English Graduate Assistantships

GA-ships are professional opportunities designed to allow you to learn many facets of teaching in a collaborative and supportive program. A GA appointment is a kind of apprenticeship in which you not only practice teaching but also learn about being an academic professional-what it means to be a member of an English department.

GAs receive a stipend and a 9-credit tuition remission in fall, winter, and spring terms. GAs are appointed for 2 years, depending on performance (except for the Book Publishing Program, which appoints some of their GAs from the 1st year student pool).


To apply, check the box on the program application when you are asked if you would like to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship. The application will then double as the GAship application.

GA Duties

First year English GAs typically tutor in the Writing Center for one quarter, and teach WR 115 or WR 121 College Writing for two quarters.
Second year English GAs typically teach each quarter; these courses may include introductory technical and creative writing.

More Information

For specific information on Graduate Assistantships, view the GA Handbook.  Contact the Human Resources Department at (503) 725-4926 for more information on the documentation required to accept your GAship and become a PSU employee, or visit the HR onboarding page and the EPAF system information page.  


If you have general questions about Graduate Assistantships, contact the Program Coordinator at grdstudy@pdx.edu or (503) 725-3623.


Meet English Graduate Assistants

After finishing my Bachelor’s Degree at the Ohio State University, I lived and
worked in Columbus for a year while deciding on my next steps. I wanted to continue my literary studies, but wasn’t sure how to pay for it, and after living in Ohio most of my life, I knew I wanted a different geographical experience.

Portland State came to the rescue. Shortly after being accepted into the English Master’s program, I learned I had been offered a Graduate Assistantship. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what the position entailed, but I knew it would cover my tuition, and make graduate school possible. Now, I know the Graduate Assistantship position provides much more than financial assistance.  On top of
the tuition remission and a monthly stipend, Graduate Assistants gain two years of independent teaching experience, as well as a tightly knit group of graduate colleagues. The position eased the financial strain of a cross-country re-location, and has allowed me to wholly focus on my studies at PSU. Before school began, I had never visited Portland. Now, thanks in large part to my Graduate Assistantship, the city feels like home.

-Thomas Van Camp,  MA in English '15


I applied to the nonfiction MFA program at Portland State University during my senior year of college at Elon University. When I received notification of my acceptance, I immediately developed hopes about what the next two years of school would bring: I hoped to be motivated, challenged, and encouraged by peers and faculty; I hoped to read and consider a wide variety of work; and I hoped to work intensively on my writing.

This program has not only met, but exceeded all of my expectations because of one very important factor: my position as a Graduate Assistant. In addition achieving all my initial academic goals at PSU, I’ve also discovered a love of teaching; learned how to balance a career and my life as a creative writer; and I’ve had the pleasure to meet once a week with fellow Graduate Assistants and a mentor who all now feel like PSU family.   Additionally, the financial support that comes with the position has allowed me to focus on bettering myself as a writer, reader, thinker, student, teacher, and member of my university community during the past two years. Because of my role as a student and GA, and because of the colleagues and friends I’ve had the opportunity to form relationships with while in the MFA program, I feel prepared and supported in my goal to pursue a life of teaching and writing when I graduate.

-Jacqueline Alnes, MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) '15