Graduate assistants provide support for research projects, often in university settings, and are usually given financial support through a stipend or tuition reimbursement. Graduate assistant positions usually fall under the categories of teaching assistants or research assistants, as they often help university faculty members prepare course materials, post grades, and conduct research.
Graduate assistants must be able to work well with their research teams and follow all instructions from their assigned university faculty members. It's important to have excellent verbal and written communication skills, as well as good research skills to understand and follow complex course materials. Excellent public speaking skills and patience when working with students are also beneficial.
The duties of a graduate assistant include tutoring individual students, administering and grading exams, and teaching small sections of courses; they may generally hold office hours for these courses and also conduct literature reviews related to specific courses. Research assistants also help their faculty members complete research projects.
Most graduate assistants have an undergraduate degree in the subject being taught and are in the process of pursuing a higher degree. Their working environment is usually a university classroom or office setting, and they may also spend a good deal of time in a research lab. Their working hours are normal school hours, although they may have to work extended hours near the end of a semester or close to a project deadline. Their work schedule adheres to the university's academic calendar, and co-workers include other graduate assistants, teaching assistants, professors, school officials, and daily interactions with students.