General Information

Students must be admitted formally to a graduate degree program to be eligible for graduate funding. Most first-year students are offered funding and funding is available through 5 years for all students making good progress in the program. Funding may be provided through an assistantship or a fellowship. Fellowships usually are specialized awards offered by the university or through specific funding programs or grants. After the first year, most fellowships are awarded only when students or their mentors specifically apply for a fellowship.

Assistantships are awarded based on actual or potential teaching ability, research and technology skills, or other special expertise. The typical types of assistantships are described below. Fellows and graduate teaching and research assistants typically have their in-state and out-of-state tuition costs waived, but usually still pay for fees. To retain an assistantship, graduate assistants must be in good standing in the program, maintain a 3.0 grade point average, and enroll in 9 credits during the fall and spring terms, and 6 credits in the summer. In addition, to maintain some Fellowships, students are required to take a higher course load or to maintain a higher GPA. If you are awarded a Fellowship, it is your responsibility to find out about any special requirements.

Teaching assistantships (55-75 TAs in the department each term): Teaching assistants (TAs) assist faculty instructors with teaching, grading, and developing course materials. TAs attend lectures, hold office hours, assist students with papers and exams, and give guest lectures. A teaching assistantship is the typical assignment for an incoming first-year student. Rates and conditions of stipends are determined by the department.

Graduate Instructors (10-20 in the department each year): The department requires every student to teach at least one class on their own, under faculty supervision, before finishing their graduate program. Students are not assigned as instructors until they have completed their Masters degree or Masters research equivalency. Graduate instructors develop course materials, prepare and deliver lectures and demonstrations appropriate to the audience and the course description, develop and evaluate exams and other assignments, and maintain office hours for at least two hours per week. Rates and conditions of stipends are determined by the department.

Research Assistantships (30-45 in the department each year): Research assistants (RAs) work closely with faculty on their research programs. Depending on the nature of the research, RAs may prepare for and administer experiments; recruit participants; learn laboratory skills; care for animals; organize, code and analyze data; and lead or participate in meetings of the laboratory staff.

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