George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Graduate Student Appointments & Fellowships

Graduate assistantships and lectureships provide a supervised opportunity for Mason students to gain experience in their field of study through teaching, research, or professional career preparation.

The programs are designed to help students complete their degree requirements.

The Office of Graduate Education oversees graduate student hiring policies, as well as associated appointment documents.


There are three classifications, identified by the student’s job responsibilities.

  • Graduate Research Assistant: A student participating directly in research or research-support activities under faculty supervision.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant: A student acting as an instructor under faculty supervision. The student might or might not be the instructor of record.
  • Graduate Professional Assistant: A student participating in a non-teaching/non-research position performing work in which they gain experience related to their academic program and that is significantly connected to their fields of study and career preparation.


Graduate Lecturers are students who are the instructor of record for a credit-bearing course for no more than 3 courses or 10 credit hours per semester. Faculty supervision is required.

Governing Policy


For more information, contact the Graduate Education Manager at 703-993-8912.


Graduate teaching assistant teaching a class

Graduate teaching assistants can teach two undergraduate lecture courses, six semester hours of recitation sections, or nine semester hours of laboratory per semester.


Graduate Fellowships

Fellowships are often awarded to students who excel academically, but need financial aid to complete their work. These programs are designed to enhance skills and boost careers. Some can involve study abroad.

A fellowship can fund a masters or doctoral student's:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Fieldwork
  • Language study
  • Professional development
  • Independent projects

The Office of Graduate Fellowships works to increase Mason students’ awareness of, and participation and success in, extramural fellowship competitions by offering application workshops, individual coaching, and feedback.

Note: The Office of Student Financial Aid may direct the non-need-based awards toward lowering your loans, reducing the amount of money you will borrow. For more information about how a non-need-based award may affect your financial aid package, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at

Jenna Cann standing in front of the George Mason Observatory

Jenna Cann is interested in black holes, how they form, and the forces they exert on the space around them. That proposed research and her work as an astronomy major at Mason earned her a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.