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Funding for Graduate Students

The admissions committee will only make offers to as many new students as they can provide with funding. Depending on the program, students are admitted with 2-5 years of guaranteed funding. This package will be a combination of fellowships, TA (teaching assistant), RA (research assistant) and GA (graduate assistant) positions. Students are strongly encouraged to apply to outside fellowships and grants, as these allow students to concentrate on their research. We work with our students each year to make sure they receive opportunities to teach and research that will make them attractive on the job market.  

Read our department guidelines for obtaining travel and research funds here.

RA: Research assistants generally work for one professor. They design methodologies, conduct studies, collect data and write for ongoing research projects, supervise labs and undergraduate researchers or guest lecture. RA positions are an invaluable chance to develop research and academic skills. 

TA or Instructor: Instructors teach their own classes and TAs support instructors. Students normally spend at least a semester as a TA before they instruct. TA positions usually involve grading, holding office hours and conducting labs. Instructors are responsible for the structure, content and assessment of their classes. We are committed to giving our students a range of teaching experiences.  Read the program guidelines for TAs here.

GA: Graduate assistants work on a wide variety of tasks for the department. This can include keeping the website current, creating promotional and educational content for the department, creating programming, managing social media, and coordinating guest speakers. Departmental work is an essential form of professional service, and we encourage our students to spend one semester as a GA. 

In other departments: Along with positions within the program, several of our students are funded by other university institutions. They work as instructors or tutors at the Oral English Proficiency Program, or as instructors and TAs for language departments (Spanish, German, Chinese, etc.). These positions allow students to gain experience teaching at different levels and different kinds of classes. 

Fellowships & Grants: Some new students come in on one- or two-year fellowships (the Purdue Doctoral Fellowship, the Lynn Fellowship, or the David M. Knox Fellowship) that allow them to concentrate on class work. These fellowships are awarded by the admissions committee; you do not apply separately. In addition, there are other Purdue Fellowships available as you advance in your program, such as the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship.  Purdue undergraduate students applying for graduate studies should apply for the Charles A. Chapelle Fellowship.

Purdue's Graduate School website lists other opportunities for fellowships and assistantships. The Graduate School offers many opportunities, resources, and strategies to assist graduate students in obtaining funding.