Assistantships are available in a variety of areas that change from year to year, and include a full tuition credit as well as great health benefits. Pay for graduate students is in the $22/hour range, with assistantships running from 10 to 30 hours per week.
The application process for assistantships is separate from the program admission process. A limited number of assistantship opportunities are posted for the following academic year in February or March, from offices on campus such as Residential Life and the Center for Student Development.
If you are accepted into the Higher Education program, keep an eye on the Graduate School’s Graduate Assistantship Job Opportunities Web page and the Beacon to learn about opportunities. The Higher Education Program sponsors a Master’s Student Welcome Day in March, and some offices schedule interviews with accepted students then.
Assistantship opportunities continue to be posted throughout the spring, summer, and into the first weeks of the fall semester, so we encourage you to be patient even if you do not have an assistantship lined up immediately. This past year 100% of the master’s students had found assistantships by the start of the Fall 2017 semester, although some found them relatively late in the summer, If you receive an assistantship of at least 10 hours after the start of the Fall semester, your tuition waiver will be retroactive to the beginning of the semester.
The process for doctoral students is similar to master’s students. Each year, a limited number of teaching- or research-focused assistantships are available to doctoral students through the Higher Education program and the College of Education. Currently, all full-time doctoral students hold at least one assistantship position.
Recent Assistantships Held by Higher Ed Students
- Academic Advising
- Center for Education Policy & Advocacy
- Center for Student Activities
- Commonwealth (Honors) College
- Dean of Students Office
- International Programs Office
- Learning Resource Center
- Off Campus Student Services
- Office of Fraternities & Sororities
- Research Assistant for Faculty Members
- Residence Life
- Student Bridges
- Student Conduct
- Teaching Assistant for EDUC 115 – Embracing Diversity
Advice from Current Students about Finding an Assistantship
After working for five years in a professional position within higher education, I wanted to fully immerse myself into doctoral study work. After being accepted to the doctoral program, I started to look for assistantship opportunities and knew that I had to search and apply to assistantships on my own. On a daily basis, I would check the Graduate Student job opportunities website and the Beacon. Three weeks before my first semester, I received an assistantship in Workplace Learning & Development that gave me an opportunity to be part of a Five College collaborative group that focuses on intergroup dialogue initiatives for faculty and staff. This assistantship gave me an opportunity not only to learn more about the organizational structure of UMass faculty and staff but also gave me the ability to connect and network with colleagues at the other four campuses (Amherst College Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, & Smith College). My advice to doctoral students looking for an assistantship is to be persistent with searching and make connections with offices and departments across campus that may not have an assistantship posted, but may in the future. – Colleen, Doctoral student
“Apply before you get here. Network. Try and meet as many people as you can in the areas on campus you wish to work. After arriving here I had a number of assistantship offers…”
“Continue to search for an assistantship if you enter the program without one. Job postings go up all the time!”
“Be picky and choose an assistantship you are interested in. Understand the process can be handled late in the game. I didn’t land my assistantship until August.”