What's an Assistantship

An assistantship is a financial award to a graduate student for part-time work in teaching or research while pursuing study toward an advanced degree. The primary goal of an assistantship is to assist students in strengthening and successfully completing their academic program. At USask assistantships are classified into three categories: Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, and Student Assistant.

Different Assistantships

A graduate teaching assistant is a qualified graduate student who helps a professor conduct lab or study groups, grade papers or prepare lectures. 

Duties associated with being a Teaching Assistant or Graduate Teaching Fellow may include but are not limited to: preparation, delivering and/or attending lectures; demonstrating, marking, student consultation, invigilating, holding office hours, setting up experiments, supervision of field trips and conferring with the Supervisor in charge as required by the assignment.


The GMCTL offers workshops, non-credit courses and resources for graduate students who are new to teaching and who already have some experience but want to learn more.

There are a variety of ways to build your professional skills as a graduate student, by attending courses and workshops held on campus.

A graduate student employed for a defined period, on an hourly basis, to perform duties assigned by a faculty member that contribute to a faculty member’s research program and that are not required as part of the student’s academic program.

Duties associated with being a Research Assistant may include but are not limited to: research, preparing reports, writing papers, laboratory support, literature/library research, administrative tasks and provision of other research support and assistance.

A graduate student employed to carry out duties which support the academic mission of the University, but which do not primarily fall into the categories of TA or RA.

Your USask Affiliations

All graduate students employed at the University of Saskatchewan are represented by PSAC Local 40004.

All graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan are members of the GSA and thus have the right to vote in elections, referenda and at general meetings. 

Definition of Employment at USask

Employment When we talk about paying graduate students for work it is in the form of an RA, TA or SA contract. Work performed, as outlined in the letter of offer, is paid through the campus payroll system as per the Graduate Student Collective Agreement.

Stipends are not compensation, and cannot be paid, for services rendered. A stipend is distinct from wages or salaries because it is not intended to compensate a student for work performed and is offered in the form of support so the student can fully engage in their studies. These are still paid through the campus payroll system.