10.3 Graduate Student Researcher Appointments

GSRs are supported to do research work that fulfills part of their degree requirements for the MS and PhD degrees.


The duties of a GSR vary according to who your research advisor is and the chosen field of study. Some research advisors will give complete instructions with lots of detail about what they want. Others may give a general direction to "work on this" with no other instruction unless you ask. In some cases, students may spend their first year developing presentations from coursework or from research literature and will only begin hands-on work after they have gained considerable background. In experimental work, GSRs may become more involved in the research projects sooner.


Most GSRs are paid from faculty grants. GSRs who work at least 45% for the entire semester are entitled to have their GSHIP (Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan) paid as well as Fees and if applicable the Non-resident Tuition in full by this GSR appointment.


The normal salary steps for students in our department are the following:


- Entering Students: Step IV

- Students who have passed the Preliminary Exam: Step V

- Student who passed the Qualifying Exam: Step VI

The current GSR Salary Scale can be found here.


If you are a GSR in the Department of Mechanical Engineering most employment forms are processed through the organized Research Unit (ORU) in which the Principal Investigator's (PI's) funds are held. These are usually paid from outside funding such as research grants. Your hiring faculty will direct you to the hiring unit where you will complete these hiring forms. The most common ORUs are:


- Graduate Students paid on Departmental Funding, 6189 Etcheverry Hall

- Engineering Research Support Organization (ERSO), 199M Cory

- Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL), 253 Cory

- Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), 108B McLaughlin Hall


For more information about GSR appointments, please see the GSI, GSR, Reader and Tutor Guide.