School of Public Health

Find an RA Position

Research assistantships (RAs) are appointed by individual faculty members with available funding and paid directly through the UW. Although many positions are matched to second year masters and doctoral students, all interested students are welcome to apply. You must be a full-time student to be eligible.

Locate Epidemiology faculty with research interests similar to your own. In addition to core faculty, some students have found RA positions with adjunct and affiliate faculty. You may consider reviewing the bio information and abstracts of articles on PubMed written by faculty members who interest you. The NIH Reporter tool can also be a helpful resource for identifying current research being done by faculty. 

Current RA Openings:

Research Assistant: 50% FTE, 20 hours per week
The University of Washington Department of Epidemiology and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences is recruiting a Research Assistant for the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study (GEMS) air pollution. GEMS is a longitudinal cohort study of older individuals (75 and older) designed to investigate dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The objectives of the study are to investigate the impact of long-term air pollution exposures and the neighborhood social environment, separately and synergistically, on incident AD and mild cognitive impairment as well as on progression of cognitive decline. In addition, we will examine pathways by which air pollution and the neighborhood social environment exposure affect AD. 

The RA will work closely with UW SPH study investigators (Drs. Anjum Hajat, Annette Fitzpatrick and Joel Kaufman) and Dr. Erin Semmens at the University of Montana to construct residential histories for GEMS participants using both data collected from the GEMS study as well as the LexisNexis database. In addition, the RA will assist with obtaining data on the neighborhood social environment, including Census data, tax assessor data from local government sources and voter participation data from existing data archives. Excellent data management and geocoding skills are required. In future years of the study, there will be ample opportunity for the RA to conduct data analysis and publish manuscripts. 

Doctoral student (preferred) or a Master’s student who intends to transition to the PhD program and who has the required skills. The position is for this academic year (2017 – 18) with the possibility of renewal for the next 3 years. This study offers the opportunity to conduct dissertation research using the GEMS data; therefore, a continued commitment of 3 years is preferred. Applicants with an interest in aging, air pollution and/or social epidemiology are highly encouraged to apply. The RA will report to Anjum Hajat and will work closely with study collaborators at University of Montana (Erin Semmens) as well as Principal Investigators (Annette Fitzpatrick and Joel Kaufman).

Provide a cover letter and CV to Anjum Hajat ( with a copy to Annette Fitzpatrick ( and Elizabeth Spalt ( more info, send an email to Anjum Hajat.

Epidemiology faculty with appointments at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) are also able to hire RAs through the UW system, so you receive the same benefits as UW RAs. At the FHCRC site, you can enter your research area and contact investigators and lab directors with similar interests. 

Some students have success finding RA positions in other UW Labs and Research Centers.


Pay rates for RAs are determined by the Graduate School. 

RA positions that total 20 hours a week for a quarter (or two 10 hour a week positions combined) cover tuition at the Washington state resident level (excluding fees). Out of state tuition can be waived if necessary. 

Eligible RAs and TAs receive excellent health coverage – medical, dental, and vision care – through the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP). Contact the program for questions about eligibility and enrollment.

If appointed, you are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Code and maintain good academic standing.


  1. Remain open-minded. All research is relevant, especially in your first year. You may change positions during your second year when you select a thesis or dissertation topic.
  2. Think of these contacts primarily as professional networking and developing working relationships rather than simply as a job search. Even if you don’t initially find an opportunity with a particular faculty member, creating and continuing a connection with that person can lead to future opportunities. 
  3. Customize your emails for each individual faculty member rather than mass emailing faculty members. Personalized emails convey your reasons for pursuing an opportunity with that particular person and articulates how they might help you achieve your goals.
  4. Attach your resume or CV and include a description of your research interests, experience, and skills.
  5. If a faculty member that you contact has no available funding, ask him/her to recommend other investigators.