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Categories of Appointment

There are five categories under which graduate students may be appointed: Graduate Teaching Assistant I and II, Marker, Graduate Research Assistant, and Graduate Academic Assistant.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA)

Most faculties have a limited number of TAs available for registered full-time graduate students. Full TAs involve 12 hours of work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction; although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments with fewer than 12 hours per week. TA rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the appropriate teaching assistants' union.

Please refer to the the collective agreement between UBC and BCGEU (Okanagan).

Graduate Research Assistants (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (RA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. The entire stipend is considered to be a scholarship, the conditions of which may be specified by the granting agency. For tax purposes it is considered to be a fellowship rather than payment for work. Income tax is not withheld by the university, and GRA income is reported via a T4A tax form each spring. The stipend is normally paid semi-monthly through UBC Payroll.

A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Individual faculty members should ensure that payments from grants are consistent within the graduate program and disciplinary norms. Graduate Research Assistantships are less common in the humanities and social sciences.

Appointments may be for any specified period satisfactory to the grantee. All letters to students offering funding through a GRA should clearly state the period to which the offer applies. Study Permit students, in particular, require such letters in order to enter Canada. Such letters should also indicate that the offer is subject to satisfactory academic progress and to demonstrated competence in laboratory duties and/or other procedures relevant to the student's area of study. Transfers from one degree program to another, or from one supervisor to another, may affect the payment of Graduate Research Assistantships. Transfers between degree programs are subject to approval by the graduate program and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. The continuation of a GRA is always contingent on the student's maintaining satisfactory academic standing in his or her graduate program.

Research Assistantships are coordinated and administered at the graduate program level. For specific information about Research Assistantships, students should contact their graduate program.

Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA)

The duties of a Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA) include all academic duties not conforming to those specified above (for example, research performed for a member of faculty not directly related to the student’s own research). The stipend may not be considered a scholarship.

Additional Resources

UBC Payroll - Scholarship & Fellowship Taxation


Last reviewed shim6/15/2017 2:41:40 PM