judged by the faculty. Additionally, supported students are required to register for at least 12 semester hours of coursework during each semester of residence, which includes research hours. Any suspension from the Graduate Program results in the loss of financial support.

Policy dictates that supported students in the doctoral program are paid a stipend consistent with that of a research or teaching assistant until they pass the qualifying examination, and then receive a stipend consistent with that of a research or teaching associate.

Graduate assistants in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering are required to register for 12 credit hours each semester throughout the entire assistantship appointment. Students who fail to register for 12 hours lose their assistantships. Audit hours do not count towards the 12 required hours. RAs and TAs who are at 50% time must petition to register for more than 12 hours. Students should also consult the TA/RA Handbook for more information.

How to apply for Financial Assistance