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Graduate Associates: Role, Qualifications, and Room and Dining Allocation

Role and Qualifications 
Room and Community Building Dining Allocation
Additional Requirements 
Position Description and Contract


The Office of College Houses and Academic Services looks for individuals of maturity, good judgment, intelligence and energy, who are at ease interacting with students to serve as Graduate Associates. Drawn from virtually all of the graduate and professional schools at Penn, GAs live in the Houses and serve as friends, mentors, and advisors to undergraduates. A staff position elicits and develops skills in working with individuals that have various needs and in working with groups of residents, faculty and staff. Some of the Graduate Associates' responsibilities are similar to those of Resident Advisors. In addition, given the GAs' status and experience in graduate and professional studies, there is an expectation that they will serve in a leadership role in activities that academically enrich their communities and encourage student-faculty interaction. The College Houses welcome candidates with departmental affiliations and teaching fellowships that would permit them to teach undergraduate course sections in affiliation with the College House. While the receipt of free accommodation can help to finance one's education, the major rewards of this position come from experiences with people in a wide range of situations. Many find the Graduate Associate position to be one of the most rewarding features of their time at the University and that such a position contributes considerably to their personal and professional growth. All Graduate Associates are required to live in the space assigned to them. Graduate Associates are expected to support the Department's efforts to foster an academically oriented environment that is supportive and productive for all groups and individuals at the University. Applicants must be enrolled full-time graduate or professional students in a degree-granting program (or be in dissertation status), and must be in good standing at the University of Pennsylvania and enthusiastic about participating in an intellectually vibrant community. A Graduate Associate may not hold full-time employment and serve in the Graduate Associate position. PhD students in Engineering and Applied Sciences should consult their advisors before applying. International students must insure that their appointment complies with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other relevant U.S. laws. Applicants must intend to remain a full-time student for the duration of the academic year in which they are appointed to serve. GAs are expected to work approximately 15-20 hours per week, on average. It is important to understand that due to the nature of this work there will be weeks when the time commitment will be greater than this average. For instance, during the month of August, staff should expect to be very busy participating in fall Staff Orientation, NSO, and opening activities. Applicants must be available to attend staff orientation in August. Some staff are required to remain in residence during low occupancy periods (i.e.: vacation for Fall, Winter, Thanksgiving, Spring Break). The House Dean of each College House prescribes the details of staff responsibilities during these times.


GAs receive rent-free, furnished single living accommodations in room types designated for graduate staff. Each College House is unique and the room types offered to GAs varies from House to House. Some rooms will accommodate a partner or a spouse, but facilities do not exist to accommodate a GA with a child or any other individual. All GA rooms are appropriate for a single occupant. Du Bois, Fisher Hassenfeld, Riepe and Ware College Houses will not consider married or partnered GAs for this reason. The chart below provides a list of the GA rooms in each House.


Du Bois

Double room suite which includes a bedroom, living room, private bath and kitchenette. Air conditioned.

Fisher Hassenfeld

Single room with sink, mini-fridge and microwave; air conditioned; shared hall community bath and access to a staff-only kitchen.


Two rooms with kitchenette and private bath; air conditioned.


Efficiency apartment with separate kitchenette. Private bathroom and oversized walk-in closet. Air conditioned.


Efficiency apartment with separate kitchenette. Private bathroom and oversized walk-in closet. Air conditioned.

Hill Two rooms with private bath. Air conditioned.
Kings Court English

Kings Court: Single room with a private bath.

English: Single room with a sink and shared community bath.


Two rooms with private bath. Air conditioned.


Single room with sink, mini-fridge and microwave; air conditioned; shared hall community bath.


Efficiency apartment with separate kitchenette. Private bathroom and oversized walk-in closet. Air conditioned.


Mayer: Efficiency apartment, air-conditioned, with private bath and kitchenette.

Stouffer: Single room, air-conditioned. Shared hall community bath and kitchen.


Single room with sink, mini-fridge and microwave; air conditioned; shared hall community bath.

Note: All locations are furnished.

In order to assist the GA in meeting the position expectations of building strong relationships with their residents and strong communities with their floors, suites or sections, each GA (and if applicable partner/spouse) is provided a community building dining allocation.  The community building dining allocation is provided so that a GA is able to dine with their residents during the academic year approximately three times per week. This allocation also includes the opportunity to dine with their staff during the pre-service training period in August. The dining allocation is not intended to meet any GA's daily nutritional needs.

Academic fellowships are awarded independently of GA appointments. All positions will be reported by College Houses and Academic Services to Student Financial Services. The value of the GA appointment may be considered as a resource in evaluating financial arrangements for your graduate program. As a result applicants are highly encouraged to consult with their school or program regarding any potential impact before applying for a position and certainly prior to accepting the GA position.


The varied programming of the twelve College Houses demand special skills for some appointments. If you are interviewed please make sure that you understand any special expectations that an individual House may have for you.


GA Position Description and Contract PDF