I have seen some graduate (PhD and Masters) students in Turkey, Nigeria, Malaysia etc that can not work in the university they study. In fact I am one of them as I am about to finish Msc mathematics and computer science in Turkey and planning to start PhD in USA. My question is, is it a policy of most universities in the world that post graduate students can not work in the institution they are studying and earn their living? Even to work as graduate assistant perhaps.

  • See also academia.stackexchange.com/q/8618/4394 – Peter Jansson Apr 5 '13 at 9:38
  • 1
    When you say "can not work", do you mean it's forbidden by the university's rules, or is it just that it happens there is no job available? Do some students actually work? – user102 Apr 5 '13 at 10:08


In North America, at least in science and engineering, PhD students are generally expected to work for their host universities as either teaching assistants or research assistants, except for the relative few who win full-ride fellowships. This expectation is strong enough that it is considered foolish to accept an offer of admission to any PhD program without a simultaneous offer of a fellowship or assistantship. Sometimes these assistantships are also available to Master's students.

  • +1 same here in the Netherlands. Although in the exact sciences almost all PhD's get paid a normal salary, but are expected to help out as TA's a certain amount of their time (10-20%). – Paul Hiemstra Apr 5 '13 at 12:01
  • 1
    Of course for those who are on full-ride fellowships, sometimes taking the fellowship includes accepting a restriction not to take other employment. This is often an across-the-board provision, but would be most obvious if you tried to get a job with the instruction imposing that restriction. – Daniel L Apr 27 '15 at 14:24

Degree programs need to produce a whole lot more graduates than instructors in order for the programs to be economically viable. Student to staff numbers of around 15-1 are not uncommon. If the average staff member works for 30 years, this then becomes 450-1. In other words, for every 450 students that graduate one position becomes available. Even in the "best" situation of a 5-1 student to graduate assistant ratio and a 2 year average "career", you are talking about 10%.

  • 1
    I don't see how this answers the question. – JeffE Apr 5 '13 at 11:46
  • 3
    @JeffE I interpreted the question as "after you finish your degree why aren't you guaranteed a job in your former department". Maybe I got it wrong. – StrongBad Apr 5 '13 at 11:59
  • 1
    +1 for shedding pragmatic light. Of course, the quality of your work has something to do with it too. – bobobobo Apr 5 '13 at 16:58
  • I get it now. So with all these answers, it means I can work as a PhD student and thereby gaining experience plus salary in most universities in USA, though I have not chosen the university to study yet. Thanks. – YYG Apr 5 '13 at 17:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.