Introduction to Employment

The Department of Biostatistics and the University of Washington employ graduate students in a range of positions based on the student’s degree program, skills, experiences, and areas of interest. The most common forms of employment are Research Assistant (RA), Teaching Assistant (TA), Training Grant appointee, hourly grader, and tutor.

  • The Biostatistics Graduate Program works with RA supervisors, training grant directors, and TA instructors to make decisions on the appointments for new and current students. 
  • Appointment decisions are based on a combination of factors: prior experience, computing knowledge, course grades as well as hiring faculty needs and preferences.
  • All official appointment offers are made the the Graduate Program Director (GPD).
Job Duties Forms: RA & TA

General Information

  • Length of Appointments - Appointments are assigned for a designated period with a specific %FTE (full-time equivalent). The Department seeks to place eligible students on year-long RAs but, for various reasons, this may not be possible. In that case, the student receives a mix of support (e.g., more than one RA, a RA and a TA, etc.) totaling the %FTE needed.
  • Hours/week - RA and TA appointments are for 25% FTE (approx. 110 hours/quarter or 50% FTE (approx. 220 hours/quarter).
  • Union - Students with a RA, TA, and/or TG appointments are classified as Academic Student Employees (ASEs) and governed by a bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW Local 4121. See ASE rights and responsibilities.
  • Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action - The UW is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. For information about disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450, 206-543-6452 (TTY) or

Rights & Responsibilities

  • Students are expected to maintain good work ethics and satisfactory job performance as in any other type of employment. It is important to have a professional attitude towards your work no matter what research area or type of appointment. There is large variation among positions so each appointment should start with a discussion with about expectations of the student employee. Please refer to your "Job Duties" form for the exact expectations of your position and the criteria that will be used to evaluate your performance.
  • Hours - Students are expected to work the number of hours for which they are remunerated. A student supported on an RA or TA is obligated to provide approximately 220 hours of service per quarter (50% FTE, about 20 hours per week) or 110 hours per quarter for a (25% FTE, about 10 hours per week). In addition to performing the job in a satisfactory manner students are to maintain good academic standing in the program.
  • Required registration - Students with 50% FTE positions must register for full-time study throughout their appointments. Full-time graduate study is ten credits for Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, and two credits for Summer.
  • Vacation & Leave - ASE's are entitled to five days of vacation per quarter worked, normally to be taken during quarter breaks. An additional seven days of leave per year is available for sickness, disability, or family-related leave (birth, adoption, bereavement, or care of family member). See more information.

Pay Rates

  • Salary rates for RA and TAs positions are determined by negotiations between the UW and the UAW (represents graduate student employees).
  • Please refer to the pay rate sheet that accompanies your appointment letter for your pay rate.
  • The amounts in Appointment Letters are gross (before taxes). It is the responsibility of students to know what they owe in taxes. For tax information please consult the IRS.

Additional/Summer Employment Pay Rates

  • UW employment
    • Students may not accept any additional UW appointments or employment without receiving prior approval from the GPD.
  • Non-UW employment
    • It is not uncommon for Biostatistics students to take on a small amount of private consulting or tutoring work for a few hours a week. However, students need to be aware of how many hours they are allowed to work (varies by citizenship status, fellowship/scholarship requirements, etc.). The student is responsible for determining his/her eligibility (according to visa status, etc.) as well as ability to handle the extra workload. The Department cautions against taking on a workload that is detrimental to academic progress.
  • Internships
    • Internships can provide wonderful professional learning experiences. If a student wishes to have an internship they are expected to discuss it with their faculty advisor and follow the department's Internship Permissions Guidelines.
    • International Students interested in internships, must discuss this in advance first with an International Student Services advisor to ensure compliance with visa regulations.
  • Summer Employment
    • For summer quarter only, students may hold up to 100% (40-hour/week) appointments, provided the funds are available.
    • A student interested in extra work during the summer must discuss this in advance with their advisor and the Graduate Program Director. Students on Training Grants must discuss this in advance with their Training Grant Director.
    • International Students interested in extra work during the summer must consult with their International Student Services advisor to ensure compliance with visa requirements.

Issues with the Appointment:

  • Students are expected to serve for the entire term of their appointment. Only in exceptional cases will a student be released from an appointment prior to the end date specified in the letter of appointment.
  • However, sometimes things do not work out. If possible, always try to discuss the situation first with the RA supervisor, TG Director, or TA instructor. You may also meet with the GPD for a confidential conversation to seek ways to resolve the situation. Students who wish to change their appointment must discuss this with GPD who is the one to make the approval decision. Usually the RA supervisor, TG Director, or TA instructor is also included in the discussion, but situations are addressed on a case-by-case basis and may be approached in different ways depending onthe situation.