Teaching and Research Assistantships

Doctoral students are eligible for support in the form of departmental Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs), contingent upon satisfactory progression through the program and the availability of funds. It is expected that the program will provide a TA to students in their first two years and that a student's advisor will obtain research funds for an RA for subsequent years. To avoid financial burden, TA support for eligible Ph.D. students will be guaranteed for 8 semesters, and provided on an as available basis in subsequent semesters.  See bottom of this page for further detailes on TA positions and duties. RA positions are dependent on indivudal major advisor funding. Students are encouraged to speak with the major advisor about these. See bottom of this page for further detailes on RA positions and duties. 

Every eligible student with an assistantship (TA or RA) also receives a tuition waiver and health insurance (GASP award). GASP awards are available for up to 10 semesters.

UNC CHarlotte Competitive Fellowships (NOMINATion required):

Several highly competitive awards are open to doctoral students at UNC Charlotte.  The following fellowships require a Graduate Program Director nomination in the NinerScholar’s Portal. Competitive applicants selected for nomination by our program will be contacted upon acceptance to the program. Once a student is admitted and provides an intent to enroll, the Graduate Programs Director will be able to submit nomination by March 16th to give students enough time to complete their application. Applications must be complete by March 23, 2020To nominate a student, please visit https://ninerscholars.uncc.edu/Nominate/The Nomination Portal contains a link to the User Instructions. These instructions include information on uploading recommendation letters.

Herschel and Cornelia Everett Foundation First-Year Graduate Fellowship

This Fellowship was established in 2001 by the Everett family trust to support their value on education and to foster the growth of UNC Charlotte. Through the continued support of their daughter, Ann E. Belk, the foundation works to help graduate students actualize their career goals. Doctoral student award provdies  $18,500 service-free stipend for first year; full tuition support and health insurance for up to 5 years.

  • Department must provide a qualifying graduate assistantship years 2-5
  • Minimum Undergraduate GPA of 3.2-4.0
  • U.S. Citizen or permanent resident; Preference given to North Carolina or South Carolina residents
  • Admitted for summer or fall 2020; Full-time enrollment

Wayland H. Cato Jr. First-Year Doctoral Fellowship

This Fellowship was established in 2004 by the Wayland H. Cato Jr. Foundation to recruit exceptionally talented newly admitted graduate students into doctoral programs at UNC Charlotte. Award provides $18,500 service-free stipend for first year, full tuition support and health insurance for up to 5 years.

  • Department must provide a qualifying graduate assistantship years 2-5
  • Preference will be given to domestic students who show evidence of the potential to make a significant contribution to society by completing their terminal degree their chosen discipline
  • Preference give to first generation graduate students
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0-4.0
  • Admitted for summer or fall 2020; Must enroll full-time (9 or more graduate credit hours) fall and spring semesters

William F. Kennedy Graduate Fellowship

This Scholarship was established by Dr. William F. Kennedy, a former professor in the College of Business, for UNC Charlotte students who have financial need and demonstrate academic promise. Award provides $18,500 service-free stipend for first year, full tuition support and health insurance.

  • Department must provide a qualifying graduate assistantship years 2-5
  • Preference will be given to domestic students who show evidence of the potential to make a significant contribution to society by completing their terminal degree their chosen discipline
  • Preference give to first generation graduate students
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0-4.0

Admitted for summer or fall 2020; Must enroll full-time (9 or more graduate credit hours) fall and spring semesters

UNC Charlotte Competitive Fellowships (matched by eligibility):

The following competitive fellowhips are open to new and continuing students. Students (new and continuing) will need to log in to the NinerScholars site at http://scholarships.uncc.edu/ and complete an applicant profile before they can be matched to any awards or see the awards they are eligible for. Newly admitted students may use their AdmissionPros ID number when applying if an 800/801 number has not yet been issued.​ All application materials will be submitted through the NinerScholars portal.  Students will automatically be matched to the following fellowships and scholarships based on their eligibility criteria. ​​ If the student meets the criteria, the application can be completed and submitted for the award competition. Please visit https://graduateschool.uncc.edu/funding/fellowships for more information.

Lucille P. and Edward C. Giles Dissertation-Year Graduate Fellowship

The Giles Dissertation-Year Fellowship is awarded to promising students in the final stages of their doctoral work who demonstrate strong potential to make a significant contribution to society by completing the terminal degree in their chosen discipline. The purpose of the fellowship is to allow students to focus full-time on the dissertation, thus improving quality and shortening the time required to complete the doctoral degree. Lucille Giles valued graduate education and established this fellowship in 1990 to support graduate students in the STEM programs. Mrs. Giles earned a master’s degree in chemistry and had a special interest in the sciences. Last deadline was May 1, 2019. Students create an application profile through the University Scholarship Office’s NinerScholars Portal at https://ninerscholars.uncc.edu/Students will be matched to the Giles Fellowship based on initial eligibility criteria. If the students feel that they meet the additional requirements for the Fellowship, they can then apply for the award.

 Award Amount: $20,000 fellowship plus $1,000 for travel. Includes health insurance, and full tuition, and fees (does not include tuition increments)


  • Continuing, full-time doctoral students with at least 42 hours of graduate coursework completed
  • Demonstrated academic excellence
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Evidence that funding is suficient for completing degree

Application Requirements:

            1.     Half-page autobiographical sketch
            2.     Two-page (maximum) dissertation synopsis written for a “lay audience;” synopsis must address significance of the student’s research to a field of study listed in Appendix
                    of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Fields of Study 
            3.    Academic timeline with projected date of completion
            4.     Letter of support from student’s advisor addressing how student meets program objectives and eligibility requirements (three-page limit)
            5.     Letter of endorsement from Graduate Program Director

Dr. Craig R. Brown Graduate Fellowship 

$2,000 grant plus NC resident tuition for a first-year US resident master’s or doctoral student conducting research to address societal issues.

Zonta Club Scholarship 

$1,000 grant for a first year US resident master’s or doctoral students to recognize, encourage, and support students pursuing study and professional careers.

Joanna R. Baker Memorial Graduate Fellowship 

A $3,000 grant for master’s or doctoral mathematical, computer science or information technology research, plus $750 travel allowance.

DRReaM Graduate Fellowship.   

$1,000 needs-based award for a master’s or doctoral student in a health-related program.

Faye Jacques Memorial Graduate Fellowship.  

$1,000 needs-based grant to a master’s or doctoral student.

Claudia M. Reynolds Graduate Fellowship

$1,000 award for non-traditional master's or doctoral students.

Thomas L. Reynolds Graduate Student Research Award

Up to $1,500 for doctoral or master’s students to assist with costs often overlooked in other funding sources.

The Graduate School Summer Fellowship Program (GSSF): 2020

Purpose: To provide students with financial support during a time when they may be most productive yet have the fewest funding options: the summer. Students will utilize the three summer months to dedicate significant effort to their research project, thereby making timely progress to the degree. The GSSF is designed to replace a TA or other summer job that takes the student away from their research. The award will provide $6,000 ($2,000 per month) paid at the end of May, provided eligibility has been met. Fill out the online application form by 11:59 pm on March 1st, 2020.  Upload your Project Proposal and other application components with the form.


  • Doctoral student
  • Enrolled full-time in the 2019-2020 academic year with GASP support
  • Pass qualifying exam and proposal defense by May 15th, 2020
  • Hold an eligible graduate assistantship in the 2020 fall semester
  • GPA 3.0 or greater
  • Will not hold a summer job or assistantship
  • You are eligible to apply for the GSSF even if you have had it before.

Application Components and Procedure

  • Project Proposal: Prepare a proposal for your summer project – written for someone in your field. Limit your proposal to 800 words, not including references or figure legends.

    It must include:

  1. ·         An introduction to the current state of the field,
  2. ·         The significance and novelty of the project,
  3. ·         Gaps in knowledge and questions/hypotheses to be addressed,
  4. ·         Tools used to address them,
  5. ·         Potential significance of the outcome to your field of study.   
  • Timeline: Submit a timeline illustrating your plans for completing the project.  The timeline may include dates beyond the summer, leading to your graduation.
  • Time to Degree: Indicate your year and semester of anticipated graduation.
  • Letter of Support: Ask your PhD advisor to send an email in support of your application, and confirming his/her availability to provide support (direction, advising, supervision, mentoring) over the summer.

A committee will review applications and provide decisions no later than April 15th, 2020.

Criteria for Awarding the GSSF.

  • Quality of proposal:

a.    Explanation of novelty and significance of the proposal:  Introduction to the field, why it is important; Gap in knowledge identified

b.    Hypotheses or questions the project aims to answer:  How will the above be tested/answered? Novel approaches or techniques identified

c.     Overall significance of the project articulated (not judging the significance, but the student’s ability to articulate a significance)

  •  Letter of support

a.    Advisor’s level of commitment to the student’s summer research

b.    Advisor’s ability to mentor/guide/work with the student

  • Progress since last year’s GSSF, if student participated in 2018 and/or 2019



Summer 2020. The $5,000 summer fellowship is designed for doctoral students who have completed their qualifying/comprehensive exam but need summer support to help develop and/or complete their dissertation proposals. The purpose of the fellowship is to allow students to work on their dissertation project proposals, and any necessary research, in order to successfully defend their project proposals in upcoming semesters. This is a very competitive fellowship; many more students are eligible than we can fund. Fill out the application form by April 1st, 2020, 11:59 pm (https://forms.gle/Uq1vmkwe2Fw7ijmRA)

Doctoral (PhD) students who meet the following criteria are invited to apply:

  • Are in good standing with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above
  • Enrolled full-time in Spring 2020 and plan to be enrolled full-time in Fall 2020
  • Have or will successfully complete their comprehensive exam by May 15th, 2020
  • Have not completed their project proposal defense
  • Have completed the proposal defense course(s) for their programs, if required
  • Must agree to not hold a TA during the summer.  An RA is allowable, only with the student’s dissertation advisor.

Benefits of Participation:

  • Students receive a fellowship award of $5,000, divided equally in the first half term and second half term of the summer semester, in addition to any assistantship stipend they may receive from their academic unit (RA with dissertation advisor only).
  • Students will prepare a draft of their dissertation proposal, and upload it into the application form by July 17th, 11:59pm, 2020. The second payment of the fellowship requires this draft upload that meets the minimum requirements. Dissertation proposal drafts must be a minimum length of 7 pages, including citations (bibliography), and may be prose or a detailed outline.
  • The student will be required to attend a session at the Center for Graduate Life, or the Writing Resources Center, for professional feedback and editing help to develop a second draft of the proposal. We will communicate the details to awardees.

Application components

  • C. V.
  • Letter of support from dissertation advisor, explaining:
    • Specific steps for the student to complete the proposal
    • Evaluation of the student’s timeline – is it appropriate?
    • Planned supervision of the student over the summer
  1. Letter of interest, including:
    1. Introduction to their field of study and its importance
    2. Known gaps to be addressed by the student
    3. A timeline to proposal defense including any progress made to date
    4. Proposal course required for the degree program, if any, and when it was completed
    5. Challenges to completing the proposal and possible solutions to address them
    6. No more than 500 words 

What are the selection criteria?

  • Is the student making good progress toward their degree?
  • Does the student have support for the summer from their dissertation advisor?
  • Is the student’s letter of interest of high quality, having addressed all the components and staying within the word limit?

Teaching Assistantships:

The PhD Program has Teaching Assistantships (TAs) available for full-standing students for $22,000/academic year. The student must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. A TA in the Department of Biological Sciences is a competitive award. Renewal of a TA position is contingent upon satisfactory evaluations of teaching performance and satisfactory progression through the program. 

Several Teaching Assistantships are available for summer sessions (summer TAs), and students may apply for these by contacting the Graduate Program Director. Salary for summer TAs is awarded in addition to the amount awarded for the fall and spring semesters. Summer TAs do not require that the student be enrolled in summer courses.

Workload and duties of a TA:  A regular TA contract is for 20 hours/week for the semester.  The standard workload includes teach two lab sections/week (6 in-class hrs), attend weekly prep sessions (1-2 hrs/week), plus time spent on lecture prep, lab report and quiz grading, and office hours.  To meet the 20 hrs/week designated in the contracts, it is expected that TAs also assist the faculty supervisor with proctoring and/or grading lecture exams, when requested.  If teh faculty supervisor requests assistance, the TA must provide it unless there are time conflicts with the student's own course schedules or the 20hrs/week has been meet.  TAs are required to respond to all faculty supervisor emails. TA evaluations are performed at the end of each semester. Outstanding TAs are recognized each year at the annual Biologicla Sciences symposium.


  1. A faculty major advisor should have no more than 2 PhD students holding a TA position.
  2. Students who have a TA position in association with a GASP award (Graduate Assistant Support Package) must enroll for 9 credit hours per semester. After obtaining 72 hrs and Advancement to Candidacy the student may enroll in GRAD9800 for 3 credit hours per semester.
  3. New applicants: to receive full consideration for financial support for the fall semester, all application materials should be received by the Graduate School by no later than January 15  for the Fall seemster of entry or July 1 for spring semester of entry. Applications received after the deadline will be considered for financial aid only if funds are available. 


Research Assistantships:

Research Assistantships (RAs) are highly competitive and will afford the student to dedicate full time effort (maximum allowed 20 hrs per week) to dissertation research. RA awards be available to Ph.D. students at the discretion of the major advisor and depending on the funding of research grants by the Doctoral Faculty. Applications for RAs are filed with faculty members holding the grants.