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Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Child and Family Studies offers financial support to graduate students in a variety of ways. All assistantships include fee waivers for each semester, as long as the student is enrolled in at least 6 credit hours of coursework, and health insurance for US students. Most assistantships are half time, requiring 20 hours of work per week, and provide a yearly stipend that varies between $12,000 – $15,000. Departmental assistantships are competitive and last for a period of two (MS students) and three years (PhD students).

The Graduate Committee is responsible for recommending students for assistantship positions, and the department head makes the final decision to award an assistantship, based largely on the student’s professional goals and faculty needs. Most students who are supported by a departmental assistantship are assigned to faculty who are conducting research and teaching courses.

Consequently, every effort is made to place students with faculty whose research and teaching activities are related in some way to a student’s professional goals. Once an assignment is made, it is up to individual faculty to discuss with student assistants how best to allocate their time and evaluate their performance.

Assistantships can be applied for during the graduate application process. Students currently enrolled in an assistantship will be required to evaluate it midway through their experience. Any questions regarding this can be obtained from the graduate contacts listed at the bottom of this page.

Types of Assistantships

Early Learning Center

A few departmental assistantships are located in the Early Learning Center (ELC). Students who receive these assistantships are usually interested in learning about early childhood programs and how children and families benefit from quality child care facilities. Students who receive an ELC assistantship are assigned to one of the three ELC early education facilities and are directly responsible to the facility’s assistant director (AD). Students on ELC assistantships usually meet with ADs before their assignments are finalized to discuss various opportunities in the ELC that may be of interest to them. Final decisions about assignments are based as much as possible on creating a good match between a student’s professional goals and ELC program needs.


The department offers a number of opportunities for research through the Early Learning Center (ELC), Parenting Education Lab, and the Early Experiences Laboratory, to name a few. Occasionally, faculty members may also have opportunities for research through individual research projects outside of the aforementioned research centers. Assignment decisions are based on the alignment between the designated research center or faculty member and the prospective student’s professional goals and/or research interests.

Teaching Associateships and Assistantships

Generally, teaching assistantships are offered to PhD students who have a firm grounding in human development and family theory, usually later in their studies (e.g., fourth or fifth years). However, students may also be given teaching assistantships in order to assist faculty members with undergraduate, and occasionally graduate, classes (e.g., help prepare materials or lectures for class, grade papers, mentor exams, be available for extra help or study sessions, etc.).

Please note that departmental assistantships are not limited to the above listings. For more information regarding assistantships, please contact the graduate specialist, Ms.Sonja Spell.