Letters from Graduate College and Chemistry Department
Your letters of offer from the Graduate College and from the Department of Chemistry have different purposes. The Graduate College admits you into a degree program, while the Department letter concerns financial support. Financial support from the Department of Chemistry is competitive with those offered by other chemistry departments in the U.S. considering the low cost of living in Stillwater. Students live quite comfortably on the support that the Department provides.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
Most graduate students in the Department of Chemistry are supported as either Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants. Generally first-year students serve as Teaching Assistants. See your letter of offer from the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemistry Graduate Policies for the conditions of your financial support.
Fellowship awards for incoming students are also available on a competitive basis for applicants with outstanding records. These typically provide supplements of $3000 to $5000 per year for up to three years, in addition to the regular stipend you receive as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant. Also, students who wish to begin their graduate programs in the summer prior to the official start of their assistantship are usually awarded the necessary support upon request. Tuition scholarships that often cover all tuition costs are available on a competitive basis for beginning students who are U.S. Citizens. The nonresident-fee portion of the tuition bill is waived for all teaching and research assistants. In addition, waivers for the remaining tuition charges up to six credit hours per semester for Fall and Spring. or up to three credit hours for Summer, are provided to all Teaching and Research Assistants.
The experience gained from a teaching assistantship is a valuable part of the total educational experience of a graduate student. An incoming graduate assistant will usually teach in the general chemistry laboratory program. This involves the supervision of laboratory sections of approximately 28 students plus the leading of discussion sections that precede the labs. The usual half-time teaching load involves eight or nine contact hours per week. The total time demanded by the assistantship, for teaching, preparation, grading and office hours is between 14 and 18 hours each week. Research assistantships are awarded to students by their faculty thesis-research adviser. The number of these awards within a research group is limited by available grant funds that vary from year to year. These appointments are usually offered to advanced students who have completed most of their course requirements since research assistants are expected to devote all of their time to research.
Most students work full time on research during the summers and are supported as Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistants with funds from their advisors’ grants.