Graduate Student Funding

Financing Graduate Education at Texas A&M

The department of Atmospheric Sciences offers financial assistance to all admitted graduated students, either in the form research (Graduate Assistant Research - GAR) or teaching Assistantships (Graduate Assistant Teaching - GAT); all Assistantships include tuition payments. Almost all Research Assistantships are based on offers from faculty members with active research grants. Teaching Assistantships are extended to students on an annual basis to bridge or extend research funding, and normally require teaching lab sections or grading, among other tasks, in large undergraduate courses such as ATMO 202.

To support their research, PhD students also often submit graduate fellowship grant proposals to federal agencies, such as NASA and NSF. In addition, some of our PhD students have received highly competitive University-wide graduate merit fellowship and graduate diversity excellence fellowship grants.

Graduate Assistantships

There are three types of graduate assistantships available through the academic departments, colleges, TAMUS agencies, and administrative offices:

  • Graduate Assistant Teaching (GAT) – The student will typically work 20 hours per week, teaching labs and grading assignments for an assigned course (instructor).
  • Graduate Assistant Non-Teaching (GANT) - The student will typically work 20 hours per week, grading assignments and completing various non-teaching duties within the department.
  • Graduate Assistant Research (GAR) – The student will work and report to a particular Principal Investigator (PI) who will generally be the student’s chair, but may be with an outside party. The student will usually work on a research project that could serve as a Thesis/Dissertation project for the student.

These positions require service of 20 hours per week. Graduate students holding assistantships in ATMO must be registered for a minimum of nine semester hours during a fall or spring semester, or for six credit hours during the summer. Assistantships terminate upon failure to maintain the minimum enrollment requirement. Students serving in these roles are paid a monthly stipend, eligible for insurance benefits, and their tuition and fees are paid by ATMO at the in-state rate. The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Graduate Council enforces guidelines for employing graduate students at greater than a 50% effort. The current monthly stipend in ATMO is $1,975 for Master’s students and Ph.D. students who have not, yet, passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, and $2,125 for Ph.D. students who have already passed the Qualifying Exam. These rates will increase to $2,025 and 2,175, respectively, on September 1, 2017.

Benefits for Graduate Student Employees

All students holding graduate assistantships will be offered a range of benefits including health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability and others for you and your eligible dependents. Each of these has an associated cost, but graduate assistants are eligible for the state contribution to help pay for their benefits. This contribution becomes available starting with the first day of the month after 60 days of continuous employment. Because graduate assistants are in a part-time position, they receive half of the monthly state contribution. For more detailed information on the benefits for graduate student employees, see http://assets.system.tamus.edu/files/benefits/pdf/studentinsurance/benefits-for-graduate-student-employee.pdf.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Assignments

TAs (GATs and GANTs) are assigned to courses by the Department. When available, students may request particular courses of interest. For more information regarding TA Assignments, please contact the Chair of the Graduate Committee of the Department.

TA Training

All TA’s are required to take a mandatory training course provided by the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University prior to teaching. For more information please visit the following website: http://cte.tamu.edu/ . International students must fulfill an English proficiency requirement prior to teaching. The University is planning to change the proficiency requirement by the beginning of the fall 2017 term. The new requirement will be based on only the oral part of TOEFL. All TA’s will receive evaluations from their students at the end of each semester.

Fellowships

Ordinarily, graduate students holding fellowships are not required to perform any services. Although individual colleges may have higher requirements, graduate students holding fellowships must register for a minimum of nine semester credit hours during a fall or spring semester, or for six credit hours during the summer. Many competitive fellowships of $4,000 or greater per academic year also allow students to pay tuition at the in-state rate. Fellowships packages vary from $1,000 to over $30,000, and some do include funds for insurance, tuition, and fees.
For detailed lists and more guidance about requirements and application, explore the following pages:
. Faculty-Nominated TAMU Fellowships
. Externally Funded Fellowships

Grants

Texas Aggie Graduate Grant

This is a need-based grant (need is determined by Student Financial Aid) for graduate students who are Texas residents. Each student may receive up to $1,500 per semester, with a maximum of $3,000 per year. The application is now located on the Scholarships and Financial Aid website. Turn the completed form in to the Scholarships and Financial Aid office (located in the Pavilion, 2nd floor).

Research and Presentation Grants

Purpose: The Graduate Student Research and Presentation (RAP) Grant Program is supported by the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies and by funds provided by The Texas A&M Association of Former Students. The purpose of the program is to support graduate student research or travel to make presentations or conduct research by reimbursing students for some of the eligible expenses incurred. Travel expenses are allowed on research grants if absolutely required in order to complete the research.

Eligibility: The applicant must be in good academic standing (3.0 GPR) and registered as a full-time graduate student at TAMU – College Station campus at the time of application and at the time of reimbursement. Students are allowed one RAP grant per degree. If you have received a RAP grant before, you are not eligible to apply again, unless one was received as a master’s student and you are now applying as a doctoral student. Applications must be received by the posted deadlines to enable enough time for processing.

Detailed information regarding this grant and applications can be found through the following link: http://ogs.tamu.edu/funding-information/grants/grant-guidelines/

Awards

There are various other awards and fellowships through the university that students can be nominated for each year. Details and nomination criteria can be found through the following link: http://ogs.tamu.edu/current-students/fellowships-awards/awards/. If you think you would be a strong candidate for one of these awards or fellowships, talk with your advisor or the Chair of the Graduate Committee.

Sponsors

Some international students have all or part of their educational expenses paid from a source other than personal and/or family funds or from a Texas A&M assistantship. These students may have made agreements with a sponsor regarding their educational objectives that is the result of an agreement between agencies, governments, organizations (both international and domestic) and/or companies (both public and private). In most cases, these agreements require special coordination and certification by Texas A&M. Students participating in sponsored programs should contact the Sponsored Student Programs office early in the admissions process.