9.0 Graduate Assistantships

9.1 Terms of Appointment

A graduate assistantship appointment requires full-time enrollment as a graduate student in the School of Music. School of Music needs occasionally lead to assistantship appointments for a single semester, however, they are normally made for one-year and can be renewed for the duration of the degree. Graduate Assistants in good standing can be reappointed to their positions based on the following:

  • Master's degrees up to 4 semesters
  • Doctoral degrees up to 6 semesters
  • Master's degree followed in succession by a doctoral degree can be renewed up to 10 consecutive semesters.

Termination of the GA contract by mutual consent may be effected at any time and the stipend stopped; however, departure during a semester may jeopardize the fee remission. The agreement will be terminated if the student's enrollment in the School of Music ceases. The appointment is subject to termination due to serious failure in assi

9.2 Required GA Paperwork

The mandatory forms must be filled out and submitted prior to the week before classes.

Employment Verification
Federal and university regulations require that all appointees verify their eligibility for employment in the
United States. All students, regardless of citizenship status, must complete a I-9 Form before any stipend payment can be released. To adequately prove eligibility to work, Graduate Assistants must follow the procedures outlined below:

Each year, new and returning students who are starting a GA position must appear in the Administration Building, room 143, to complete an I-9 form. Angela Wheeler Lester is the I-9 coordinator. Students must bring the following pieces of current ID:

  • US citizens: Passport or both US Social Security Card and Driver's License
  • International students: Passport, Form I-20, and Form I-94.

9.3 GA Responsibilities & Requirements

Visit the Graduate School's Graduate Assistant Responsibilities page for University guidelines for assistantships. Students on a graduate assistantship in the School of Music should be registered for 9 hours per semester. Students that are close to finishing coursework can register for less than 9 hours in accordance with the remaining courses with their approved degree plan that was submitted in the second semester of study. Any student registered for MUAP 7999 or 8999 recital must also register for at least 1 hour of applied lessons.

GPA Requirement
Students on a Graduate Assistantship must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA

Ensembles & Placement Auditions
Graduate Assistants assigned to perform in ensembles are required to audition for chair placement at the beginning of each fall and spring semester.

Required Dates

  • It is required that all graduate assistants are con campus the full week before fall classes start to take entrance exams and attend informational meetings. A complete itinerary for that week will be sent in July.
  • Graduate assistants in strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion are required to be available for the University commencement ceremonies in the fall and spring. You may not accept any professional engagements or make travel plans for these dates. For questions regarding the Commencement Ensemble, contact the Director of Bands, Dr. Albert Nguyen. Refer to the University Commencement Office calendar for the exact dates and times.
  • Students receiving graduate assistantships in opera/voice must be on campus for opera production during the academic year. You must receive permission from the Director of Opera Studies to be released from duties during these times. 

9.4 Assistantship Assignments

Graduate assistant assignments vary according to discipline, expertise of the assistant, and the needs of the School of Music. Assignments are made by the Associate Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Director of the School and individual faculty advisors. Students will be notified of their assignment prior to the start of the semester. The Associate Director of Graduate Studies reserves the right to change areas of assignment based on needs of the School of Music as they become apparent.

9.5 Guidelines for GA Loads

A full graduate assistant teaching load is 20 hours. Assignments in the School of Music are based on the following graduate assistantship teaching loads:

  • Teaching one 3-credit course (such as music appreciation) equals one-half assistantship.
  • Teaching a theory course (3 contact hours) equals one-half assistantship.
  • Teaching applied lessons (2 or 3 credits): 6 one-hour lessons (or 12 half-hour lessons) equals one-half assistantship.
  • One ensemble will typically equal a one-quarter assistantship
  • All other assignments are based on 20 clock hours for a full assistantship. Research, administrative work, ensemble set-up, accompanying, etc. all fall into this category.

9.6 Financial Info

All graduate assistants are required to submit an I-9 to the University.

University Fees
Fees are assessed for applied lessons and for recitals. They are assessed at the beginning of the semester, and are not covered by graduate assistantships.

Pay Schedule
Graduate Assistants are paid at the end of each month during the semester. The first stipend disbursement is made at the end of September.

9.7 GA Health Insurance Options

The University of Memphis has partnered with Church Health Center to offer Memphis Plan health coverage to all domestic graduate assistants. Visit the University's Graduate Assistantship site to view this information.