Approximately one-half of the graduate students in residence in Political Science at UTK receive some form of financial assistance, including most M.A. and Ph.D. students. There are several forms of financial assistance available to students, including assistantships and fellowships, as well as loans and part-time employment. Most assistantships and fellowships carry, in addition to a stipend, a waiver of all tuition and fees, with the exception of the facilities fee, the transportation fee, the technology fee and the activity fee.
Awards of assistantships and fellowships are based strictly on merit. Moreover, no student who has not been granted full admission to a degree granting program is eligible for consideration for an assistantship or a fellowship.
There are two types of graduate assistantships: teaching assistants and teaching associates. Both are half time positions, meaning that students who hold these positions are responsible for working 20 hours per week. Teaching assistants will normally be assigned to lead discussion sections attached to large lecture sections of introductory courses. Teaching associates teach autonomously at the introductory level—normally two sections of the same course in a semester. More advanced teaching associates may be asked to teach at the upper-division level.
In general, assistantships are not awarded to students who have outside employment. Individuals on assistantships are not required to perform services during the summer semester, although they are paid during these months.
Normally assistantships are awarded for one academic year. The performance of all graduate students who receive financial assistance awards from the department will be evaluated systematically on an annual basis by the Graduate Studies Committee and its Admissions and Awards Committee.
Prospective or current graduate students who wish to be considered for an assistantship for the next academic year must have their files completed by January 15 at the latest.