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Graduate Student Assistantships

Cornell University supports consistent and similar educational experiences for graduate students on assistantships, across all graduate fields and colleges.

Policy details


Your local college or unit administrative office or the Dean of the Graduate School

Revision History:

Revisions include changes to the appointment period dates for fall, spring, and summer appointments, with special provisions for the appointment dates for continuing students in the summer/fall transition period in 2020. Please take particular note of these dates in the policy for planning purposes for the next academic year. 

The revisions also clarify that graduate students appointed on assistantships are entitled to take time off on university holidays, and are entitled to two weeks (ten weekdays) of vacation per 12-month appointment.

The revision includes a new appendix with detailed example appointment letters for each assistantship type.  Appointing units should use these templates to be sure to include all required language in appointment letters. 

The policy articulates that faculty and staff responsible for overseeing graduate students on assistantship should provide appropriate training and feedback to graduate assistants, and affirms that summer assistantship appointments must conform to Policy 1.3; academic expectations for students appointed to partial summer assistantships are to be adjusted proportionally.