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Clemson University Graduate School

Assistantships and Fellowships

What’s the Difference?


Graduate assistantships are monetary awards provided in exchange for work in research, administration, or teaching that graduate students perform while pursuing their graduate degree. Graduate assistants are compensated through tuition discounts proportional to their weekly hours of service (usually between 10 and 28 hours per week) and an annual stipend, the amount of which varies based on the type and amount of work being performed. Graduate assistants are employed by the University and sponsored by a particular department or unit and must maintain full-time enrollment as defined in the “Assistantships” section of the Graduate Policy & Procedure Handbook [PDF].

Policies regarding assistantships, contracts, hours, etc. can be found in the "Assistantships and Fellowships" section [PDF] of the Handbook.



Graduate fellowships are monetary awards that require no work or service from the student. They may come from the University or from an external organization like a government agency or a professional association. These are typically awarded based on merit, and for Clemson fellowships students are nominated by faculty and decided on a competitive basis.

Fellowships often limit the student’s research to a specific area of study designated by the sponsor, or may require a period of residency at the sponsoring organization. A fellowship may require a certain course load.

How to Find an Assistantship or Fellowship

Assistantships and fellowships at Clemson are offered and managed by individual academic departments, colleges and centers according to the policies in the Graduate Policies and Procedures Handbook [PDF]

If you’re interested in applying for an assistantship or a fellowship, check with your program’s department to see if there will be openings or nominations for upcoming semesters. Some programs post their positions online on their own websites, or you can inquire directly with your department’s graduate program coordinator. A few assistantships, usually those open to students in one of several programs, are posted on the Clemson JobLink site.