Guidelines for PhD Students wanting to hire research assistants/student employees

Contact: Associate Dean for Student Advancement and Diversity Chaevia Clendinen at

All PhD students wishing to employ another graduate student or an undergraduate student as a research assistant (RA) should contact the Dean of Student Office (DOS). Students are NOT permitted to hire another student on their own and all student employment must go through the Dean of Students Office. In addition:

  • A student is not permitted to use their stipend or funds intended for that purpose to pay another student.
  • A student is not permitted to use their personal funds to employ and/or pay another student for work.
  • A student is not permitted to assign or request work of another student with the promise of payment or any form of compensation without the student being officially hired by the university.

PhD students seeking to hire graduate or undergraduate students should ensure their grant funds can be used to hire research assistants by contacting the grant administrator (copying the Dean of Students Office). Once a student has confirmation that their grant funds can be used to hire a student employee, the student must submit a request to hire a research assistant. The student must review the policies on hiring students at If the student does not have a student in mind to hire, they can also use the site to advertise the position. The DOS is available to offer advice on best ways to post the position but DOS will not post the position for the student nor will DOS advertise the position through its communication channels.

*The DOS will contact the local business manager (LBC) for the account information as well as approval for the expenditure. Students should not be asked by the LBC nor HR to submit any forms. All hiring must be done through the DOS. If you are asked, for any reason, to submit forms for student employment, contact the DOS immediately. 

Once a student finds who they wish to hire, they will need to provide the following information:

  1. Student Legal Name, UChicago email address, physical location/address, ID number, and registration status (undergraduate or graduate student)
  2. Requested Start and End Dates (3-month maximum)
  3. Hourly Wage
  4. Hours per week

Additional information may be requested. Employment can take between 2-3 weeks to go into effect so it is in the best interest of the student to provide all the information as soon as possible and at least 2 weeks before the requested start date. Once an RA is hired, they are required to clock in and out daily. If an RA is unable clock their hours for any reason, the student should contact the DOS immediately. Repeatedly neglecting to log hours may result in termination.

*RAs are NOT permitted to begin employment until they are onboarded regardless of the start date. The day the student is onboarded is considered the “official” start date if the date of onboarding is after the requested start date. Having a later start date due to lags in onboarding does not extend the end date. Beginning employment prior to onboarding is against university policy and the student may be prevented from hiring RAs in the future.

RAs cannot exceed 3 months employment. A student must request an extension through DOS if they wish to extend the position. These requests should be made at least 2 weeks before the RA’s end date.

If a student wishes to hire an alum or someone outside the university, the student must request a temporary hire. If an RA graduates before completing employment or graduates before an extension is granted, then the student must request a temporary hire. This option, though available, is not recommended for students who wish to onboard an RA quickly. DOS will request additional information and submit a Temporary Employment Request Form to the Posting Position Process Committee for approval. Approval is not guaranteed and can take between 2-4 weeks to complete. In addition, background checks can take an additional 1-2 weeks. Students wishing to do a temporary hire should plan for 6-8 weeks before the temp RA can begin employment.


Students are responsible for keeping track of their RA work hours and their budget. Budgets may be requested from DOS; however, budgets may not have the most up-to-date information and can be up to 4 weeks behind. Therefore, it is imperative that a student maintains a detailed record of their RA’s work hours and associated cost.

Students that exceed their limit will be asked to reimburse the university. Unpaid reimbursements to the university will carry the same consequences as unpaid tuition or fees. If an RA accidently clocks more hours than they worked, DOS should be contacted immediately to correct. If the payment is issued before a correction can be done, the RA will be asked to return the funds to the university.

For questions, please contact Assistant Dean Chaevia Clendinen at