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Funding Your Degree

There are a couple ways for you to fund your degree.

  • We offer a limited number of competitive teaching assistantships through the program.
  • Students can be funded through research assistantships under their faculty adviser—about 90 percent of our students are funded this way.
  • You can be self-funded, which often works for our students who are working full-time while completing their graduate degree.

For students funded through assistantships, the support generally lasts throughout the duration of their degree.

What Percentage of Our Students are Funded?

Approximately 90 percent of our students are funded, and we have about 40-45 students total. This year we accepted about 15 new students. Generally, all of our new students have funding support through their faculty mentors, other than non-traditional students who are not under an assistantship.

What is an Assistantship?

An assistantship is a part-time job working for your department or adviser. These positions have great benefits, including:

  • A monthly stipend for your living and personal expenses
  • Tuition waiver (based on your assistantship level)
  • Out-of-state and international student registration fee waiver
  • Health insurance coverage

Students funded through assistantships can expect to be supported throughout their entire degree program, assuming that they are on-track and performing to their mentor’s expectations. Our assistantships range from 10 to 20 hours per week (with increased benefits for the 20 hour assistantship).

You can view the cost benefits of an assistantship through the Graduate School.

Teaching Assistantship Overview

Teaching assistants (TAs), are assigned to a course and the duties are determined by the course instructor. The objective of a teaching assistantship is to expose students to teaching and education. Many graduates will go on to academic careers, but the experience is also very relevant preparation for regulatory and other career paths. We also feel that our students gain a much better understanding of subject matter when they participate in teaching it.

Although tasks will differ depending on the course and the instructor, students may be assigned to:

  • teach laboratory sessions,
  • do several lectures for a course,
  • perform grading of course assignments,
  • hold office hours for undergraduate support, and
  • proctor exams.

For those teaching assistants assigned to specific sessions of a course, some will help in the development of the lecture material, and others will give a pre-defined lecture. A teaching assistant will usually help develop a session or section of a course if they have a certain expertise in the curriculum—the level of involvement and responsibility will be up to the instructor and student to decide.

Research Assistantship Overview

Research assistants (RAs) are usually funded through their faculty adviser’s grants. They work in their mentor’s lab and will ideally apply the work to their thesis or dissertation. Research assistants will be responsible for projects that are developed with their mentor, with varying degrees of autonomy based on the level of degree being pursued and the experience level of the student.

Early in the degree path, a student will be exposed to doing research and learning the techniques that are common to their laboratory or research group. For example, a student may learn to run an analyzer on samples for other researchers to gain the experience to then run their own samples later.

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