Typically your advisor will be responsible for sponsoring you for financial aid. Financial aid comes in one of three forms:
- Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA): A GTA position provides a monthly stipend and tuition waivers. It may be either a 10 hour or 20 hour position and its responsibilities include assisting a faculty member with course-related tasks, such as grading, assisting students, and leading labs.
- Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA): A GRA position provides a monthly stipend and tuition waivers. It may be either a 10 hour or 20 hour position and its responsibilities involve assisting a faculty member with some research task.
- Fellowship: The department and university provide a number of fellowships:
- Bodenheimer: The Bodenheimer Fellowship proves $10,000 per year and lasts 5 semesters for an MS student (the $10,000 is pro-rated the final semester) and 10 semesters for PhD students. The fellowship also requires the student’s faculty advisor to provide either a 10 hour GTA or GRA position.
- Department Excellence Award: This award provides a stipend of $300 per month for the first year. Your faculty advisor might continue to provide this supplement after the first year, but it is not guaranteed.
- Ron Nutt
- Chancellor’s Honors: This fellowship pays a $12,000 per year stipend for 4 years. The recipient must be a newly admitted PhD student. Initially the student must also be given a 20 hour GRA position and the total yearly stipend must be $25,000 or more ($12,000 from the fellowship and $13,000 or more from the GRA).
- Min Kao: This fellowship pays a $7200 stipend. It requires the faculty advisor to provide a 20 hour GRA that pays $1400/month.
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Award
- University of Tennessee, Graduate Fellowship Award
Except for the Bodenheimer fellowship, your research faculty advisor should nominate you for each of the above fellowships.