Support for Graduate Study
Graduate students in good standing are offered a full teaching assistantship during their first two years in the program. Besides full-time positions during the academic year, such students are also given an opportunity to apply for at least partial financial support during the summers. Some students are supported by Research Assistantships as early as their first year. Customarily, students who are making progress in their program receive full financial support through some combination of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships.
Most students accepted into the department through normal admissions procedures are also offered teaching assistantships. A teaching assistant spends an average of no more than 20 hours per week teaching in one of our laboratory or recitation classes, grading, and preparation. Students may also apply for consideration for summer teaching positions.
Full teaching assistantships are normally only offered to students in the first and second years of the program. It is expected that students will transition from support through a teaching assistantship to at least partial support through a research assistantship by their third year of the program. The student should take responsibility for this process and actively seek out potential advisors who can fund their research.
Many graduate students are offered research assistantships. A research assistant is generally paid for research work leading to doctoral dissertation, although a student may also be supported as a research assistant before a formal commitment to a research advisor has been made. Summer research assistantships are also available, and are a good way for students and potential advisors to get to know each other before committing to a formal advisor/student relationship. Research assistantships are obtained through negotiation between the student and the individual research groups. Interested students should contact the research groups directly for more information.
Tuition Awards with Assistantships
Students supported on graduate assistantships are awarded up to 24 credits of tuition per year, until they have completed their program coursework requirements. Students are encouraged to use all credits awarded from Teaching Assistantships earlier in their academic careers.
The department offers several different types of fellowship that provide stipend and tuition support for students who present truly outstanding qualifications, are from groups typically underrepresented in physics, and/or have the potential to make significant contributions to their future professions. The department nominates candidates for fellowships based on their application materials (for new students) or their performance in the program (for current students). Fellowships provide a stipend and students are awarded up 30 credits of tuition per year until they have completed their program coursework requirements.
Each year, all full-time graduate students are required to demonstrate proof of qualifying health insurance coverage or enroll into the Syracuse University Student Health Insurance Plan. Students with assistantships or fellowships receive a subsidized rate if they opt for the Syracuse University Student Health Insurance Plan. The fellowship or assistantship handbook, which is sent to students when they are offered a place in the program, contains details on the available plans and subsidized rates. For more information see Student Health Insurance.