A Research Assistant (RA) is a member of a research group in a Laboratory or Project. The position offers a close association with members of the Faculty. Work on the thesis project is normally part of the Research Assistant’s assignment and most students welcome the opportunity to participate on a research project that frequently influences their choice of thesis topic.

    A Research Assistant may register for up to 27 units of scheduled classroom and laboratory work; this limit is strictly observed for all Research Assistants. Exceptions are granted by the Committee on Graduate Students only in exceptional circumstances. In this Department, this usually means two 12-unit graduate subjects. In addition, students should be registered for 24 thesis units (6.THG) during every registration period, or 12 units of 6.9920[6.960] in the first fall and spring terms.

    Full-time Research Assistants receive a monthly stipend and their tuition is paid. Tuition will be prorated for part-time Research Assistants according to Department policy. Stipend rates effective May 1, 2024 is $4,232 per month (SM level) and $4,547 per month (PhD level). Research Assistants will find the cost of an individual health insurance plan fully covered during the tenure of their appointment.

    The U.S. government requires all graduate students hired for research, teaching, etc., to sign, under penalty of perjury, an “Employment Eligibility Verification” (I-9 Form). You must produce specified documents, which verify your identity and authorization to work and present them at the Atlas Service Center located on the first floor of E17. Your appointment and ability to start employment cannot be completed until the signed I-9 Form and the appropriate documents have been processed at the Atlas Service Center.  You can find more information at

    Federal and State tax will be withheld from your pay. Tuition is not taxable. For additional information regarding taxes please visit the taxes page at the Office of Graduate Education (OGE).

    Research Assistants appointed for a twelve-month period are entitled to two weeks of vacation with pay. This may be taken concurrently with the regular academic vacation periods or at another time provided the Assistant continues regular work during these school vacation periods. Vacations must be arranged with the Assistant’s research supervisor. Vacation time is not cumulative and should be taken prior to the termination date of the Assistantship appointment.

    Research Assistants will be asked to sign a form entitled “Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement”, when they start their employment with their project or Laboratory. The agreement is self-explanatory.

    A Research Assistant’s assigned duties together with the allowed classroom registration will normally demand full-time attention. As a result, students holding this appointment are discouraged from accepting additional employment. In rare cases where additional income is needed, the Research Assistant must obtain the approval of his/her research supervisor and the EECS Graduate Office. Please contact Meredith Bittrich in the Graduate Office, 38-444, to discuss the process and to submit the Additional Employment request form.

    If a student wins a fellowship or award that exceeds $2,700 tenable for the same nine-month academic year as the Research or Teaching Assistantship, then the compensation and time commitment will be reduced in accordance with Department policy for supplementing fellowships. For more information on supplementation, see Liza Ruano in the Graduate Office, 38-444.