Teaching and Research Assistantships

Admission into the Ph.D. in Biology program carries no guarantee of financial support. Doctoral students are eligible to compete for support in the form of 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 unessecary financial burden, TA support for eligible Ph.D. students will be guaranteed for 8 semesters. TA support will not exceed 4 years (8 semesters) and total support (TA and RA combined) will normally not exceed 6 years (12 semesters). Every eligible student also receives a tuition waiver and health insurance (GASP award). GASP awards are available for up to 10 semesters.

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 (40 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.