Graduate Assistantships

Assistantship 2

Graduate assistantships are academic merit-based award programs which provide you with work opportunities in a job closely related to your academic interest in communication. As a full-time graduate assistant, you will be required to work up to 20 hours per week or teach 5 to 6 semester hours per semester, and will receive a monthly stipend and a waiver of tuition. Assistantship applications received prior to March 15 may be given priority consideration for the following Fall.

The Communication Graduate Program has assistantships from among the following categories. All categories of assistantships may not be available each year.

Categories of Assistantships

Graduate Assistant

Graduate Assistant duties are varied and are designed to support the administrative and operational functions of the department. Assistants whose primary (i.e. greater than 50%) duties consist of one or more of the following types of activities will be classified as Graduate Assistants:

  • Work assignments which are non-classroom/teaching related
  • Technical/support services
  • Classroom support such as grading, tutoring, preparation of class materials, etc.
  • Clerical assistance

Research Assistant

Research Assistants are usually assigned to faculty members to assist with their research. Research Assistants may be funded with departmental monies, but frequently are funded through externally obtained grants and contracts. The duties of the Research Assistant vary by discipline and can involve a variety of responsibilities. Assistants whose primary (i.e. greater than 50%) duties consist of one or more of the following types of activities will be classified as Research Assistants:

Assistantship 1

  • Library research
  • Proposal writing
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Collaborating with faculty in preparing publications

Teaching Assistant

The duties of a Teaching Assistant are to conduct or support instruction. Assistants whose primary (i.e. greater than 50%) duties consist of one or more of the following types of activities will be classified as Teaching Assistants:

  • Teaching classes under supervision by University faculty person
  • Leading lab or discussion groups in a course setting 

Application Process

To apply for an assistantship, an Application for Assistantship (available from the School of Graduate Studies or at must be submitted along with three letters of recommendation (some programs require specialized recommendation letters) and a statement of personal goals. The application, letters, and statement must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies before an assistantship contract may be written.

Tuition Waiver Benefit

Graduate assistants with at least a two-month contract receive a waiver of tuition (upon receipt of a signed contract) for the period of appointment plus a maximum of one summer session adjacent to (preceding or following) the employment period. If eligible, the summer tuition waiver is automatically applied for the summer following the end of the contract period; students must notify the Graduate School at the time of signing a fall contract if they choose to use it the preceding summer. The waiver does not include insurance costs or student fees. Tuition waivers may be revoked if the assistant does not fulfill at least two months of the regular contract.

Assistantship 2

Eligibility Requirements Students must meet all of the conditions listed below in order to hold an assistantship position:

  1. Must have a graduate assistantship application, personal statement of goals, and three letters of recommendation on file in the Graduate School.
  2. Must be a degree-seeking graduate student regularly accepted into a master’s program. Probationary students, non-degree students, and second bachelor’s degree students are not eligible to hold assistantship positions.
  3. Must have a graduate GPA of at least 3.0 if graduate courses have been completed at the time the contract is initiated.
  4. Must be enrolled in at least nine semester hours of graduate coursework or undergraduate deficiencies if holding a graduate or research assistant position for fall/spring; or at least six semester hours if holding a teaching assistant position for fall/spring; or three semester hours for summer (any position). If it is the assistant's last semester of coursework (as verified by the degree plan), it is acceptable to be registered for only the remaining required courses.
  5. Sign an assistantship contract and complete all required employment paperwork.

For more information about the graduate program in the Department of Communication at WIU, please contact:

Dr. Nathan Miczo
Coordinator, Graduate Program
Department of Communication
Memorial Hall 326
Western Illinois University
Macomb, Illinois 61455
Phone: (309) 298-2480