Graduate Assistants who have teaching assignments work with a Foundations Coordinator to plan their classroom activities...

Teaching Assistantships


February 15th to be considered for Graduate Assistantships.  For prospective students there are no additional application requirements beyond the materials submitted when applying to the MFA program.  All students will be considered for Graduate Assistantship opportunities as well as other funding available for incoming graduates.  


NOTE:  To be considered for MSU Distinguished Fellowship or Dean’s Graduate Recruitment Fellowship deadline for receipt of materials is January 5th.



The Department of Art | Art History | Design offers half-time graduate assistantships that are normally awarded the spring semester, for the following academic year, but on occasion, appointments of one semester duration may be made. 


Weekly obligations average twenty hours and vary depending on the nature of the service performed.  Most Graduate Assistants serve as the instructor of record in one of our Foundation Program courses.  These courses include:  Drawing I, Color & Design, and Three-Dimensional Form.  Although rare, some graduates may be offered the opportunity to teach advanced courses.


All assistantships provide tuition waivers of 9 credits per semester, waivers of registration fees, allow enrollment beyond 9 credits per semester at the in-state rate, and provide employee-related health plans and reduced rates for dependents. 


Current information on other graduate assistantships based in the college and/or university, and open to Department of Art | Art History | Design graduate students, is available from the Graduate School web site.




To hold an assistantship a student must be enrolled in a degree program in the Department of Art | Art History | Design, and be registered for 6 credits. An exception is made during summer session, when a 3 credit minimum enrollment is allowed.  


Graduate assistantships normally are awarded for one academic year. They are intended to assist the student in making normal progress towards the degree and to support departmental courses and services. Except for fellowship recipients no candidate may hold an assistantship in excess of 6 semesters exclusive of summer appointments. The applicant’s preparedness and abilities to perform the particular service related to the assistantship will also be considered in making any appointment. In general, the department is seeking a heterogeneous graduate-student constituency to benefit its programs and each student’s professional growth.


Reappointment Application & Eligibility


All graduate assistants who have held an assistantship for one or more semesters are eligible to apply for reappointment.  Applications will not be accepted from students who have received graduate assistantships for six semesters (excluding summer appointments).


Applications for reappointment will include the following:

  • A current resume
  • Images of current work
  • A narrative statement up to two pages addressing relevant aspects of student’s goals should include reference to both artistic and teaching goals and performance
  • Evaluation by supervising faculty of student performance in prior appointments or assistantships
  • SIRS forms or other evaluation tools required by the university


To be eligible for reappointment, a student must:

  • Maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.25
  • Have no more than 8 credits of deferred coursework, excluding STA 898
  • Show satisfactory progress in the degree program (by annual review for returning)
  • Submit SIRS forms
  • Submit assistantship evaluations by supervising faculty


Selection Process

Faculty decisions will be based on material submitted by candidate or materials submitted in support of the candidate.  They will consider the applicant’s preparedness and abilities to perform the particular service related to the assistantship.  

Applications are ranked by the discipline faculty previous to meeting of full faculty.  The full faculty then reviews all applicants for assistantships at the same time. One representative from each area may speak on the applicant’s strengths.  Final decisions on assistantships are made by the entire Studio Art Faculty members.




Teaching assistants (TAs) for the Foundation Studio Art sequence (STA 110, 113, 114) are required to prepare and teach classes throughout the term and to meet regularly with the supervising faculty member; in addition, the Teaching Assistant must hold office hours – 2 hours a week is recommended – and announce those hours the first week of class and post them in the department office. Teaching assistants will conduct regular critiques, assign grades to their students’ projects and to any quizzes, exams or short papers they deem appropriate to the class. The handbook entitled MSU TA, which will be distributed at the beginning of fall semester, contains informative teaching strategies and campus resources available to Teaching Assistants and Michigan State University students.


Teaching Assistants who meet with students will be given office space in the Kresge Art Center that contains a desk, computer, and phone. Access to all office supplies and office equipment will be provided as required by their responsibilities. All enrolled graduate students have a mailbox in room 113 Kresge Art Center.


Orientation sessions for the graduate assistant who is active in the classroom are held each fall, and the department office will inform you of many other support programs sponsored by the Graduate School.  In addition to the orientation sessions, graduate assistants are asked to participate in regular meetings with the Foundations Coordinator if they are teaching as part of their assignment.  




Wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment for teaching assistants are determined by the Graduate Employees Union collective bargaining unit.  


Assistantship levels and stipends are based on the graduate students’ degrees and experience.  A tuition waiver is granted for each semester that one is appointed as a graduate assistant. There is a 9 credit waiver for Fall or Spring semester, and a 5 credit waiver for the summer session.


An exemption from out-of-state residence tuition is granted for additional credits during the semester of appointment and for the summer session that precedes or follows an appointment for an entire academic year.


Graduate assistants are automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan with the premium paid by the university. Enrolled students may insure eligible spouse and/or dependent children residing with the insured. For information on Graduate Assistant health benefits see: