Graduate Research Assistant Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | September 17, 2023
Graduate Research Assistant Job Description
Graduate research assistants prepare laboratory materials and conduct experiments.

This post provides detailed information on the graduate research assistant job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements you may be expected to fulfill to be hired for the graduate research assistant role by most recruiters/employers.

What Does a Graduate Research Assistant Do?

Graduate research assistants usually have some degree of responsibility for the conduct of particular research projects.

The graduate research assistant job description involves planning and carrying out a project, collecting data and performing statistical analysis, communicating research results to scientific meetings or to the press, and reporting on progress to investigators.

It also entails carrying out menial tasks like setting up equipment, cleaning up laboratory spaces, and obtaining materials; keeping track of inventory, preparing charts and graphs, and photocopying data and one’s own notes (which is particularly important).

They are also responsible for holding a master copy of experiments when in progress (e.g., fixing broken tubes or machines), maintaining the lab’s web site or other public record of their work.

Graduate research assistants generally do not serve as teaching assistants (TAs), but may be called upon to assist with some aspects of instruction within the laboratory, e.g. conducting experiments, serving as lab assistants, grading student exams, etc.

They are sometimes called upon to teach courses or act as adjunct faculty members in departments at some colleges and universities; these opportunities are usually unpaid.

Graduate research assistants make sure that all experiments are sterile and ensure that the lab space is clean by doing things like washing glassware and utensils, cleaning electron microscopes, autoclaves, etc.

Their duties also involve helping with the research by keeping computer records of experiments, data, and observations in a laboratory logbook.

Graduate research assistants are sometimes required to participate as informed volunteers in biomedical or behavioral studies.

They usually help with the instruction of undergraduate teaching assistants and volunteers.

The graduate research assistant work description also covers administrating laboratory financial accounts.

They maintain a current list of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the laboratory and also need to keep up with details of new projects and research development.

Graduate research assistants communicate regularly with the supervisor and should have good communications skills, as well as being able to write clearly and concisely.

They should also have good interpersonal skills and be able to work well independently, as well as with others.

Graduate research assistants are in charge of maintaining lab equipment, keeping records of experiments, etc. and ensuring that all laboratory procedures are carefully followed.

They are sometimes called upon to participate in teaching seminars or workshops at undergraduate colleges and universities or clinics that offer courses related to their major field of study.

They also may be required to serve as artisans in labs that specialize in a specific type of experimental technique.

Graduate research assistants are also required to present in conferences and seminars, both locally and internationally.

They may be called upon to do their own teaching at undergraduate level labs in their universities.

Graduate research assistants are also given the responsibility of training new graduate students and undergraduates who wish to learn more about their field of study.

Graduate Research Assistant Job Description Sample/Example/Template

The graduate research assistant job description consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Assist in research and clinical investigations
  • Produce finished manuscript
  • Conduct experiments
  • Support and guide mentors in the process of graduate school application
  • Work closely with faculty members to deliver high-quality papers or projects
  • Help develop plans for future graduate studies or research in the same field of study
  • Collect, organize, analyze and document all data that relates to research project to ensure reliability of data and details
  • Assist in carrying out literature searches using databases and computerized sources such as PubMed Central, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Google Scholar
  • Assist faculty member in grading written assignments and exams
  • Assist in the preparation of reports, articles and manuscripts
  • Provide guidance and help to students who are new to the laboratory
  • Organize, arrange and prepare laboratory materials, instruments, supplies and equipment
  • Attend relevant seminars or symposia as requested by the supervisor
  • Read abstracts or papers published in conferences, journals and newspaper to keep up with current developments in the field of study.

Graduate Research Assistants Job Description for Resume

If you have worked as a graduate research assistant before or are presently working in that role and are making a new resume or CV, then you can make a very compelling Professional Experience section for your resume by applying the sample graduate research assistant job description provided above.

You can express the duties and responsibilities that you have performed or are presently performing as a graduate research assistant in your resume’s Professional Experience by utilizing the ones in the above graduate research assistant job description example.

This will convince the recruiter/employer that you have been effective performing the graduate research assistant job, which can greatly enhance your chances of being hired, especially if the new position that you are applying for requires someone with some graduate research assistant work experience.

Graduate Research Assistant Requirements: Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge for Career Success

Here are important requirements you may be expected to meet to be hired for the graduate research assistant position:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related disciplines
  • Ambitious and self-motivated individual with strong work ethic
  • A cooperative, flexible and accommodating attitude to work with a team of different professionals in the laboratory
  • Ability to read and write in English of proficient level
  • Knowledge of computers is a plus (Microsoft Word or Excel)
  • Good communication skills to effectively interact with different people, both oral and written
  • Able to manage deadlines
  • Detail oriented and multi-tasking skills
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure as an individual or in a team
  • Ability to communicate effectively in English with a diverse population to ensure effective progress in the lab
  • Strong organizational skills and proactive personality
  • To have excellent interpersonal, listening, and verbal skills is a plus

Graduate Research Assistant Salary

According to Glassdoor, the national average compensation for a graduate research assistant in the United States is $29,911 per year.


This post is beneficial to individuals interested in the graduate research assistant career. They will be able to learn all they need to know about what graduate research assistants do, to be able to decide correctly if that’s the career to take.

It is also useful to recruiters/employers in making a detailed job description for the graduate research assistant position in their organizations.