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 may provide 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.

To be considered for a CMU-funded RA, all university and program required application materials need to be submitted and available to the review committee by February 1st.

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. To be considered for a CMU-funded TA, all university and program required application materials need to be submitted and available to the review committee by February 1st.

TA Appointment

New graduate students must complete a Department of Biology Teaching Assistant Application. The application and admission documents must be received by 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.