Graduate Assistantships and Research Assistantships

Gain valuable work experience as a graduate assistant

As an East Carolina University student, you may qualify for one of our graduate scholarships. The primary purpose of graduate assistant jobs at ECU is to provide students with opportunities to gain academic or research experience while earning their graduate degree.

Graduate assistants are generally students who:

  • Are enrolled full-time in an on-campus ECU graduate degree program
  • Have an excellent academic record
  • Demonstrate superior aptitude in a particular field of study
  • Offer high-quality teaching and/or research skills

Graduate assistants receive financial awards to work on campus. Some graduate assistantships and research assistantships may offer reduced cost for campus-based health insurance or out-of-state tuition remissions. Many graduate assistant jobs offer stipends as well.

Research assistantships and graduate assistant jobs can help you earn your degree without incurring major debt. Equally as important, working closely with faculty members and other university leaders provides networking opportunities that can open doors after you graduate.

What does it mean to be a graduate assistant?

Each graduate assistant job has its own unique tasks and duties. The faculty member who hires for the role assigns specific responsibilities to the graduate assistant. Responsibilities can include helping professors with grading and teaching, conducting research, or teaching independently.

Graduate assistants may also perform professional tasks in an on-campus office, lab, or other academic facility. For example, preparing equipment for experiments or compiling report data.

While hours typically range between 10 and 20 a week, hours—and duties—for a graduate assistant vary by program.

What’s a research assistantship?

Research assistantships are similar to graduate assistantships but are usually related to specific disciplines including:

  • Science
  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Finance
  • Health care

Research assistantship tasks overlap with those of grad assistants, but typically involve conducting interviews, analyzing data, and executing lab experiments.

In partnership with the ECU-led Coastal Studies Institute , our Department of Coastal Studies offers multiple integrated coastal sciences research assistantships. These research opportunities explore ecological impact locally and throughout the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.

For more details, visit ECU’s Department of Coastal Studies page.

Why are graduate assistant jobs important?

All graduate assistantships and research assistantships are professional positions that allow you to build the in-demand skills employers value.

As a master’s student, if you are considering applying to doctoral programs, a graduate assistantship or research assistantship demonstrates you are well-prepared to contribute to department goals.

In addition, your role as a grad assistant can have a significant impact on the trajectory of your career. By teaching or gaining firsthand experience in how to run a research lab, you’ll demonstrate your skill beyond the classroom. In short, grad assistant work makes you more marketable.

Read more about graduate assistantships at ECU.

Get started on your ECU degree as a grad assistant

Graduate assistantships are available throughout East Carolina University. To find out about available grad assistant opportunities, use the Find Your Program search tool to connect with your program director.

Other employment opportunities at East Carolina University

In addition to graduate assistantships and research assistantships, ECU offers other student employment opportunities.

We’ll help you connect with part-time jobs on and off campus. Similar to the role of graduate assistant, these jobs enable you to apply classroom knowledge to gain real world experience.

Watch ECU’s student employment appreciation video.

To learn more about on-campus and external job potential, visit our student employment page.