Research Assistantships

Graduate students may receive compensation for research work in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or Graduate Student Assistantship (GSA).

Details from SGPS are below. 

Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) vs. Graduate Student Assistantship (GSA)

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

Graduate Student Assistantship (GSA)

What is the primary motivation of the professor in appointing the student? To assist his/her student financially; to bring the student up to the guaranteed level of funding as stated by SGPS or the Department To hire an individual to assist completing the tasks necessary for the professor's own research and for his/her own academic and professional gain
What is the primary motivation for the student in accepting this role? To assist in his/her training to become an independent researcher; to assist in qualifying for his/her degree; financial assistance to enable the student to focus on his/her graduate studies Financial gain
What will be the nature of the activities to be performed by the student? Research will relate to student's own thesis or own academic pursuits (still does contribute to the professor's overall research); tasks will include those necessary to learn to become an independent researcher; may be in receipt of GRA funds even when primarily involved in coursework Not directly related to their own thesis or graduate studies; tasks may be more basic in nature and not of assistance in developing the student (e.g. data entry, reference checking, photocopying papers, etc. for professor's research)
What will be the nature of the interactions between the professor and the student? More collaborative in nature; professor as academic mentor Student takes direction and instructions from the professor; as an employer/employee
What degree of independence will the student have? As much as can be expected for current level of training of the student Low - will take instruction from professor and possibly others in the lab/team
Will the 10 hour rule be invoked? Does not apply as student's activities are for his or her own graduate studies and therefore there should be no expectation of a set number of hours imposed on the student Applies
What is the status accompanying this appointment? Student Employee
What tax treatment will the funds receive? T4A, this income is taxable; however, the GRA can claim up to $3,000 in research expenses Regular - T4 with statutory deductions

If you have any questions or concerns with the above or with a specific appointment, please contact Ron Wagler.

(Sourced from SGPS > Financial Support > Compensating Registered Graduate Students)