Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Funding

Funding

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.

Graduate 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.

Travel Funding

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences is committed to supporting your professional development. You may be invited to present a paper, or you are interested in a conference that would support your research. Every student is allotted funding for two trips/conferences each year, provided that you present at one of them.

Your first step is to complete the travel request form.

This action will generate an email to the graduate program assistant that will furnish the information needed for budget reporting purposes.

Graduate Research Awards

Communication Arts and Sciences graduate research awards provide seed money to graduate students for pilot research, applications for funding, archival work and travel, or other research-related costs. These awards do not cover equipment or substitute for resources normally available to students (such as software on computers in student labs). The money is intended to support work preliminary to a thesis or dissertation. Individual awards may vary, but are not likely to exceed $1500.

Applicants may request funding to support travel to archives or research sites, to purchase software or research materials that are not available to students, to pay participants, to pay undergraduate assistants, or to cover other expenses related to the proposed research project. Requests for funding to cover release time or provide compensation for the applicant are not appropriate and will not be approved.

Procedures for Applying

The application should include:

  1. A narrative not to exceed three single-spaced pages explaining the purposes, design, and expected contributions of the research
  2. A detailed timeline for the initiation and completion of the research
  3. A budget itemizing all anticipated expenses in conducting the research
  4. A current curriculum vitae
  5. A letter of support from the applicant’s adviser.

Applications may be submitted any time during the academic year. If you decide to apply, you should place the materials noted in the graduate staff assistant’s office in 234 Sparks Building, or submit to the graduate staff assistant by email. If everything is in order, the graduate staff assistant will submit the materials to the Director of Graduate Studies for review. The Director of Graduate Studies may consult with the Graduate Committee, and will submit a recommendation on the award to the department head. Decisions are usually made within two weeks.

NOTE: Whenever possible, the disbursement of this award will follow the procedures used for conference travel. If funds must be deposited directly into your student (bursar) account, it may impact your student loans or other financial aid. If you have an outstanding balance against Penn State, the funds will automatically go toward the satisfaction of that debt. These are things that we have no control over. So be advised of them and please behave proactively.

Specialized Training Awards

Graduate students in Communication Arts and Sciences have an opportunity to enrich their training in methods of scholarly inquiry with support provided by a Specialized Training Award for up to $2000. Eligibility is typically limited to one award in an academic year, but if funds are available the department may be able to support additional requests.

Procedures for Applying

  • Provide a one or two page description of the activity for which you are requesting funding–what exactly is offered by the activity and when, and how you expect it to contribute to your program of studies and your graduate research. Include web site addresses if applicable.
  • Provide a total itemized budget indicating the amount you are requesting from the department, the amount provided by other sources, and amount of personal funds.
  • Include a letter of support from your academic adviser (the adviser may send the letter separately to preserve confidentiality).

Examples of specialized training in Rhetoric potentially fundable through this award include instruction in a foreign  or programming language; taking part in symposia or institutes focusing on advanced research methods; visits to study informally with scholars at other institutions whose work offers significant models of theoretical or critical innovation; and visits to archives for training in archival methods.

Examples relating to Communication Science include instruction in the collection of bio-specimens; attendance at a methods training workshop; participation in a campus intensive training program in research methods; and visits to other institutions to meet with scholars whose work offers useful models of research methods.

Applications may be submitted any time during the academic year. If you decide to apply, you should place the materials noted in the graduate staff assistant’s office in 234 Sparks Building, or submit to the graduate staff assistant by email. If everything is in order, the graduate staff assistant will submit the materials to the Director of Graduate Studies for review. The Director of Graduate Studies may consult with the Graduate Committee, and will submit a recommendation on the award to the department head. Decisions are usually made within two weeks.

NOTE: Whenever possible, the disbursement of this award will follow the procedures used for conference travel. If funds must be deposited directly into your student (bursar) account, it may impact your student loans or other financial aid. If you have an outstanding balance against Penn State, the funds will automatically go toward the satisfaction of that debt. These are things that we have no control over. So be advised of them and please behave proactively.

Dissertation Awards

The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences provides internal grants to support dissertation research. You are eligible to receive up to $3000 if you have successfully completed your dissertation proposal meeting. The funds may be used for travel for dissertation research (but not for presentation of the project), for copying archival materials, for payment of research subjects (at University approved rates), for payment for statistical consulting (at approved vendors), or other dissertation-related research expenses.

Procedures for Applying

  1. Submit a brief description of the research project.
  2. Provide a total itemized budget indicating the amount you are requesting from the department, the amount provided by other sources, and amount of personal funds.
  3. The graduate staff assistant will verify that you have an approved dissertation proposal as documented by your committee.
  4. Include a letter of support from your academic adviser (the adviser may send the letter separately to preserve confidentiality).
  5. Provide documentation of how the funds were spent (include all receipts, such as airline receipts, payment receipts to subjects) along with a signed endorsement from your adviser.

Applications may be submitted any time during the academic year. If you decide to apply, you should place the materials noted in the graduate staff assistant’s office in 234 Sparks Building, or submit to the graduate staff assistant by email. If everything is in order, the graduate staff assistant will submit the materials to the Director of Graduate Studies for review. The Director of Graduate Studies may consult with the Graduate Committee, and will submit a recommendation on the award to the department head. Decisions are usually made within two weeks.

NOTE: Whenever possible, the disbursement of this award will follow the procedures used for conference travel. If funds must be deposited directly into your student (bursar) account, it may impact your student loans or other financial aid. If you have an outstanding balance against Penn State, the funds will automatically go toward the satisfaction of that debt. These are things that we have no control over. So be advised of them and please behave proactively.