Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships

Graduate Assistantships

Both research and teaching assistantships are available through the Biology Department each academic year. Tuition for up to 20 credits per year is waived for full-time graduate assistants.

Research Assistantships (RA)

Individual faculty members offer students summer and academic year RA’s funded through grants and contracts. The department provides additional summer RA's through a competition announced in February.

This assistantship provides funding for laboratory work, field work, or thesis writing. These assistantships can be awarded for 6 weeks or 12 weeks. Eligible applicants are Plan A graduate students who have received no more than 5 semesters of TA support during the academic year and who have a prospectus on file in the departmental office. Application requirements include a 2-page proposal, a timeline of tasks to be accomplished, a completed recommendation form, and unofficial graduate transcripts. A final report will be required.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

New and returning graduate students must apply for teaching assistantships. The application deadline for teaching assistantships is February 1 for the following academic year. Applications can, however, be placed on file at any time but priority is given to applications received before the deadline. Generally, students may be awarded graduate teaching assistantships for a maximum of four semesters, excluding summers. However, based on departmental needs, a fifth semester teaching assistantship may be awarded to students making adequate progress.

TA Appointment

New graduate students must complete a Department of Biology Teaching Assistan​t Application. The application and associated recommendation letters must be delivered to the biology department office no later than February 1.

TA Reappointment

Graduate students who wish to be reappointed as a teaching assistant must compose a brief letter to the biology department chairperson requesting support for one or both semesters during the following academic year. In the letter, the graduate student must note the number of semesters that he/she has been enrolled in the Biology M.S. program (include the current semester) and whether he/she is Plan A or Plan B. The letter must be delivered to the biology department office by February 1, along with the following items:

Please note:

  • If you are Plan B, you do not need to submit a prospectus.
  • If you have been supported by a Research Assistantship for the past 2 (or more) semesters, submit the first 4 items above and in your letter make it clear that you are requesting your initial appointment as a Teaching Assistant.
  • If you are enrolling for a fifth semester during the next academic year, you must also submit a letter from your major advisor indicating your progress toward a degree.

TA Selection

The Graduate Committee and Introductory Biology Laboratory Manager select teaching assistants for the upcoming academic year. Committee members consider applications in the following order:

  • Returning TA's who have had fewer than 4 semesters of TA support
  • New applications
  • 5th semester TA applications
  • 6th semester TA applications and applications submitted after the February 15 deadline

Committee members evaluate new applications based on the quality of application materials. Reappointment applications are judged worthy if the applicant has an acceptable GPA (> 3.0) and has made adequate progress toward his/her degree.

Graduate Fellowships

Graduate Fellowships include a monetary award plus a tuition scholarship for 30 credits. Fellowships are awarded university-wide on a competitive basis. Application materials are available from the College of Graduate Studies. The deadline is the first week in February. Applicants are asked to submit their Graduate Record Examination scores, including the advanced test in biology, and three letters of recommendation. ​​

Graduate Fellowships are awarded by the College of Graduate Studies on a competitive basis to first or second semester students with outstanding academic records who are interested in completing these or other major works of scholarship.

Click HERE for the College of Graduate Studies Fellowship Application

Click HERE for the Biology Graduate Program​