Guidelines and Expectations for ESS GRA and GTA Positions

Terms of Assistantships

  • You will receive a monthly salary commensurate with current GRA rates during the semesters that you serve as a research assistant and GTA rates for the semesters that you serve as a teaching assistant. These rates are subject to change.
  • Summer funding will be provided at the GRA rate listed in your offer letter contingent on availability of funding.
  • If you are a domestic student who is NOT a resident of Colorado, the difference between resident and non-resident tuition will be covered as an additional benefit for the first year only. Domestic students are expected to establish residency by the beginning of their second year at CSU. Information on establishing Colorado residency can be found on the Office of Financial Aid website.
  • If you are an international student, CSU will extend the Tuition Premium Program to you for the length of your tenure in your graduate degree program as long as you are enrolled in a minimum of five resident-instruction credits fall and spring semesters.
  • You also have access to additional benefits including parental leave and community mental health resources.
  • Graduate assistants with at least a 10-hour GRA or GTA appointment who are registered for 5 credits or more also receive a health insurance contribution.
  • You will be responsible for paying graduate student fees (not tuition) while holding this appointment.

Final appointment of assistantships is contingent upon completion of all the necessary formal documents, certification of the assistantship appointment by the Graduate School, and formal University approval. Graduate students may be reappointed pending the availability of funds, satisfactory progress toward your degree, and your compliance with program and university guidelines including the Student Conduct Code. You must maintain a 3.000 graduate grade-point average and be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour to keep this appointment.  Please reference the Graduate School’s Terms and Conditions of Graduate Assistantship Appointments. Assistantships are at-will and depend upon successful completion of a background check.

It is the policy of Colorado State University that all full-fee paying resident-instruction graduate students enrolled in 6 credits or more to enroll in the CSU student health insurance plan or to receive a waiver by demonstrating comparable health insurance. Graduate students enrolled in less than six resident instruction credits (including CR) may voluntarily enroll by completing an online enrollment form or a paper enrollment form at the CSU Student Insurance Office by the University Add/Drop date (approximately two weeks after classes begin).  The Graduate School provides a health insurance contribution exclusively to help offset the cost of health insurance through CSU’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).  The Graduate School health insurance contribution is provided to graduate assistants who meet ALL of the criteria each fall and/or spring semester posted at:

You are likely to have additional expenses (for example, housing deposits, rent, books, transportation, parking, food, clothing, outerwear, and other living expenses) to pay before your first stipend payment, so arrive with sufficient funds for these additional costs. More information on managing your finances as a graduate assistant is available here. For more information on additional funding opportunities and financial aid, visit the Graduate School Financial Aid Opportunities webpage.

For International Graduate Students:

Teaching Assistants must meet oral English proficiency requirements as defined in the Graduate Bulletin.  Students required to demonstrate English proficiency for acceptance will also be evaluated for their ability to communicate orally in English by their department.

As a Foreign National on a limited visa, it will be your responsibility to understand the immigration regulations governing your visa status in the United States and to work closely with your advisors at the Office of International Programs for assistance in maintaining status.


Orientation and Training

All graduate students are encouraged to visit our online Graduate Student Orientation resources and to attend the all-campus orientation hosted by the Graduate School.  Please look for more information in your email.  Teaching Assistants have a mandatory one-time orientation and training to complete through The Institute for Learning and Teaching. Information and a link to registration can be found at  International students have additional orientation and mandatory sessions through the Office of International Programs.  Additionally, the Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability typically offers an orientation meeting for incoming students with key faculty and staff and our graduate student reps to introduce you more fully to our department.


Departmental Contacts

ESS Graduate Student Coordinator: Nikki Foxley, (970) 491-5589

Faculty Graduate Program Committee Chair: Dr. Stephen Ogle

Graduate Student Representatives:

Natalie Wiley