Financial Aid

The Department of Physics makes every effort to ensure that eligible prospective students are not deterred from attending because of financial constraints, and we are proud of our tradition of providing continuing and adequate support for our students (see salary chart below). All types of financial support (Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Fellowships) include a full tuition waiver and partial fee waiver as long as they are for at least 25% time.

Most entering graduate students are supported as Teaching Assistants with a few fellowships available for outstanding students. A typical teaching load is three or four sections of discussion or laboratory classes per week, plus additional class-preparation time and office hours for tutoring or other student assistance. A graduate teaching assistant typically takes a course load of 9 hours.

First-year teaching assistants often inquire whether appointments will be continued into subsequent years. All appointments are contingent on state or federal funding and on satisfactory academic and job performance. For continuing students, initial appointments in the Department of Physics are generally renewed at an equivalent salary rate.

Various national fellowships, with no work requirements other than adequate progress toward degree, are available with various stipends and exemption from tuition and most fees. Most fellowships (if allowed by the granting agency) may be supplemented, at the fellow's option, with a quarter-time teaching assistantship involving about four to six hours of classroom teaching per week. Fellowships are rarely continued beyond one year, but research or teaching positions are available to all fellows whose work is satisfactory.

Summer research positions and a few summer teaching assistantships are available to the majority of those students who want them. In case of financial emergencies, short-term loans are available from the Office Of Student Financial Aid.

Salary Chart for Graduate Assistants with a 50% Appointment

Timeline Monthly Rate
(50% time)
Duration of Appointment Total Compensation
Prior to Passing Preliminary Exam $2,548.00 11 months (academic year + summer term) $28,028.00
9 months (academic year) $22,932.00
4.5 months (one semester) $11,466.00
2 months (summer term) $5,096.00
After Passing Preliminary Exam (raises go into effect at start of next semester following prelim date) $2,656.00 11 months (academic year + summer term) $29,216.00
9 months (academic year) $23,904.00
4.5 months (one semester) $11,952.00
2 months (summer term) $5,312.00

All Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Fellowships that are for at least 25% time include a full tuition waiver and a partial fee waiver.

Graduate Admissions Contact

S Lance Cooper

Lance Cooper
Associate Head for Graduate Programs
227 Loomis Laboratory
(217) 333-3645

Have questions about the admission process?
Read through the Admissions pages or contact us.


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