University of California, Riverside

Graduate Division



Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Minimum Standards


Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) 

are students who perform research related to the student's degree program in an academic department or research unit under the direction of a faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator. GSRs must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • must have a 3.00 GPA
  • must have fewer than 8 units of Incomplete grades.
  • must be making acceptable progress toward the degree (must be advanced to candidacy within 12 quarters after entry; and; must complete the degree by the normative time to degree for the particular program plus one year. For most master's students, acceptable progress is represented by enrollment for not more than three years.)

 If the student has not advanced to candidacy within 12 quarters or is beyond time limits for acceptable progress, a timetable must be submitted along with a memo from the program stating that the student is continuing to make progress toward the degree.

 Once appointed students are expected to continue to adhere to the above requirements and to enroll in and complete 12 units of course work or research.

Graduate students may not be employed more than 50 percent time or 20 hours per week during the academic year in any combination of appointments. During quarter breaks and in the summer GSRs may be employed full-time.

Appointees serving at 25% time or more for the full academic quarter receive the payment of the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan Fee ($1,137.30) as well as a remission of the Tuition ($3470) and Student Services Fee ($358).  An appointment of 45% time or more will include payment of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition Fee ($5034) if another source does not pay that fee.  The other miscellaneous fees, such, as the Student Center Fee, the Rec Center Fee, GSA Fees and Student Tech Course Materials Fee are typically paid by the student.

Students receiving PFR and Gship must work the entire quarter to be eligible for this benefit. If the entire quarter is not completed the GSHIP and PFR will be revoked. 

GSRs are not represented by the United Automobile Workers Union.

Salary Scales

Most departments use the following steps for GSR salaries and most students work 49% time during the academic year:
  • GSR, Step 2: The first three quarters of registration as a graduate student 
  • GSR, Step 3: Beginning of the student's fourth quarter of registration (or July 1) 
  • GSR, Step 4: The day after the student advances to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Exceptions can be found in the Graduate Student Employment Manual. . Salary scales effective October 1, 2016  and can be found at http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/compensation/salary-scale-revisions.html

Childcare Reimbursement Program

Effective October 1, 2014 a GSR appointed at 25% time or more for an entire quarter shall receive up to $900 per quarter for childcare expenses incurred during the GSR’s appointment period. The child must be under the age of 12 (as of July 1), in the custody of the GSR and claimed as a dependent on the GSR’s tax return (see below for more details.) Childcare provided by the spouse, a child of the GSR under age 19, or someone else the GSR claims as a dependent for tax purposes, is not reimbursable and the childcare provider must have a valid tax ID or social security number. The maximum amount is not per child but is the maximum amount that can be received for all children.

 Reimbursement requests are submitted after the expenses are incurred. The GSR Childcare Reimbursement Form should be completed no later than the last day of the following term (e.g., reimbursement for Fall Quarter must be submitted no later than the end of Winter Quarter). If the reimbursement is for Spring Quarter, the request must be submitted before the end of the fiscal year (June 30). Receipts should be attached to the reimbursement form. The form is turned in to the department payroll personnel.

 Two employees may not each claim the credit for the same provider care for an eligible child unless the provider care exceeded the term dollar limit of $900 per quarter. The second employee may claim the additional expense reimbursement by submitting a separate claim.  If the GSR also has another appointment that reimburses for childcare, the cost of the program will be shared between the two appointments. The reimbursement will be paid through Payroll as taxable earnings to the GSR. The cost will be charged to the GSR’s hiring department.

Allowable Receipts: The childcare provider must have a valid tax ID or social security number. If the center cares for six or more dependents that are not residents, it must comply with all state and local licensing laws and applicable regulations. Expenses incurred before the beginning of or after the end of a GSR’s appointment are not eligible for reimbursement.

 University Dependent Care Program: For GSRs who sign up for the University Dependent Care Program, receipts for the same expense cannot be used for both the Childcare Reimbursement and Dependent Care Reimbursement Programs. The GSR will be required to certify on the reimbursement form that the expense is not being claimed under both programs.

 Reimbursement Process: Once the hiring department receives the form, verifies the employee has/had a qualified GSR appointment, and approves the documentation (receipts) it processes either a one-time payment using the online PPS Department Time Reporting screen ‘EDFT’ or the UPAY 564 Form (One-Time Payment Authorization Form). The DOS code ‘BXC’ is to be used for the reimbursement. The payment will be generated through PPS. Payment will normally be in the same form as the GSR normally receives pay -- i.e. check or electronic deposit. If a GSR is no longer actively employed at the time of the reimbursement, then a paper check will be issued. Appropriate charges to the hiring department will appear on the Distribution of Payroll Expense Report and in the General Ledger. The department should retain the forms and receipts in the employee’s file for five years.

Payments made using the “BXC” DOS code are subject to Federal, State and FICA withholding taxes, if applicable. The federal tax-withholding rate will be 25% (reference Federal Regulations 31.3403(g)-1) and the state tax-withholding rate will be 6%. The payments are not included in Covered Compensation for UC Retirement System (UCRS) purposes. 

Leave Policy

The full wording of this policy can be reviewed on the University of California Office of the President web site http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/acadpers/apm/welcome.html

Vacation Leave

APM 730 (vacation leave policy) was revised in May 1998 with regard to graduate students. The new language was intended to alleviate any ambiguities. The policy now reads "Academic personnel appointed on a fiscal-year basis for 6 months or more at 50 percent time or more accrue vacation leave. Student academic personnel appointed on a fiscal-year basis for 12 consecutive months or more at 50 percent time or more accrue vacation leave".

Family and Medical Leaves

A Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) may request leave as provided below. A leave request should be submitted as soon as the need for leave becomes known, whenever possible at least thirty (30) days in advance of the start date, but not less than one (1) working day in advance of the commencement of the leave unless the leave is for an unanticipated personal or family illness. All requests for leave shall be submitted to the GSRs home department's payroll administration for review and signature prior to being  submitted to the Academic Personnel Office. Upon request the GSR will be required to provide appropriate documentation to support the request, including certification from a medical provider.

For the purpose of this policy “family member” is defined as one’s mother, father, sister, brother, parent-in-law, spouse, domestic partner, parent of domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, child, step or foster child (including children of domestic partner).

No period of leave will extend beyond the GSR’s appointment period.

In the event the funding agency or fund source does not provide for leave, or provide sufficient funding for the period approved, it shall be the responsibility of the school or department the student’s appointment is under to provide the funding required. When a student is in a joint/split appointment, leave funding will be proportionate to the percentage of appointment or funding allocation.

Leave for Pregnancy Disability, Childbirth and Related Medical Conditions
GSRs may take up to six weeks of paid leave for pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions for the period prior to, during, and after childbirth.

Students shall continue to receive their current level of support during the six weeks of paid parental leave regardless of the fund source. In the event the fund source does not provide six full weeks of paid leave, it shall be the responsibility of the school(s) the student’s program is under to provide the additional funding required.

Medical/Family Leave
GSRs may take up to four weeks of other paid leave in relation to their own serious health condition, to care for a family member who has a serious health condition, or to care and bond with a newborn child or an adopted/foster child, provided that the leave is taken within twelve months of the birth or placement of the child with the GSR. Students receiving financial support from the University, regardless of the funding source, shall continue to receive their current level of support during this period.

Unpaid Leave
To augment either period of paid leave above, GSRs may take up to two additional weeks of unpaid leave upon approval provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of appointment.


Corrective Action and Dismissal

Graduate students who are appointed as a Graduate Student Researcher are non-Senate academic appointees and therefore are covered by the Academic Personnel Manual (APM) regardless of their funding source. The APM specifies the rights and responsibilities of these appointees and also establishes a procedure for instituting corrective action or dismissal from the appointment when employment-related performance is perceived to be unsatisfactory. APM 150 (specifically APM 150-32) describes this procedure. Graduate programs and major professors must adhere to APM-150 in order to protect the due process rights of graduate students holding non-represented non-Senate academic appointments. Furthermore the Graduate Division must be notified and kept apprised whenever a case moves beyond the Informal Resolution stage specified in APM 150-32. A corrective action or dismissal may reduce or eliminate any remaining financial obligation made to a student by the university. Questions about these policies and procedures should be directed to the Academic Affairs Section in the Graduate Division. The full wording of this policy can be reviewed on the University of California Office of the President web site http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/acadpers/apm/welcome.html.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Graduate Division
University Office Building

Tel: (951) 827-4302
Fax: (951) 827-2238
E-mail: graddiv@ucr.edu

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