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Newly admitted graduate students must have a minimum 2.8 admit GPA for appointment as a graduate assistant (GA). Continuing graduate students must have a minimum 3.0 graduate GPA.


All GA's must be enrolled in a graduate degree program. They cannot be a Student-at-Large or be working towards certain certifications/certificates. GA's may be enrolled in an integrated degree program and have completed 120 hours.

Course Registration

All GA’s must be registered for 9 or more hours of course work for the fall/spring term. GA's do not need to be enrolled in any hours during the summer term. However, if a GA has not yet started graduate level coursework and is planning on accepting a summer start assistantship, he/she must be enrolled in at least 1 graduate level credit hour during the summer term.

If a GA will be taking less than 9 hours in the fall/spring, then they must have an approved Course Load Waiver on file.

Course Load Waivers

GA’s who are not registered for the required 9-hour course load in the fall or spring semesters must either register for the remaining hours or obtain an approved Course Load Waiver form justifying the reason for not meeting the course load requirement. Those GA’s not registering for the required hours or not having a Course Load Waiver on file in Human Resources by a given deadline may have their appointment terminated. There are three rationale/eligibility options on the Course Load Waiver form:

  • Student is taking Thesis Dissertation Hours (Regular or Audit)
  • Student is in last semester and no additional hours are required
  • Other (appointing unit must specify rationale)

Course Load Waivers are requested by the student’s appointing unit and must be approved by the student’s academic department (usually their graduate coordinator) and the Graduate School before being sent to Human Resources, where they are filed.

Graduate Assistant Reduced Course Load Request Form

Additional Requirements

Graduate Assistantships are subject to a criminal background investigation based on University Policy 3.1.30 and any offer of employment is contingent upon you passing a satisfactory criminal background investigation. You may not begin work until the criminal background investigation results have been received and cleared by Human Resources. 

Criminal Background Investigation Policy

In addition, all appointments are contingent upon proof of eligibility for employment at Illinois State University to perform the required duties on your scheduled start date. The Immigration and Control Act of 1986, Public Law 99-603, required all new employees to file an I-9 in person and no later than the first day of employment. This may be accomplished within the department or through Human Resources. A list of the types of documentation you will be expected to provide is available here. Failure to comply with this law will result in cancellation of your appointment.