What is a Psychology Assistantship?

Updated November 30, 2022 · 2 Min Read

Explore this resource by Best Counseling Degrees to learn all about psychology assistantship.

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A Psychology Assistantship is a type of salaried academic employment which involves the student receiving tuition reimbursement for certain tasks and short-term jobs. In other words, it is a unique form of financial assistance for graduate students.

Below explains more about assistantships and how to apply for them.

Assistantships in Psychology

A Psychology Assistantship is typically offered to graduate students in both academic and administrative areas. Students normally work around 15 to 20 hours a week and receive a stipend and tuition reimbursement as payment.

Assistantships usually award 16 to 18 course credits for participation. Depending on the program, participants may earn a stipend ranging from $6,000 to $15,000.

The candidate must be an accepted, full-time graduate student. They must be able to work independently and communicate well with others. They are generally not allowed to work outside the assistantship program. Graduate students will generally work as teaching or research assistants.

Research Assistants

Psychology assistantships have many research opportunities available. Graduate research assistants support academic research through collecting, analyzing and archiving data. They may be assigned to perform detailed research in the library archives and compile a database. This may involve a lot of editing, photocopying and filing. On the other hand, they might be asked to test interview or test subjects in experiments or score psychometric exams. They may even work as the principal investigator on an assigned research project.


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The best benefit of working as a research assistant is that they will gain valuable research experience and learn skills and knowledge that aren’t available in classrooms. They will have regular opportunities to work one-on-one with mentors or faculty members. In the end, they can receive a positive letter of recommendation and be fully prepared for their dissertation.

Teacher Assistants

There are also graduate teacher assistants who are assigned to a professor to help with teaching undergraduate courses. They may do everything from helping students during office hours to setting up equipment to grading exams or papers. They may assist with running lab sessions, conducting study sessions and even teach a section of a course. This is an invaluable learning experience that provides the student with exclusive academic experiences which are very beneficial for long-term career success. For example, the teacher assistant will learn practical teaching techniques and how to develop and maintain positive relationships with students. In addition to networking with faculty, the student will be prepared to become a future professor.

What are the Differences between an Assistantship and Fellowship?

While most graduate schools offer both assistantships and fellowships, there are key differences between the two.

First, fellowships are like scholarships that the student is awarded to help cover the costs of tuition, housing, textbooks and academic fees. Generally speaking, academic associations will sponsor the fellowship in exchange for limited duration jobs that provide unique professional development opportunities for the student.

Conversely, assistantships only offer tuition coverage for on-campus work. In this way, they resemble work-study programs. Assistantship funds are considered to be salary and do not count as a financial aid award.

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How to Apply

When it comes to psychology assistantships at smaller colleges, competition is fierce. Students must meet the minimum GPA requirements and submit an application and two to three letters of recommendation. Students must demonstrate a high level of maturity, responsibility and commitment.

In short, assistantships are excellent career and academic opportunities for graduate psychology students. Assistantships in psychology departments comes in the form of research and teaching assistants. A Psychology Assistantship is one of the best ways to gain valuable work experience while at school.

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