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Graduate Student Workers

Graduate Student Workers

The Graduate Student Association-University of Waterloo (GSA-UW) is dedicated to the advocacy and representation of graduate students in all capacities at the University of Waterloo. Graduate student labour rights and responsibilities are key principles and points of advocacy. Graduate students play a critical role as workers to advance the research and educational interests of UWaterloo. 

It is essential for graduate student workers to have the knowledge and tools to effectively advocate for their rights as workers in order to ensure a fair, safe and optimal work environment. This page offers important resources for better acquainting yourself with the graduate student worker position. 

What is a Graduate Student Worker?

Graduate student workers are critical participants in creating, managing, and facilitating both research and education at UWaterloo. For many graduate students, funding packages and program admissions are contingent on student-related employment in the form of a teaching assistantship (TA), a research assistantship (RA), or as a sessional instructor:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA): held by a graduate student to assist a faculty member with instructional responsibilities

  • Graduate Research Assistant (RA): held by a graduate student to perform a designated list of research duties under the supervision of one or more faculty members

  • Sessional Instructor: academic workers with contracts less than one year in duration to deliver teaching responsibilities (i.e., adjunct professors; research fellows; definite-term lecturers) 

These positions are integral to the educational programming offered to undergraduate and graduate students at UWaterloo. They offer critical professional development opportunities that can support the academic and professional career goals of graduate students.

For more information, read more on:


If you have questions, concerns or comments about your experience as a graduate student worker, please feel free to contact the GSA’s Labour Coordinator at, among other qualified GSA staff.

Last Updated: December 30, 2021

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