Graduate Student Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are the primary source of funding for graduate students at the University of Tennessee and are offered by academic departments and administrative offices of the university. An assistantship is a financial stipend for living expenses to a graduate student for part-time work in teaching, administration, or research while pursuing an advanced degree. Appointments are normally on a one-fourth to one-half time basis, usually requiring 10 – 20 hours of service per week (see Graduate Stipends). The annual stipend is payable in either nine or twelve monthly installments. In addition to the stipend, Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA), Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAssoc), Graduate Assistants (GA), and Graduate Research Assistants (GRA), with appointments on a one-fourth time basis or higher, are entitled to a waiver of maintenance fees (tuition) for the period of appointment in accordance with university policy. These appointments also include a benefit of health insurance for the student.

Student Loans

If you are seeking to fund your graduate studies through student loans, One Stop Express Services has links and deadlines for many different student loans. Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. Your eligibility for a Federal Direct unsubsidized loan is determined by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If additional funding is necessary, graduate students may apply for a PLUS Loan, which is designed for graduate or professional students for use in helping to pay for education expenses. If you’ve already submitted your FAFSA, you’ll have an FSA ID, which is used for logging in and completing an application.

Academic Publications and Conferences

All Ph.D. students are required to provide evidence of submission of at least one refereed journal article before graduation. Although not required, faculty encourage all M.S. students to prepare and submit manuscripts for publication in refereed journals. The department encourages graduate student participation in national and regional meetings. The Thompson Student Development Endowment provides funds to support participation by students, especially those whose major advisor has insufficient funds, to participate in academic conferences. Every graduate student receives a travel stipend of $500 per year, which they can use towards travel to a regional or national meeting. The expectation is that the student will either present a paper or a poster, either in the student competition or in the regular sessions of a meeting.