Graduate Assistantships

Financial assistance is available to graduate students through assistantships, fellowships, awards, and scholarships awarded by the School and the University, and through programs administered by the LSU Office of Financial Aid. A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis through the School each year. The deadlines for applications and supporting credentials for all financial aid, unless specifically noted otherwise, are 30 September and 25 January for the following spring and fall semester, respectively. To be eligible for financial aid you must be a full-time student and in good academic standing.

Types of Graduate Assistantships

LSU classifies Graduate Assistantships (GAs). The following are categories used in the School of RNR

Teaching Assistant 1 (TA1): This category does not include contact with students in scheduled meetings of classes and laboratories. Graduate assistants working under this category work in support of instructional programs, including such tasks as preparing examinations, grading papers, assisting in preparation of lectures, maintaining class records, and tutoring students outside of formal class and laboratory settings.

Teaching Assistant 2 (TA2): This category comprises all the duties for a Teaching Assistant 1 but also may include such assignments as making presentations in laboratories or classrooms, conducting lectures, and leading discussion groups provided that the GA is neither the instructor of record nor has primary responsibility for assigning grades.

Research Assistant (RA): Graduate assistants working under this category assist faculty members in conducting research.

Service Assistant (SA): These graduate assistants are responsible for academic assignments such as data analysis, literature searches, and report writing.

Sources of Assistantships

Gilbert Foundation Research Assistantships

The School of Renewable Natural Resources is seeking M.S. and Ph.D. applicants for Gilbert Foundation Graduate Research Assistantships. These assistantships are available to students concentrating in the study of forestry or forestry-related areas. Research areas could include forest management and economics, wood science and technology, forest biometrics, silviculture, forest hydrology, wetland forests, hardwood regeneration, ecophysiology, forest genetics, and forestry-related wildlife and fisheries management and conservation.

Annual stipends are generous and include a full waiver of tuition and student fees. 

To be eligible, M.S. degree applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.25 for last two years. Ph.D. applicants must a have a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.6. Applicants must submit GRE scores. Verbal and quantitative scores of the GRE should be at least 310 with at least 153 and 144 on the verbal and quantitative sections, respectively. The ideal writing score is 4.0 or above. Selection criteria also include evidence of the applicant’s potential success in pursuing a graduate degree and representation of the Gilbert Foundation ideals, as detailed in a letter of application (see below).  

For more information about graduate studies in the School of Renewable Natural Resources you are encouraged to visit the School’s web page, and the Graduate School web page. Interested applicants should apply online.

The School of Renewable Natural Resources has a teaching, research, and extension faculty of 30, which includes adjunct professors of the US Geological Survey’s Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. The faculty in the School is committed to innovative teaching, state-of-the-art research, and quality extension programs designed to train well-rounded natural resource professionals. Graduates of the School are employed in private industry, and state and federal natural resource agencies, but many choose to continue their graduate education

Louisiana State University is a comprehensive Research I institution enrolling more than 28,000 students. The campus is located in south Louisiana, 60 minutes from New Orleans, close to Louisiana’s Cajun country, and in the heart of the state’s abundant forestry, wildlife, and fisheries resources.

The most successful applicants have arranged for a faculty advisor and a research topic prior to submitting their application. Such arrangements should be included in the letter of interest.

Applications are currently being accepted for the Gilbert Foundation Research Assistantship for the Fall Semester 2023.  The deadline to apply is 15 February 2023. For complete information download:  2023 Gilbert Foundation Research Assistantship Information - PDF.

If you need more information concerning graduate studies, and the Gilbert Foundation Research Assistantship in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, please contact:

Dr. Thomas Dean
Professor and Gilbert Committee Chair
210 Renewable Natural Resources Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803 (225) 578-4216

School of Renewable Natural Resources

The number of graduate assistantships through the School is extremely limited and vary by program. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis according to criteria established by the individual programs. Check with your major professor for the criteria that have been established in your discipline. Stipends for these assistantships are $16,500 and $20,000 per year for M.S. and Ph.D. students, respectively.

Research Grants

Faculty typically obtain extramural funding for their research and often this funding provides money for assistantships. Faculty who receive these grants are responsible for awarding these assistantships according to their own criteria. Stipends funded by extramural funding are set by the faculty member in charge of the project.

Tuition Obligation

All students on a full-time assistantship receive a full tuition waiver. However students are responsible for all university fees. More information about Assistantships can be obtained from the Graduate School.


As soon as the assistantship appointment begins, the graduate assistant must report to the main office (Room 227, RNR) to fill out the various personnel and withholding forms. Appointments are normally for 12 months and do not provide paid vacation or sick leave. The salary of the graduate assistant is subject to both state and federal income taxes.

If you were offered any of these assistantships before you arrived at LSU, you should have already signed a letter of appointment and a copy of the job description of the position to which you are appointed. If you have not signed these documents, contact your major professor.

Duties of Graduate Assistants

Your job duties will be specified in an official job description. Your signature on this document signifies that you have read the job description and that you are aware of what is expected of you. Half-time graduate assistants are expected to work 20 hours per week and to be available for duty on all University work days (including those between semesters). Your performance in relation to your graduate assistant duties will be evaluated by your supervisor on at least an annual basis. You will be asked to sign the evaluation and include your comments concerning the evaluation.

As a graduate assistant, you are a salaried employee of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. This position is not entitled to benefits such as group medical coverage or retirement contributions. Although you are not subject to leave tracking (i.e., filling out papers to request leave), you must obtain permission to take leave from your major professor or faculty member funding your assistantship.

Graduate teaching assistants (TA's) will be required to understand and comply with University policies covering such issues as sexual harassment and the Code of Student Conduct. To meet this requirement, graduate TA's will be required to attend University-wide teaching assistant workshops at their first opportunity. The course instructor has certain responsibilities in preparing graduate TA's for their course assignments.

Time Limits

Assistantships should not pose an impediment to your progress toward a degree. Likewise, assistantships are not meant to provide semi-permanent employment. Therefore, the Graduate School imposes the following time limitations for holding an assistantship:

  1. Maximum of 30 months for students pursuing an M.S. in programs requiring up to 36 hours (2.5 years).
  2. Maximum of 72 months (6 years) for students pursuing a Ph.D.; and maximum of 78 months, including support while in the Master's program, for students pursuing a Ph.D. after earning an M.S. in the same field at LSU. The School of RNR further limits School-based Ph.D. assistantships (e.g., McIntire-Stennis, Forest Products assistantships, teaching assistantships, etc.) to 4.5 years (13 semesters).

Time limits are calculated from the initial appointment date and will not be altered. We expect you to complete your degree well before these limits become an issue. Therefore, you must petition the Graduate Committee to continue a graduate assistantship past the normal time period for completion of the M.S. or Ph.D.

Termination of Assistantships

In addition to the time limits, assistantships terminate under the following circumstances:

  1. the date the candidate receives his or her degree;
  2. the date the candidate stops working;
  3. academic probation; and
  4. failure to adhere to the Code of Student Conduct or to adequately perform assigned duties

If the dates for (1) or (2) do not coincide with the termination date of the appointment, the assistant must submit a written resignation.