Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate students prepared these questions and answers. If you have additional questions, send them to the director of the Developmental Area, Dr. Julia Graber at

Answers to the FAQs.

How do graduate students feel about the resources in the Department and at UF?
Overall the University is very well equipped. Our library system is comprehensive and provides extensive access to online research literature databases. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) is always offering workshops for graduate students on various topics. Many of them focus on developing teaching skills, or learning electronic thesis submission procedures. The Psychology department also offers courses in professional development and each research area holds colloquia every semester. The Psychology department, CLAS and the Graduate Student Council also offer a number of competitive travel grants each semester for students planning to attend research conferences.

What is the learning atmosphere at UF like? Is it intellectually stimulating?
Yes! We have a really great group of faculty that offer interesting courses. The Psychology Department, the Brain Institute, the Aging Training Program and many other campus units have a colloquium series that brings prominent researchers from many disciplines to campus. Students and faculty get exposed to all kinds of research and often have the opportunity to meet with the speakers.

How’s the social life? Is it friendly and supportive?
The developmental area students are very friendly and supportive. Students work together well, and often provide mentoring for each other. Despite busy schedules, we make time to get together outside of the lab for social activities. We have a good group of students who are a lot of fun to work around.

How’s the attrition rate of the program?
The developmental area has a very low attrition rate. Most students stay with the program and end up being competitive on the job market.

Do students get jobs when they finish?
The professors work with you to help you to meet important career objectives. If you are motivated and you work closely with your advisor, you will have sufficient publications and presentations to be competitive on the job market. Many graduate students go on to post docs and others take assistant professor positions at good universities or strong liberal arts colleges.

What is life like in Gainesville?
If you come from a big city, Gainesville may seem small at first as it is a ‘college town. That said, it has about 150, 000 people. Most students love this area. The cost of living is very reasonable. The University has lots to offer including a Natural History museum and an Art museum that are both free to students. There are plenty of interesting, independently-owned restaurants, bars, art galleries, theater venues. There are student rates for the local professional theater, the Hippodrome, and the Performing Arts Center, which brings in shows from all over the country. Other examples of activities are stargazing with the Astronomy group, free gyms for students, and incredible outdoor experiences. Gainesville has most regular shopping and an array of boutiques, health food stores and markets.

What impresses new students the most about living in Gainesville?
North Florida is beautiful. If you enjoy being outdoors, the weather from September through April is perfect. We have tons of bike and nature trails, and natural springs to swim, canoe or tube in. The beach, either the Gulf or the Atlantic, is only 90 minutes away. And we are only an hour and a half away from Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa, so if you want some big city action it’s right there. The heat and humidity in the summer time can be tough – a good time to stay indoors and get lots of work done! Most people adjust to it well. Here are some links to places noted above:

  • Ichetucknee Springs – beautiful, natural springs at a nearby state park. A very popular tubing site.
  • St. Augustine, Florida – oldest city in the US, wonderful shopping and antiques. Just 75 miles from Gainesville
  • Tampa, Florida – Home of Busch Garden’s theme park, big city shopping, Ybor City (terrific nightlife and restaurants), Clearwater Beach, etc.
  • Orlando, Florida – home of Disney World, Universal Studios, and much more

What about transportation? Is it hard to get around?
Transportation is great. In Gainesville, the University has a special arrangement with the city of Gainesville to reduce car traffic on campus and to provide safe transportation around the city and campus. With a student ID you can ride the bus on campus and in the city of Gainesville for free. That includes all routes and all times. Some of the bus routes run until 2am (along with a service called “Later Gator” that runs downtown to the bars and clubs to help prevent drinking and driving.) The bus schedule depends on where you live and what route you take. In terms of driving a car or scooter, the traffic level is very manageable as this is a small city.

Is the assistantship money sufficient to support me?
When you are accepted into the program you will receive some type of assistantship to help you pay your way through. This could be in the form of a teaching assistantship or a (competitive) Departmental Fellowship, of which there are several kinds. Some students also work as paid Graduate Research Assistants on funded grants. All grad students receive a full tuition waver that pays all of their tuition every semester. After your first year, it is also a great idea to work with your mentor on obtaining external funding for yourself and your research through a federal or foundation grant of fellowship. This provides you with a higher stipend as well as grant-writing experience! There are also chances to apply for travel funding and research funding every year and awards are also given annually for research productivity.

Of course, most grad students are still not millionaires, but there are several things that you can do to cut costs as a grad student at UF. Compared to friends in other states and programs in Indiana, New York, and Boston, we’ve found it takes a lot less to live here in Gainesville because the cost of living is a lot cheaper than in other places.