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What funding is available to support graduate students?

The Department offers funding to every graduate student that we admit to the program, and have deliberately chosen as a department not to admit students whom we cannot fully fund.  In addition to a tuition waiver and health care benefits, our department provides a stipend of $21,555 for a half-time, 9 month appointment. Summer funding and academic year awards are also available, which can add substantially to the amount that students receive each year. In return for this funding support students either teach in the department as TAs (3 courses over the 9 month academic term – a 1/2 or 2/1 load) or they act as research assistants on funded projects.

What funding opportunities are available?

How are assistantships and other funding opportunities awarded, and what are the qualifications needed to receive such funding?

The Graduate Committee will review your application and decide whether or not you have appropriate qualifications. If the Committee determines that you do, the members will then consider you for an assistantship and, if appropriate, may nominate you for other funding opportunities.  Although preliminary admission decisions are made separate from funding decisions, final admission for full-time status requires that the applicant also be accepted for funding.


What type of assistantship is the most common? Are there research assistantships?

The most common type of funding is a half-time teaching assistantship.  A half-time teaching assistant is responsible for 3 sections of courses over two semesters (rather than the typical 4 course teaching load at other communication programs). Students typically start teaching our public speaking course.

We also have a small number of research assistantships supported by external grants; the specific number of these assistantships varies according to the status of faculty projects. Students funded as research assistants either receive a reduction in teaching or are released from all teaching responsibilities during the time of their funding as a research assistant. Of course, many students work informally with faculty, either as part of research teams or independently. We have a strong culture of collaboration, both among our graduate students and between our students and faculty.


Does the Department provide support for student research?

We realize that the continued strength of our Department is tied, in part, to the ability of our students to excel as scholars. Consequently, we offer a variety of research support, including funding awards for specific projects, dissertation-related releases from teaching, travel grants, generous access to office supplies and photocopiers, and access to computer and research equipment. Graduate research awards of up to $1500 and dissertation research awards of up to $3500 are two of the specific awards we make to support student research. The Department also has a Communication Research Laboratory available for use by both faculty and graduate students.


Does the Department provide support for students traveling to professional meetings?

We provide our students with full travel funding for attending two international, national, and regional conferences each year. Our expectation is that students will present their research at one of these conferences (though exceptions will be made for students new to the program). In addition, the College of the Liberal Arts makes travel awards available on a competitive basis.