Graduate Student Appointments

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering employs graduate students to assist with teaching and research. These are typically 0.5 FTE appointments and provide both tuition reimbursement and a graduate staff salary.  Other appointment levels are possible, however must be approved by the Civil Graduate Office.

In all instances, the duties of the assistant must be fairly and equitably assigned, and the demands placed upon the assistant must not be unreasonable. The generally accepted measure for setting graduate assistant assigned workloads is time. As in other major research universities, Purdue assumes that a half-time appointment entails 20 hours of service per week.  There is the expectation that a master’s student receiving funding as a research assistant will complete a thesis, unless other arrangements have been made with the student’s advisor.

Typical Teaching Assistant duties include class or lab preparation time, laboratory contact (lectures and non-lecture), office hours for student contact, grading homework assignments, grading lab reports, and consultation with supervising staff member. However, duties do vary with every course and faculty member.  Duties and expectations of a Research Assistant are specified by the respective advisor.

If a student has been reported for academic dishonesty and has had action taken by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR), he/she cannot serve as a TA until he/she has completed all remediation requirements from OSRR and is no longer on probation. The student would also not be eligible for any other types of funds provided/administered by the Lyles School of Civil Enginering (including, but not limited to: professional development or travel grants, CoE awards, research, service or teaching awards)

Students registering as Exam or Degree Only are not eligible to be funded on an assistantship.

Special note regarding the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship: The Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship provides support for outstanding PhD candidates in their final year or semester of doctoral degree completion. The goal of the fellowship is to allow exceptional candidates to focus on finishing their dissertation.  A call for nominations will go out each year to Civil Engineering faculty.  Note that students do not apply for this fellowship, they must be nominated by a faculty member.  Recipients are expected to devote full-time effort to the completion of all requirements necessary to receive their doctoral degree at the conclusion of the fellowship tenure.  Receipt of the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship would make the student ineligible for future School level funding, teaching assistantships and those opportunities coordinated through the CE Grad Office.  If extenuating circumstances extend the students program, it would be the expectation that the advisor would provide any future funding through an RA.

Policy for Contact Teaching Assistants

All graduate students for whom English is a second language must take and successfully complete the screening procedure as provided by the Department of English Oral English Proficiency Program (OEPP). Certification by the OEPP is necessary before a contact teaching assignment may be made. It is also required that all contact teaching assistants participate in a Graduate Teaching Assistant Workshop, which is typically held each August.

Students who fail to gain certification through the OEPP screening must satisfy the recommendation of the OEPP examiner. Normally the recommendation is that the student completes English 62000, a special English course designed for non-native speakers of English.

Students required to take the OEPP screening should contact the CE Graduate Programs Office to request screening information.  A score of 50 is passing, the student can serve as a contact TA.  A score of 45 is a provisional pass; the student can serve as a contact TA only if they are also enrolled in ENGL 620, or can retest in six months. Students who score 40 can enroll in ENGL 620 in order to become certified or can retest in one year. Scores below 35 can retest in six months.

There are no exceptions to the policy stated above. All questions pertaining to the policy should be addressed to the Civil Engineering Graduate Programs Office.

Teaching Assistantship (TA) Training Program

A graduate student orientation and teaching assistant (TA) training program is held during the Fall semester of each academic year. Entering graduate students expecting a TA position are required to attend these sessions at least once. Graduate students entering in the Spring or Summer semesters may be required to attend the following Fall semester training program based on the recommendation of their advisor.

All entering and continuing graduate students with assistantships, as a condition of employment, should arrive on campus one week before classes begin.

Procedure for illness incidents in class/lab:

Should anybody vomit:

                There is a dedicated group on campus to deal with the situation  

                Call 494-7107 immediately and remove others from the area

Should someone collapse or pass out:  

                As the TA for that lab, you are in charge and you will need to direct a couple of activities to other people for best response

                1 - Stay with the student

                2 - Call 911, preferably by you; but if not you, keep the caller in close proximity to relate information

                3 - Assign someone to go outside the east side of the building to direct the medical personnel to the proper location (Purdue EMT will usually arrive via Northwestern Ave)

                4 - Assign another individual to hold the door open for the medical team

                5 - Stay in contact with 911 until EMT are on site


Fringe Benefits and Privileges

Graduate staff employee benefits are categorized and described in the following five major sections: Tuition and Fee Remissions, Leaves of Absence, Medical Insurance, Risk Management Programs, and Miscellaneous. You can find more information at: and

School of Civil Engineering Office Space Policy for Short-Term Appointments

  1. All office space for graduate students, post-doctoral associates, and visiting faculty in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering will be managed centrally by a staff member.  Space for new graduate students, post-docs, and visiting faculty should be requested by the supervisor.  The staff member will consult with the area coordinators before office assignments are finalized.
  2. Assignment of office space in the area where the graduate student, post-doc, and visiting faculty will be working is of the highest priority.  However, if office space in the requested area is not available, then the person will be placed on a waiting list.  As space becomes available, the people will be moved off of the waiting list in the order in which they were place on the list.
  3. Because office space in the School of Civil Engineering is limited, there will be a prioritization of available office space as shown below.
              Priority 1: Visiting faculty
              Priority 2: Post-doctoral associates (funded by Purdue)
              Priority 3: Graduate students (funded by Civil)
              Priority 4: Graduate students (funded elsewhere at Purdue or unfunded)
  4. Each office space will contain a defined amount of furniture per person (one desk, a shared bookcase, a shared file cabinet).  Additional furniture, boxes, and microwaves will not be permitted.  Coffee pots and refrigerators are discouraged.  Office spaces cannot be used as storage areas for faculty belongings.
  5. When the office occupant vacates his/her space, the office will be inspected to ensure that he/she has removed all personal items.  All personal items remaining after the occupant has left Purdue will be discarded.

CE Key Request Form Process

  1. Area secretary or supervisor will initiate Key Request Form
  2. Record completion date of on-line Right-To-Know training (this must be done annually):
  3. Room’s requiring specific training verification including in-lab safety training and completed PPE include:
         Env – 2131-5, 2146, 3103-19, 3104, 3120, 3124, 3125, 3129, 3139, 3145
         Geomatics – 1115-21
         Geotech – B268, B277, B286, B290, G146, G263, G286
         Hydro – B115
         Mat – B150, B157, B257, B263-5, B289, G157, G159, G277
         Trans -1122
         UG – B115F, G150, 2158
  4. Supervisor must sign key request form verifying applicable in-lab training and attach a copy of completed PPE form to key request form
  5. Submit completed forms to CE Main Office for final processing

Registration of Graduate Assistants

To be eligible to hold a graduate staff appointment during any session, an individual must be enrolled as a graduate student in a degree or teacher license program and be registered for at least three credit hours of graduate-level course and/or research work during the entire appointment period. (Graduate staff holding an appointment during the summer are obligated to register for a minimum of three graduate hours during at least one of the summer modules.)  A graduate student will normally register for no more than 18 credit hours per fall or spring semester.

A student is eligible for the graduate staff fee remission if the appointment is in effect during the first six weeks of a semester or until July 1 of the summer session. If a graduate staff appointment terminates within the first six weeks after the start of a semester or prior to July 1 during the summer session or if the appointment begins after July 1 and coursework is continued, all fees will be assessed for the semester or summer session to the student.

Students enrolled in the summer session are eligible for summer fee remission if they held a teaching assistantship in the prior spring semester and will also be appointed to a teaching assistantship in the following fall semester. Graduate programs should notify (in writing) the Bursar’s Office of graduate students who comply with the Graduate School memorandum from T. P. Adler on “Summer Tuition and Fee Waivers for Teaching Assistants.”

A student who held a teaching assistantship during the spring semester, but will not hold one during the fall semester because he or she will complete degree requirements during the summer may be granted a Graduate Tuition Scholarship for the summer session. The graduate program must submit a Graduate Fellowship Assignment (G.S. Form 90). Refer to Graduate School memorandum from T. P. Adler on “Summer Tuition and Fee Waivers for Teaching Assistants.”