Graduate Assistantships

In the Department of Communication, we invest in our graduate students by offering financial support opportunities through graduate assistantships. These assistantships are renewable for up to two calendar years and include both a stipend (approximately $11,200) for nine months and a full tuition and fee-waiver scholarship.

The combined assistantship offer of a stipend and tuition/fee waiver includes a total funding package worth over $35,000 over two academic years.

Departmental Application Requirements and Procedures

The Department of Communication offers a limited number of graduate assistantships each academic year, thus assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Minimum eligibility requirements include the following:

  1. Admission to the MA in Communication program (or application under review at the time of GA application).
  1. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0; an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in your last 60 hours; or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on 9 or more hours of your most recent graduate course work. Please note that 3.0 is the minimum accepted GPA required by the Graduate College at Missouri State University. Given the competitive nature of assistantships in our department, most students we fund have an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or better.

Application for a graduate assistantship is a formal process, with a submission deadline of February 1st each year. A completed application consists of the following documentation:

  • Application for Graduate Assistantship form.
    This online form must be completed and submitted by the applicant. 
     
  • Three (3) submitted Graduate Assistantship Letter of Recommendation forms.
    The applicant must request that three references complete and submit the online form found at the link above. Three (3) letters of recommendation are required when applying for a graduate assistantship and must be submitted by the recommenders by the February 1st deadline.

Ongoing Eligibility Requirements

Departmental requirements: The following requirements must be met to maintain ongoing assistantship eligibility in the Department of Communication:

  • Enroll in COM 710 – Contemporary Communication Education during the first semester of assistantship. This course will be applied toward the minimum 33 hours of graduate credit required for the MA in Communication degree.
  • Attend all required departmental and university trainings.
  • Attend regular meetings with GA supervisor(s) and participate in department-sponsored events relevant to GA assignment.

Graduate College requirements: The following requirements must be met to maintain ongoing assistantship eligibility in the Graduate College:

  • Complete graduate course work towards your degree of at least six hours during each fall and spring semester of appointment. A student may hold an assistantship in the summer without being enrolled in coursework, as long as the student is enrolled in the subsequent fall semester. The student needs to enroll only in the number of hours necessary to complete their degree or certificate (could be as little as one (1) hour) during their last semester. Audited classes do not count.
  • Work 20 hours per week on average.
  • Begin work the week prior to the start of classes and to continue through graduation.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.
  • Complete the following required compliance training for graduate assistants and submit the completion certificates to your supervisor within your first 30 days of employment:
    • Preventing Discrimination and Harassment;
    • Preventing Sexual Misconduct (Title IX);
    • FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Revised Nov. 2020); and
    • Information Security.

Note: You cannot hold any additional on-campus positions other than your graduate assistantship during the time of your appointment.

​​​​​​​International student requirements: If you did not receive both your primary and secondary education in a nation or territory where English was the primary language, you must meet the following requirements to qualify for graduate assistantships with teaching assignments according to Missouri law (RSMo Section 170.012):

  • All graduate students, who have not previously lived in the United States, shall be given and complete a cultural orientation to prepare them for the teaching assignment. This includes international students and permanent residents;
  • A graduate student who did not receive both primary and secondary education in a nation or territory in which English is the primary language shall not be given a teaching appointment during his/her first semester of enrollment at any public institution of higher education in the state of Missouri; and
  • A graduate student who did not receive both his/her primary and secondary education in a nation or territory in which English was the primary language shall be tested for their ability to communicate orally in English in a classroom setting prior to receiving a teaching appointment.

Oral English Proficiency examinations are to be coordinated by the hiring department and include a member of a committee appointed by the dean of the Graduate College.

Types of Assistantships in the Department of Communication

Graduate Assistantship assignments are made at the discretion of the Head of the Department of Communication and are subject to change based on departmental need. Types of departmental assistantship assignments include teaching, administrative, and research assistantships.

Teaching Assistantships
A teaching assistant is a graduate student entrusted with direct classroom instruction. Teaching assistants will complete a week-long orientation and training program conducted by the Director of the Basic Course the week before classes begin in the fall semester. New graduate teaching assistants are also required to enroll in COM 710 – Contemporary Communication Education during the first semester they hold an assistantship. COM 710 will apply toward the minimum 33 hours of graduate credit required for the degree.

The teaching responsibilities of assistants are generally associated with one of three undergraduate courses offered in the School of Communication Studies:

  • COM 115 – Fundamentals of Public Speaking. A large, multi-section introductory course that fulfills an undergraduate general education requirement and is required for all communication majors. Teaching assistants are responsible for teaching assigned sections of this course as the instructor of record.​​​​​​​
  • COM 209 – Survey of Communication Theory. A large, multi-section introductory course. COM 209 is required for all communication majors. Students attend mass lectures and meet with individual graduate teaching assistants in laboratory sections.
  • COM 260 – Communicating with Cultural Competence. A large, multi-section introductory course that fulfills an undergraduate general education requirement and is required for all communication majors. Teaching assistants are responsible for grading, working one-on-one with students, and completing other duties assigned by the instructor of record.
  • COM 350 – The Rhetorical Tradition and Contemporary Applications. A large, multi-section upper-division course. COM 350 is required for all communication majors. Students attend mass lectures and meet with individual graduate teaching assistants in laboratory settings.

Administrative Assistantships
Graduate students who are awarded administrative assistantships generally serve in one of two capacities: as departmental assistant or forensics assistant.

  • Departmental assistant: One form of administrative assistantship involves assisting the department with administrative concerns. Assisting with social media, planning and executing departmental events, and engaging in program development activities are typical responsibilities for administrative assistants with this assignment.
  • Debate assistant: A second kind of administrative assistantship is associated with the Holt V. Spicer Debate Forum. Debate assistants are expected to work closely with the Director of Forensics and are typically assigned support responsibilities necessary to running a nationally competitive debate program.

Research Assistantships
Research assistantships are occasionally available in the Department of Communication. Research assistants are assigned to assist one or more faculty members with specific research projects. Typical assignments include literature or bibliographic searches, data collection or analysis, or assisting with report or manuscript preparation.

Other Assistantships at Missouri State University

Graduate assistantships are available through other departments and offices on campus. Current information on openings, deadlines, and application procedures for these assistantships are available on the Graduate College Graduate Assistantship website.