Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships are available in limited numbers for most graduate programs offered on WWU's main campus in Bellingham. Assistantships are not available for off-campus programs.

To be eligible for a TA position, you must have full admit status to the Graduate School (not provisional status). If you are a current student, you should be making satisfactory progress toward your degree.

Indicate on your application that you are interested in a Teaching Assistantship. You will receive a letter via email from the Graduate School if you are awarded.

Graduate students are limited to no more than the equivalent of six full-time quarters of service as graduate teaching assistants.

Appointments & Stipends

Full-time appointments require 20 hours of service per week; half-time appointments require 10 hours of service per week.

Teaching Assistants are generally expected to work during the academic quarter, and not during periods considered breaks. It is typical, however, for new teaching assistants to be asked to attend trainings or orientation prior to the start of their assignment.

Students receiving a full-time appointment may not accept other on-campus employment during the time they are in pay status as graduate teaching assistants. Students receiving a half-time appointment may accept other on-campus employment up to 9 hours per week during the time they are in pay status as graduate teaching assistants.

Graduate teaching assistants funded by the Graduate School receive a stipend and a partial tuition waiver for eligible enrollment.

Not all positions referred to as "Graduate Assistant" or "Teaching Assistant" provide the same stipend, tuition waiver, and insurance benefits. If you have questions or need clarification regarding the position or benefits, please contact the academic department.

Registration Requirements

Graduate Teaching Assistants, whether holding a full- or part-time appointment, must be registered for a minimum of 8 credits each quarter the appointment has been awarded. Graduate assistants who have registered for, and completed, all courses on their approved graduate plan of study with the exception of their thesis (690) or other research (691), are allowed to register for a minimum of 2 credits of thesis or research each quarter.

Teaching Assistantship FAQs

You are paid twice a month: first, on or around the 10th (for hours worked the 16th-25th of the previous month), and second, on or around the 25th (for hours worked the 1st-15th of current month) of each month.

If you have direct deposit, it will automatically deposit into your bank account. Employee Self-Service Direct Deposit Instructions.

If you do not have direct deposit, your check and tax forms will be mailed to your W2/Employee permanent address in Web4U. Please be sure to keep that address updated for this purpose. 

The TA appointment pays tuition and the stipend. Tuition and fee information can be found at

Employment documents should be sent to WWU Human Resources, 516 High Street, Bellingham, Washington 98225-9054. Or submit your documents in person in Humanities Building 203. 

Campus Map

Students with academic year assignments (fall, winter and spring quarters) are in pay status from September 16 through June 15.

Full-time TAs work 20 hours per week within their department and, in accordance with University regulation at this time, are not allowed additional salary or employment from any other university office or program. Full-time graduate teaching assistants who become employed in other offices during the quarter they have been awarded a TA jeopardize their TA standing.

Half-time TAs work 10 hours per week within their department. They may work additional hours, not to exceed 20 hours per week, in accordance with University regulation at this time. Half-time graduate TAs who become employed in other offices and work more than 20 hours per week during the quarter they have been awarded a TA jeopardize their TA standing.

Check your academic history (enrollment) against your plan of study. If you have registered for all coursework, with the exception of your thesis or research, then you are probably eligible to register for less than eight credits. If you have completed all the coursework (1) with exception of 690 or 691 (research), (2) or if a remaining course is offered in a future quarter, you also may be eligible to register for as few as 2 credits. Contact the Graduate School at gradschool@wwu.edu for final approval.

For the graduate assistantship, all credits must be state-supported courses, not credits through the Extended Education and Summer Programs (EESP), or other universities. If you are on federal or state-sponsored financial aid (receiving a Federal Direct Loan, for example), you must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits each quarter for full time aid. This is a condition of eligibility for financial assistance. A student who needs to defer loan payments should check with the lending agency or loan regulations to determine eligibility for deferment status based on the number of credits per quarter for which the student is enrolled.

You might be missing your TA waivers. Contact the Graduate School with questions at gradschool@wwu.edu.

You should apply for your Social Security number as quickly as possible after you have been awarded the graduate assistantship. The Social Security number is a condition of employment. Official employment cannot begin until you have obtained the Social Security number (or have a note of verification) and the I-9 is completed.

If you need to obtain a Social Security number, please contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Miller Hall 212, 360-650-7971. Please have your assistantship award letter available to show ISSS. It will provide a confirmation memo for you to take to the Social Security Administration office where you apply for the number. The memo states that you are an eligible full time student.

Take the ISSS Confirmation memo, your I-20, and your passport with visa and I-94 to the Social Security Administration office. If Canadian, take your Confirmation memo, I-20, passport and I- 94. In Bellingham, the Social Security office is located at 710 Alabama Street (phone: 360-738-3952, 1-800-772-1213). The application form, available at the Social Security Administration office and also at www.ssa.gov, is brief and simple to complete. When you have completed and submitted the application form, ask for a "note of verification" from the Social Security Administration office. This note provides verification that you have applied for the Social Security number. Attach the note of verification when you submit the W-4. It usually takes two weeks to receive your Social Security Card. Contact Human Resources (360-650-3774) with your Social Security number as soon as you receive it to complete the employment requirement.

The United States has entered into tax treaties with many countries that may limit or modify the amount of federal withholding income tax you will have deducted from your paycheck. Please contact Payroll Services at hr.payroll@wwu.edu or 360-650-3774 to ensure your tax status is correct.