The Department controls several forms of financial aid. All aid that comes directly from the department is based on merit, rather than financial need. Need-based aid, such as student loans and work study eligibility, is administered by the University’s Financial Aid Office.
Teaching Assistantships and Tuition Scholarships
Each year, the College of Liberal Arts makes available to us a number of Teaching Assistantships. Teaching Assistants receive a living stipend and pay no tuition, though they are required to pay student fees. First- and second-year Assistants usually lead discussion sections of large lecture classes. Assistants with more experience often teach their own sections of either HIST 405, Early American History, or HIST 406, Modern U.S. History. Occasionally, if the Department’s teaching load permits, we are able to assign a T.A. to a semester-long internship at a museum or other outside institution or to work on a special project of interest to the Department. Teaching Assistants take two courses while they teach. Note: All teaching assistants are required to take HIST 970, Graduate Seminar in Teaching History. This is a 2-credit course and may be taken in addition to the other two courses.
The Graduate School makes available to the Department a small number of tuition scholarships each year. These cover all tuition but not fees; recipients must register for a full load, usually three courses.
How Assistantships and Scholarships are Awarded
The Graduate Committee, which is chaired by the Graduate Director, is responsible for making recommendations to the Faculty on aid awards. Student members of the Graduate committee do not vote on aid to current students, nor do they have access to current student files. The Committee makes its decisions each spring for the following academic year. Once a student receives aid, that aid is committed for up to four years. (See below for an explanation of these rules). The number of new awards available, then, depends on the number of current recipients who have either completed their degrees, used up their eligibility, or voluntarily given up aid. The Department then usually divides the available aid between current students and new students who have been admitted for the next academic year. Students who want to be considered for aid need to inform the Graduate Director sometime in January or early February. As the basis for decisions, the committee considers all available material on student academic work. The most important of these for current students are the reports that each faculty member fills out for each graduate student he or she has taught in the previous semester.
Terms of Eligibility
The Department has set guidelines for terms of eligibility, which can be from two to four years. In deciding on these terms, the Department has tried to balance a number of goals, some of which are competing with each other: 1) making aid available to as many students as possible; 2) making aid available for a long enough period of time that students can pursue a consistent and predictable course of study; 3) encouraging students to complete their degrees in a timely fashion; 4) rewarding current students who have performed at a high level; 5) recruiting high quality new students each year.
This has been translated into the following specific guidelines:
1. We divide newly-available aid roughly equally between current and incoming students.
2. We try to ensure that all Ph.D. students who want to teach can serve at least two years as Teaching Assistants. The awarding of aid to students who enter the Ph.D. program without aid is made on a competitive basis, subject to the Graduate Committee’s approval.
3. We consider both an Assistantship and a scholarship as equals when we determine the number of years of total eligibility.
4. As long as students progress at a normal rate, aid will be renewed at least at the same level for each year of their terms of eligibility.
5. M.A. students are eligible for up to two and one-half years of support if their M.A. degree is terminal, up to three years if they plan to continue on to the Ph.D.
6. Ph.D. students are eligible for up to four years for new students or students who receive awards before completing the M.A. (The M.A. portion counts toward the four-year maximum.)
7. Ph.D. students are eligible for three years of support if they first receive aid after earning an M.A., but before taking the Ph.D. comprehensive exams. (Exception: new students who enter the Ph.D. programs with an M.A. are eligible for four years.)
8. Ph.D. students are eligible for two years of support if they first receive aid after passing the Ph.D. comprehensive exams.