There are three main types of financial aid for graduate students: major university funding, minor university funding, typically earmarked for specific purposes, and competitive external funding.  Each of these is described here.

 A. Major University Funding

Three major kinds of financial support are awarded by the department to graduate students: Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships (TAs), and Graduate Assistantships (GAs).  All of these provide full tuition remission, a stipend, and some fringe benefits, including health insurance (benefits vary by award type).

Students admitted to the program with major financial aid typically receive a multi-year package of support. This package most commonly consists of two years of Fellowship followed by three years of TA support.  Fellows and TAs both receive tuition remission.  They also both receive health coverage.  Fellows receive major medical coverage through the School of Graduate Studies, while TAs receive more comprehensive coverage funded in part through payroll deductions.  Students transitioning from one status to another, especially if partway through an academic year, should consult with the Graduate Program Administrator and the Graduate Program Coordinator to ensure that their coverage is continuous.  Please note that annual renewal for each year of funding offers made at admission is dependent upon satisfactory progress toward the degrees.

a. University Fellowships are awarded at the time of admission. For as long as we can recall, fellowships have had no work obligation attached to them and they allow students to devote full time to their studies. Fellows are expected not to hold remunerative jobs inside or outside the University during that academic year.  However, the possibility may exist for a student on fellowship to work a small number of hours per week as an unpaid research aide for a faculty member, perhaps in exchange for co-authorship on a faculty-directed project or some other recognition.

b. Teaching Assistantships (TAs) provide support for two semesters of the academic year. Teaching Assistants attend course lectures, lead discussion sections for lecture courses, assist with writing and grading examinations, hold office hours, and otherwise support the instructor of record for a course. Experienced TAs may be given full responsibility for teaching a course. [Please note: Students may technically relinquish a TAship they have been offered as part of their offer of admission up until the time they sign a contract to do the work, normally two to three months before a semester begins.  But the department depends on TAs to contribute substantially to the teaching work of the department, and the scheduling of courses happens many months in advance.  Therefore, if you intend to surrender a TAship for a semester or a year or more, you are very strongly urged to let the department know at the earliest possible time.  This requirement applies whether you receive prestigious external funding in lieu of university funding, or secure employment outside the department.]

c. Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are almost always funded through faculty research grants. They are not normally a part of funding packages, and in recent years they have been uncommon. GAs are expected to work 15 hours per week assisting with all aspects of the faculty member’s project. 

B. Minor University Funding

A wide variety of minor funding sources are available.  These positions do not include tuition remission or benefits.  Sources of minor funding include the following:

a. Part Time Lecturer (PTL) positions during the Fall and Spring semesters that pay a fixed salary for teaching a specific course (available mostly to ABD or near-ABD students).

b. Co-ad positions, which are available as additional teaching opportunities for students on TA lines who have completed their Master’s degree work. Students with a Co-ad appointment would normally teach two courses in a semester—one as a TA, the second as a Co-ad.

c. Wages for working on research grants or on specific department projects. These take two basic forms:

i. Research assistance (or occasionally administrative work) for a faculty member as an RA. Normally such funding comes from research funds the faculty member has at their discretion as part of their contract with the university.  This kind of funding can range from a couple of thousand dollars to perhaps several thousand dollars in any given year.

ii. Gretel Weiss funds: Several years ago the department received money from the family of an alumna, which we have been using to fund faculty-student collaborative projects. The faculty member submits a proposal and identifies a student research assistant, and the department pays the salary, normally between $2000 and $4000. These funds are typically non-renewable.  The goal is to foster short-term faculty-student research projects with the goal of publication.

d. Wages for helping professors in grading and/or proctoring student work in large courses. A call for volunteers is put out each semester.

e. Teaching during the summer session or at one of our satellite campuses which is paid on a per course basis equivalent to PTL pay in the regular year. [Summer courses will only be assigned to students with previous teaching experience (including as TAs). We normally prefer students who have already completed their Master’s degree.]

f. Small research- and conference-related grants. Calls are issued approximately twice a year, offering small amounts of money ($600 or less) to cover research-related expenses. These may include small payments to interview subjects, the cost of some portion of transcription services, occasionally software needs, or, most commonly, reimbursement for the cost of travel to academic conferences.  In the last instance, we normally expect applicants to be on the official conference program.  Applicants must follow specific university rules when seeking reimbursement.

C. Competitive External Funding  

A variety of fellowships are available from external sources. The procedures and stipends attached to these vary, as do the rules of eligibility. Students interested in applying for externally funded research grants or fellowships should contact GradFund directed by Teresa Delcorso-Ellmann. The benefits of receiving competitive funding are not just financial; the receipt of a prestigious fellowship is an indication of one’s potential as a scholar, and is helpful when applying for jobs as an assistant professor or research scientist.

D. Banking of Funding Years

Graduate students who receive funding from an external source during the years included in their original funding offer made at the time of admission are not guaranteed that they can defer (i.e., bank) their sociology funding for use in future years in the program.  [However, sometimes external funders mandate that a year of internal funding be, in fact, bankable, and programs must comply.  You will need to check on this in your specific case.]  We try to find a university fellowship or TA position for a student who gets outside funding on a one-to-one year substitution for years beyond the original funding offer (assuming reasonable progress).  However, we cannot promise that such a substitution will be available.  No such substitutions of funding will be made beyond the seventh year in the program.   We hope that this policy does not dissuade students from applying for prestigious external fellowships. Fellowships from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are an important indicator of one’s potential as a scholar and can open doors on the job market and for future funding opportunities from such organizations.

E. Tuition Remission

Domestic students:  The program pays full tuition for domestic (U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents) sociology graduate students funded on fellowships or Teaching Assistantships.  As stated in J. Michael Gower’s memorandum from August 10, 2018, while receiving funding through fellowship or TAship, there will be no difference between in-state and out-of-state costs.  While we encourage our students to live in the New Brunswick area while completing their coursework, and to participate in departmental life, there is no state residency requirement.    

International students:  Full tuition is paid for all international sociology graduate students funded on fellowships or teaching assistantships. International students who are part time (registered for less than 9 credits) will be assessed a health fee, which is to be paid by the student.  International students are strongly encouraged to consult with the Rutgers Global office to ensure that they are in compliance with all kinds of regulations related to residency, visa status, health coverage, and more.  See https://global.rutgers.edu/pre-and-post-arrival-steps for detailed information and guidance. 

Tuition will automatically be remitted as long as the fellow or teaching assistant is registered for the semester.  Fellows must also pay their campus, computer, and school fees online.  If a student does not pay their student fees on time, they will be assessed a late fee.

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