Graduate Assistantships

There are several assistantship opportunities through the Department of Public Administration to help fund your education. The Graduate School sets the stipend level and determines whether assistants will qualify for a tuition scholarship. Funding for these positions is provided by the State of New York, and is therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty and change from year to year. Presently, graduate assistants (but not their dependents) qualify for health insurance coverage. Students may receive assistantships for a semester or an academic year. 

Each such department/work area shall post information about application procedures for Teaching Assistant and Graduate Assistant positions.

There are four possible sources of funding for graduate assistants in the MPA Program: 

  1. University allocations provided on a "formula" basis from the Graduate School: One full-time assistant is equal to one line. One-half line can be used to pay for a student for one semester or half the student's costs for two semesters.
  2. The Clifford D. Clark Graduate Fellowship Program for Diversity: These two year fellowships are fully paid out of a separate account in the first year. In year two, the Program pays ½ of a Clark Fellow's stipend (or ½ a line) with the balance provided by the Graduate School.
    The funding package includes an academic year stipend, full tuition scholarship, health insurance, a guaranteed award period (with satisfactory academic progress), research and travel opportunities, and other benefits. Candidates must: 1) Be U.S. citizens or have permanent resident status. 2) Be newly admitted to a graduate program 3) Demonstrate how they will contribute to the diversity of the student body in their program. For full details, go to the Graduate School.
  3. Departmental funding: The Program may award assistantships using its own funds (either a portion of the state account or Income Fund Reimbursable accounts).
  4. Grant and contract funds: These awards are dependent upon the availability of resources created by the successful grant and contract activity of MPA Program faculty.

The MPA Admissions Committee determines recipients of assistantships from University and departmental funding and makes recommendations to the Graduate School for Clark Fellowships. Assistantships funded by grant and contract funds should be awarded by the principal investigator(s) to students in good standing who meet their specific needs. 

Graduate assistant selection process

Continuing assistants

The Graduate School determines the number of assistantship lines available to the Department of Public Administration. Continuing students with previous support have the highest priority for an assistantship provided they:

  • Have not exceeded their eligibility of four academic year semesters; and
  • Are in good standing with the Department (has earned at least a 3.0 in every course; is making timely progress toward completion of the degree; and has a positive written evaluation from their faculty supervisor(s). The Department's administrative assistant will provide a copy of the faculty evaluation to the student and place the original report in the student's departmental file.

New graduate assistants

Presently enrolled students not receiving support and newly accepted students must notify the Director of Admissions and Student Services of their interest in an assistantship by the due date published by the Graduate School. The MPA admissions committee will review the academic files of all students who have applied for new assistantships and will rank them according to the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated ability to meet the academic rigors of graduate school as determined by undergraduate academic transcripts and writing samples
  • Demonstrated leadership ability
  • Demonstrated intellectual curiosity
  • Good citizenship

At the discretion of the Admissions Committee, it (or a subcommittee) may interview applicants to determine who will receive new assistantships.

Tuition scholarships for graduate assistantships

A supported student with less than 24 hours of graduate credits is eligible for a tuition scholarship for up to 12 credit hours (in-state rates) per semester. After 24 credit hours have been taken, a student is qualified for a tuition scholarship of only 9 credit hours per semester (in-state rates).

Work requirements for graduate assistantships

Assistants receiving a full-tuition scholarship and stipend must work 20 hours per week. Assistants receiving a half-tuition scholarship and stipend must work 10 hours per week.

Students considering accepting other employment must check with the director of graduate studies or department chair in advance, to insure that such employment does not present a conflict of interest with their graduate assistant appointment. Prior to accepting employment for over 20 hours per week, students must receive Graduate School approval of their "Petition for Approval of TA/GA Dual Employment." International students are restricted to no more than 20 hours/week of on-campus employment from all employment sources.

Research assistantships

The faculty member who is the principal investigator (PI) of a grant or contract may hire research assistants to assist him or her with the project. The PI may fund a research assistant position for a semester, an academic year or a summer. The terms of employment for the research assistant are negotiated between the PI and the assistant and the PI has sole authority for determining whether the RA is making satisfactory progress and should be renewed or not. All RA positions are temporary and contingent upon the availability of 18 grant or contract funds. Financial assistance is available to some qualified applicants and can financial assistance include:

  • Research/teaching assistantships
  • Partial tuition offset
  • Fellowships (limited availability)