PhD in Leadership Studies

Department of Leadership Studies


Available positions for 2014-2015 are:

The following campus offices also offer doctoral graduate assistantship placements, which are currently filled.


Applicants should be currently enrolled or newly admitted SOLES doctoral students in good standing, carrying a full course load (6 units per semester).


The below compensation is typical, but variations do occur.  Contracts will specify compensation after verbal offer is accepted.

Nine-month assistantship (equals approximately 760 hours per year):

  • Salary - approximately $14,615
  • Tuition Scholarship* - up to 12 units (to be used during the term of the contract)
  • Benefits-Based employment, option to participate in USD employee group health insurance plan

Twelve-month assistantship (equals approximately 1,040 hours per year):

  • Salary - approximately $20,000
  • Tuition Scholarship* - varies (12-18 units)
  • Benefits-Based employment, option to participate in USD employee group health insurance plan

*Please note that the scholarship funds are taxable, and that the funds do not provide for the cost of books nor fees. Some positions may offer more or less tuition scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions

What hours do Graduate Assistants work?

Graduate assistants work approximately 20 hours per week. Actual hours will vary by position, but are typically between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. with occasional nights and weekends.

My contract specifies a start date, is that the day I report?

No, all contracts begin at the beginning of a pay period and you are expected to work 20 hours that week, so its possible that your first reporting day could be later in the week.  Please discuss your specific schedule with your supervisor.

What are Graduate Assistants' responsibilities?

Responsibilities will vary by position. Some may include research, teaching and/or administrative work. Job descriptions for available positions are posted in the winter.

How can I apply to be a Graduate Assistant?

This first step is to apply to the PhD in leadership studies. Applicants and current PhD students are contacted in January with information on available positions and application processes. The hiring process for the next academic year takes place in early March after admissions decisions are released.

May I apply to more than one Graduate Assistantship?

Yes, but you may only hold one graduate assistantship at a time. If you receive multiple offers you will need to choose one position.

May I take other positions at USD during my Graduate Assistantship?

SOLES expects that full-time graduate assistants will devote a maximum of 20 hours per week to their assistantship duties during the academic year. Employment beyond this level can be detrimental to the student’s progress towards the degree. It is understood, however, that certain occasions may arise in which case it would be beneficial for the student to accept additional responsibilities. If these occasions arise, the extra hours required to fulfill the obligation must be approved by the Dean’s office. The individual’s advisor must assure (by signing this form) that the additional undertaking will not affect the individual’s satisfactory progress towards her or his degree. 

May I renew my assistantship contract?

Yes, contracts are renewable for up to three years, depending on the position and per supervisor approval.

I am nearing the end of my academic program, may I take units beyond the 63 required for the PhD and have them paid for through the GA position?

No, tuition scholarships from your GA position should only be used for units which count towards your degree requirements. 

I was awarded a Dean’s Merit Scholarship prior to being offered a GA position.  What happens to that scholarship?

A GA position scholarship cannot be combined with a Dean’s Merit scholarship.  You can keep the larger of the 2 awards.  Many (but not all) GA position scholarships are paid directly through a Dean’s Merit Scholarship. There are however, other scholarships which can be combined with a GA position, such as the SOLES Diversity Scholarship, and others.