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Term Limits for Appointments of Graduate Teaching Assistants


To set forth standard term limits for GTA appointments.

Applies to: 

Graduate Teaching Assistants with active appointments during the academic year.

Policy Statement: 

The University of Kansas, Lawrence, has established outer limits on appointments for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) as specified below. Summer appointments are excluded from term limit calculations. No term limits established by the University or one of its departments, programs, professional schools, or the College constitutes a guarantee of funding for that amount of time.

In accordance with the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of Kansas, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Graduate Teaching Assistants' Coalition, American Federation of TeachersKansas (GTAC), a GTA who has exhausted the semester limits may be considered for appointment as a lecturer.

Program-Specific Requirements

Departments, programs, professional schools, and the College may establish shorter term limits for GTAs, as appropriate. Any such limit shall be codified in writing in the program's graduate handbook, the Academic Catalog, and/or the university's Policy Library and shall take precedence over the University's maximum limit.

Maximum Durations within a Single Department

  • A student who is admitted to a graduate degree program to obtain only a master's degree is limited to six (6) semesters of GTA appointments.
  • A student admitted to pursue only a doctorate or admitted to pursue more than one (1) degree in a single department is eligible for up to a total of 16 semesters as a GTA.
  • A KU student may not serve more than 16 semesters as a GTA, except as described under Clean Slates below.

Students who have exhausted the University maximum time to complete a degree are not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress. As a result, they are not eligible to serve as GTAs, even if a time-to-degree extension is granted. In exceptional circumstances, departments may petition for eligibility to serve as a GTA during a time-to-degree extension using the petition process described below.

Clean Slates for Students Pursuing Degrees in Multiple Departments:

When a student is seeking graduate degrees in two (2) or more departments, they may be eligible for full funding from each, in accordance with the per-department maximum durations above. (e.g., A student who works as a GTA for six [6] semesters while pursuing a master's in one [1] department may, at the discretion of the new department, work for up to 16 additional semesters as a GTA, should they choose to pursue a degree in a different department.)

Students who return to the same department after time away (e.g., voluntary discontinuation, Leave of Absence, or break in enrollment after a completed master's degree) will not have their eligibility reset to a clean slate.

In determining whether a person has met the limits described here, all semesters of GTA funding for a specific degree program shall be counted, regardless of which department hired the student as a GTA. When a student pursues two (2) funded degree programs in different departments, the maximum limits will be calculated separately for each department.


In exceptional circumstances, a department or program may, with the written support of the appropriate professional school or College, petition the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies for an exception to the GTA term limits. Petitions may be granted when it is in the best academic interest of the student to extend the term limits or allow appointment as a GTA during a time-to-degree extension.

If a student has exhausted six (6) semesters of GTA employment prior to a change from a doctoral program to a master's program in the same department, the department may petition for additional semesters of GTA funding to support writing and degree completion as appropriate.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

This policy does not apply to summer-session GTA appointments.

Semesters in which a student’s sole appointment was as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) or a Graduate Assistant (GA) do not count against the GTA's term limits.

All GTA appointments are made pursuant to the provisions of the MOA.


Policy and petition information for professional schools:
Office of Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Policy and petition informatino for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences:
College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA)
108 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

For MOA questions:
Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Monday, June 1, 1998
Effective on: 
Monday, August 1, 2011
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Semester limit, appointment limit, GTA appointments, term limit
Change History: 

07/27/2023: Fixed broken links.
06/25/2020: Changed Dean of Graduate Studies to Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.
03/21/2019: Update. 
10/04/2018: Technical edit - updated GTAC name - ARG
06/17/2016: Technical edits for compliance with gender neutralization initiative; annual cleanup and maintenance. - ARG
The original policy on time limits on appointments of graduate teaching assistants was promulgated by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor in a memorandum dated June 1, 1998, and was effective on that date.  An updated policy statement and procedures were approved by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and were added to the Policy Library on February 10, 2009, and is effective until the start of the fall 2011 term.  This revised policy was approved by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter on December 11, 2010; it is effective for the 2011-2012 academic year and for all subsequent years.

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