Assistantships are available from a variety of sources each year on a very competitive basis for outstanding graduate students. The level of support varies with the source of funds. Also, assistantships are awarded on the basis of academic record and competencies of the student in relationship to the needs of the specific appointment. Teaching assistantships are funded from scholarly projects allocated to individual professors or from other sources outside the university. Some of these assistantships may require specific experience and/or academic preparation and thus be available only to students with these qualifications. Students admitted to the program are automatically considered for financial support administered through the program.
Length of the Appointments and Criteria to for keeping Assistantships
In general, appointments are made for two (2) semesters, Fall and Spring, on an annual basis. To retain an assistantship, graduate students must maintain a grade point average equivalent to a B (3.0) level in courses numbered 400 and above and be registered (not audit) for 9 to 12 credits for a half-time assistantship, and 9 to 14 credits for a quarter-time assistantship, during the Fall and Spring semesters.
Summer funding is determined on a case-by-case basis by each advisor/research mentor. Summer funding is not guaranteed and should be discussed individually with the student’s advisor/research mentor. During the Summer sessions, students receiving one-half and one-quarter assistantships will register for 4 to 6 or 5 to 7 credits, respectively. If courses are dropped and total credits fall below the minimum, assistantship stipends will be forfeited for the remainder of the semester. Only under extenuating circumstances may the maximum number of credits be exceeded, and in any case, the average per semester should be within limits over the year.
A standard stipend, set by the university each year, is paid per semester (Fall and Spring) for a Grade 12, half-time assistantship which carries a remission of tuition and fees. A portion of some, but not all, stipends may be tax-exempt. At the time a student is offered financial support, there should be a notification letter that the assignment is considered a commitment for at least one (1) year; it is assumed that research assistantships would involve commitment to complete research with the professor making the offer. A student is expected to devote 20 hours per week beyond personal thesis research and required coursework to either the teaching or research assignment for 18 weeks each semester. This work usually extends from the first day of registration until the date of graduation. The details of each assignment are determined by the supervisor, advisor or research mentor. However, at a minimum, students are expected to be available throughout the 18 weeks of each semester. Failure to do so may result in termination of the appointment.
Graduate assistants paid for two (2) semesters on general funds (i.e., supported by a Department or College assistantship) or University research grants are eligible for tuition assistance for up to nine (9) graduate credits for Summer session. The Summer Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) does not apply to undergraduate courses, such as courses supporting completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. Students supported on outside or external research funds are not eligible for university tuition support in the Summer session. Announcements about the STAP are distributed in the Spring semester. Students should apply as soon as possible for STAP funds.
Graduate fellowships are limited in number and are very competitive. Students with GRE scores above the 75th percentile and grade point averages above 3.8 are generally competitive for graduate fellowships. Nominations are generally made by the faculty of the graduate program in nutritional sciences and the professor-in-charge of the graduate program. Other fellowships are awarded by professional societies and other external agencies. Students can find information on these Programs from society websites, funding agencies and/or from their advisors/research mentors.