Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships

As a graduate student, you'll have opportunities to apply for financial assistance through graduate assistantships and fellowships offered within the CMU Department of Geography as well as the College of Graduate Studies.

In addition to providing financial assistance to help you complete your degree, graduate assistantships and fellowships offer opportunities to develop and enhance your career-related skills.

Graduate Assistantships

Interested students should request application forms and information directly from the CMU Department of Geography and NOT the College of Graduate Studies.

The department manages all aspects of assistantships, including receiving and screening applications and making award decisions. Types of assistantships may involve teaching, research, or administrative duties. They may be full- or part-time and/or may be awarded for a semester only or for the academic year. Some departments require submission of GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or other specialized test scores.

A full-time graduate teaching assistant is assigned a teaching load of six semester hours of courses, an equated number of contact hours of laboratory course work, or an equivalent load of assigned responsibilities each semester. Six to ten hours of course work per semester is the suggested academic course load for which a graduate assistant should enroll. International students are required by the USCIS to register for a minimum of nine credits per semester; for graduate assistants, that number is reduced to six.

The timing of decisions regarding graduate assistantship awards varies by department. Many decisions are made by March of each year for assignments beginning the following fall semester. After March, students should check with their departments to see if openings are still available. For the 2009-2010 academic year, a full-time graduate assistant pursuing a master's degree received an average academic year stipend of $10,300 and a tuition scholarship of 20 credits per year (valued at $8,680). An assistant pursuing a doctoral degree received an average stipend of $12,600 and a tuition scholarship of 20 credit hours (worth $10,160).

Please note: Assistantships do not always provide the full amount of financial support required for international students to receive an I-20. Additionally, assistantships are awarded on the basis of need and merit. It is very IMPORTANT to be aware that students not chosen to receive assistantships before arriving on campus are unlikely to receive them after reaching CMU.


Graduate Fellowships

Graduate fellowships are offered by the College of Graduate Studies with the goal of promoting the support of diversity in higher education.

Packets are available early in the fall of each year. The deadline for submission of all materials is February 6.Applications that are received after the deadline, or that are incomplete as of the deadline, will not be considered.

The fellowship is valid for one academic year, grants in-state tuition, and provides a tuition scholarship of 24 credit hours. Master's- and Specialist's-level fellowships provided an annual stipend of $10,300 in 2009-2010; the stipend for doctoral fellowships was $12,600.

Fellowship applicants must submit an official copy of a current GRE or GMAT score. In order to be certain the score reaches the College of Graduate Studies by the February 6 deadline, the GRE or GMAT must be taken no later than early December. The test scores are a critical part of the fellowship application, and applications without GRE or GMAT scores will not be considered.

Fellowships provide the full amount of financial support required for international students to receive an I-20. No additional proof of funding was required of international students with fellowships in 2008-2009.