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Funding Your Graduate Education

OSU Student Financial Aid

Domestic Graduate Students: Types of Aid

International Graduate Students: About Aid

Financial support for graduate education can also be obtained from other various sources. In the U.S, there are national fellowship competitions for U.S. citizens. An internet search can provide application information. Within OSU, there are a variety of mechanisms to obtain funding for graduate education. These can be divided into fellowship (both university and industrial), graduate teaching associateship (GTA) and graduate research associateship (GRA). All funded positions pay a monthly stipend, provide a tuition waiver, and subsidize health insurance. The duties associated with each position and the processes in which the students are selected for the support are outlined below.

University Fellowships

The University Fellowship program is administered by the Ohio State Graduate School. Each year the CEGE department submits a list of prospective students to the fellowship competition. Eligible students must have:

  1. submitted a graduate application by December 1
  2. been recommended for admission to the CEGE department
  3. must have indicated on their application that their final goal is to obtain a PhD degree at OSU.

In addition to satisfying the above requirements, the applicant should be ranked in the top 10% of their class and score well on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Competitive GRE scores for the the fellowship competition are a combined 75th percentile average on the general exam’s Verbal and Quantitative components and a 4.0 on the Analytical Writing component. A committee in the graduate school evaluates the prospective graduate students in a university-wide competition, and awards are announced in March. Extraordinary evidence of academic accomplishments especially in research can significantly enhance your chance of receiving a fellowship.

There are several types of university fellowships. Most university fellowships provide one year of support. For some candidates, there are two and three year university fellowships awards. Students who are making good progress toward a PhD are generally supported continuously (as a GRA or GTA after the fellowship year or years) until they complete the PhD.

Graduate Teaching Associateships (GTAs)

GTA positions are awarded by the department based on the student's academic record and research progress, teaching interest and past performance, and departmental needs. Priority is given to continuing students. Most positions are allocated to PhD students or those whose degree objective is PhD.

In addition to pursuing a graduate degree, a GTA is responsible for:

  • 20 hours per week of teaching duties, which could include conducting lab or recitation sessions, grading homework and quizzes, and otherwise assisting the professor with the class.

GTA appointments are typically awarded on a yearly basis. The appointments usually occur during the summer term for the following academic year.

In addition to GTA opportunities in CEGE, many CEGE students have obtained GTA positions in other departments once they enroll in graduate school at Ohio State. In the past, students have obtained positions in the The Department of Engineering Education (as GTAs for the freshman honors program), Environmental Science Graduate Program (ESGP), Department of Mathematics, Department of Physics, Department of Chemistry.

Graduate Research Associateships (GRAs)

The majority of supported graduate students in the CEGE department are funded through a graduate research associateship (GRA). GRAs are responsible for:

  • performing research tasks on a particular budgeted contract secured by an individual faculty member, research staff member, or laboratory group. The appointment is halftime (20 hours/week) and the research usually leads to the satisfaction of thesis or dissertation requirements.

Since the stipend is paid by individual research contracts, a student who seeks a GRA appointment must contact individual faculty members or research groups in their area of research interest and see if there is a research need and funds exist to provide support. Mass mailings to faculty members do not work well. Faculty are seeking students who have a strong background and interest in the faculty research area.

It is important to note that the amount of funding in different research areas within the department can be uneven and the funding distribution among the areas can change very rapidly in a short time. We recommend that prospective students thoroughly investigate CEGE faculty research records and determine which faculty best fit their research interests. Contact with faculty members should be made once students have gone through such a process.