Graduate student employment

Giving a lecture

The following information pertains to a full time graduate student’s employment status at the University of New Brunswick (employment activities outside the University are not monitored).

As a full-time student, you are expected to be pursuing your studies on a full-time basis and making satisfactory progression towards your program requirements. Your employment as a teaching assistant (GSTA) or research assistant (GSRA) is subject to the policies detailed in the Collective Agreement of the Union of Graduate Student Workers (USGW) which states:

A full-time Graduate Student will not normally be employed as a GSTA and, or, GSRA for more than 520 hours over a 12 month period. A GSTA and, or a GSRA’s employment duties may, but need not, be directly related to their academic studies.

Students may also be involved in teaching UNB courses as a Contract Academic Instructor, or other, non-academic employment on campus (e.g., food services, security services).  Typically, students in research-based programs would not take on on-campus employment that in total exceeds 520 hours over a 12-month period (or an average 10 hours per week). This 520-rule does not apply to course-based students with the exception of limits imposed by study permits for international students.

These regulations for full-time research-based students have been implemented to ensure that there is sufficient time for you to work towards program completion in a timely manner. However, the University acknowledges students’ capacity for making good decisions and thus, students are able to pursue additional on-campus employment beyond the average of 10 hours per week (but generally not exceeding 20 hours per week, on average, in each term), having followed a process and met certain conditions. The rationale for this flexibility is to remove barriers that may prevent students from accruing meaningful experiences at UNB that are pertinent to students’ professional goals or addressing financial need (e.g., research opportunities, student governance/leadership, or other employment on campus).  

It important to note that the current UGSW Collective Agreement restricts the number of working hours in related employment (GSTA and GSRA) to 520 hours per year (or an average of 10hours per week). Thus, there remains this limit on GSTA/GSRA related employment. 

With respect to process, Faculties and Departments may articulate specific procedures. At a minimum, decisions regarding additional employment, beyond an average of 10 hours/week, require an open conversation between you and your supervisor where factors such as academic progression, upcoming milestones, career goals, and other commitments are discussed in a transparent manner. Such conversations are helpful for clarifying expectations and engaging in collaborative decision-making. In this regard, supervisor’s and Director of Graduate Studies approval is required (as described below).

In terms of conditions, students who are progressing well academically may request additional hours of employment (beyond 10 hours/week). It is important to note that expectations for academic progress / program timelines are not modified with the additional activity, nor is additional employment activity typically viewed as extenuating circumstances for which exceptions to academic rules are made. Thus, you should only take on additional employment at the University if you are able to maintain good progress in your studies. You should never feel obliged to take on additional hours of employment beyond that which make up your funding package.

To request additional hours of UNB employment (beyond 10 hours/week), you should discuss this with your supervisor, and have them endorse the Permission to Work Form.

If you are an international student, it is your responsibility to ensure that any work hours are within the limits of your student permit. If you are unsure of the limits to your hours of employment, you can discuss this with the International Student Advisor’s Office.


Frequently asked questions:

Am I required to have my supervisor’s approval before committing to additional employment?

  • Yes – the University does not wish to create conditions whereby students are not able to progress academically because of employment demands. Thus, seeking approval provides some assurance that your progress will not be hindered despite the increased time commitment for employment. Moreover, it is important for the expectations of your academic work to be discussed so that you can make an informed decision about the additional work. Specifically, how the approval process takes place is determined by your individual Faculty/Department. If you do not have a supervisor, the approval would come through the program director/of Director of Graduate Studies.

Can I work more than 10 hours/week if I am holding an external scholarship?

  • The purpose of external scholarships is to allow student to fully concentrate on their studies. Thus, students are not encouraged to take on UNB employment beyond the 10 hours/week. However, in rare cases, these appointments may be approved by your supervisor or program director. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they are also in compliance with the external scholarship regulations.

Does this process apply to service contracts with industry or community partners as well?

  • If you are an employee of the university (e.g as a research assistant) then yes, this process would apply. This process would not apply if you were employed directly by the partner, outside the university.  

With the additional hours, I am not able to keep up with my academic work… what should I do?

  • It would be good to have a discussion with your supervisor/program director to review commitments and generate a plan. Progressing in academic work is your responsibility; moreover, having good academic standing in the program is a generally a condition of your funding package.

What happens if my supervisor does not approve additional hours of employment?

  • If, after an open conversation about expectations and commitments, there is disagreement between you and your supervisor regarding additional hours of employment, you may wish to connect with the Director of Graduate Studies in your department who may be able to facilitate a resolution.

GSTA – Graduate student teaching assistantships 

GSTA appointments are governed by a Collective Agreement between the University and PSAC-UGSW (Local 60550).

Students should be setup with employment income specific to GSTA appointments using Appendix B1 of the Collective Agreement.

GSTA appointments should not exceed an average of 10 hours per week. If a full-time graduate student has more than one GSTA appointment, or a combination of GSTA(s) and GSRA(s), the total number of employment hours should not exceed the 10 hour weekly average.

Looking to hire a student? Complete the Authorization for Payment of GSTA and GSRA form, and send to the appropriate office for approval.

*Pay cut off dates are set by Human Resources. In order for students to get paid on time, SGS will require payment forms at least one week prior to the payroll cut-off date noted by Human Resources.

GSRA – Graduate student research assistantships

GSRA appointments are governed by the same Collective Agreement between the University and PSAC-UGSW (Local 60550).

Once again, student should be setup with employment income specific to GSRA appointments using Appendix B2 of the Collective Agreement.

GSRA appointments are intended for graduate student employment where being a graduate student is a condition of employment. Minimum pay rates and average weekly work guidelines are the same as those that apply to GSTA appointments.

Unfamiliar with the process for completing and posting a GSTA/GSRA position?

  • Step 1: Download and complete the relevant employment form: Appendix B1 (GSTA) or Appendix B2 (GSRA)
  • Step 2: Provide original of the form to the student, retain copies for the Employment Supervisor and the GAU Secretary, and forward a scanned (electronic) copy to the SGS (to the relevant Graduate Program Officer), and to the UGSW (
  • Step 3: If a position is to be advertised to students, develop a description of the position including the employment supervisor (if known), the required number of hours, the term of employment, and to whom the application must be submitted. Also include the following boilerplate information from Article 13.14 of the Collective Agreement. “This position is covered by the Collective Agreement negotiated between PSAC, on behalf of the Union of Graduate Student Workers (UGSW) Local 60550, and UNB. The University of New Brunswick and the Public Service Alliance of Canada are committed to Employment Equity."
  • Step 4: Email this posting to Human Resources , the SGS (Andrea Ruehlicke) and the UGSW.  HR will add the posting to the Job Opportunities website and the SGS will circulated it to all graduate students.

Looking to hire a student? Complete the Authorization for Payment of GSTA and GSRA form, and send to the appropriate offices for approval.

*Pay cut off dates are set by Human Resources. In order for students to get paid on time, SGS will require payment forms at least one week prior to the payroll cut-off date noted by Human Resources.


Graduate students may be engaged to teach on stipend and are then covered under the Collective agreement on Contract Academic Employees. Potential employers should consult the agreement for details regarding students teaching on teaching apprenticeships. Teaching on stipend has a deemed number of hours. Graduate students teaching on stipend may not hold a GSTA appointment at the same time.

Students being recommended for stipend teaching need to complete the form Part-time Employment of Graduate Students. The form must be completed and signed by all parties: Graduate Student, Supervisor, and Director of Graduate Studies, and submitted with their application to the posting department. Should the student be offered the position, the GAU will forward the submitted Part-time Employment of Graduate Students form to SGS for final approval before the contract can be formally offered.

If a GAU receives permission from the Assistant Vice-President (Academic) to waive the requirement to advertise a position and appoint under 18A.01(f) of the CAE(PT) Collective Agreement (Urgent Appointments), the GAU must also forward a copy of that permission to the SGS with the employment request.

Note: The Part-time Employment form & supporting documentation should be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the term in which the student is teaching to allow sufficient time for review and, if not approved, arrangements for an alternate instructor. If approved, the original Part-time Employment form will be returned to the Faculty or Department so that they can send the Part-time Employment form with the stipend contract to Human Resources for processing.

Looking for more details on hiring a grad student as a CAE instructor? Check out the recommended process on the Human Resources website.

Work study, campus police, libraries, etc.

Pay rates for employment, where being a graduate student is not required, may be less than pay rates for  GSTA and GSRA appointments. However, these positions are subject to the same average weekly limit (10-hours) that must take account of any simultaneous employment as a GSTA, GSRA or both.