Applicants interested in obtaining an Assistantship for the Fall, must have a complete application by no later than January 15. Those interested in obtaining an Assistantship for the Spring Semester, must have a complete application by no later than July 1. A complete application includes the following: essay/goal statement, resume, 3 letters of recommendation and transcripts from all schools attended.
As a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), you can typically expect to receive an annual stipend between roughly $14,000 to $28,000, as well as free tuition and free health insurance. In essence, as a GTA or GRA, you’re paid to pursue your degree!
The financial rewards of a GTA position are only part of the story. You’ll gain valuable experience in and out of the classroom and have the opportunity to interact closely with faculty members in your department. The relationships you develop with your professors are crucial to your future success. Therefore working with them more closely, as colleagues of a sort, can help you to establish yourself and become better known within the department.
A teaching assistantship is no “free ride,” of course. While the duties of a TA will vary, you can expect to be responsible for one or more of the following:
- teaching or assisting with one or more sections of a course
- running laboratory sessions
- grading undergraduate student papers and exams
- holding regular office hours and meeting with students
- conducting study and review sessions
If you plan to pursue an academic career, testing the waters as a GTA can prove to be an invaluable learning experience where you can gain some practical on-the-job skills. Even if your career path will take you beyond the ivory tower, the position can still be excellent way to pay your way through grad school, develop leadership skills, and get some great experience.
The faculty in the Department of Physics offer several GRA positions. Some of these positions are filled with incoming students, but most students start in the Physics PhD. program as GTAs. Typically, after a year as a GTA, students find an advisor who supports them through a GRA position and tuition waiver. As a GRA you are conducting research, which ultimately leads into a dissertation or masters thesis.
We expect that students and their advisors present their research at conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals. Besides faculty in research centers like NSTC, AMPAC and CREOL after work with Physics students as GRAs.