Four types of competitive assistantships are available to graduate students in Sociology at the University of Georgia: University-wide graduate assistantships, Departmental graduate assistantships, graduate teaching assistantships, and research assistantships through individual faculty members with external funding. Additional information about graduate funding opportunities may be reviewed at the UGA Graduate School.
Assistantships require 4/9ths service (17 hours per week or 44.444% time) for the nine-month academic year. Students with assistantships receive a tuition waiver, but must pay nominal matriculation and activities fee each semester. Graduate School and Departmental assistantships are paid in ten monthly checks, with the first check issued at the beginning of September.
Students with assistantships must enroll for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester the assistantship is in effect (and 12 hours for Summer Semester, if enrolled). Ordinarily, they may not take more than 9 hours of course work per semester (making up the remaining hours by registering for SOCI 7000, 7300, 9000, or 9300). [Unfunded students are allowed to take up to 15 hours of course work per semester.] Under special circumstances the University allows funded students to take an "overload." Consult the Graduate Coordinator for further information on course loads.
University-wide graduate assistantships
These assistantships are awarded to individuals nominated by the Department and selected on the basis of a University-wide competition. The major criteria used in determining Graduate School assistantships include undergraduate grade point average, graduate grade point average, G.R.E. scores, letters of recommendation, and evidence of professional participation. The Department's Academic Program Committee nominates students for consideration. Final selection is made by Graduate Coordinators from all Departments and schools within the University. Students nominated by the Department for University-wide assistantships are generally assured of Departmental support, should they not be awarded a university-wide assistantship.
Although Departmental graduate assistantships are assigned on the basis of the Department's instructional needs, graduate students receiving University-wide assistantships have the discretion to select the professor or professors with whom they wish to work. They may alter their faculty supervisor on semester-to-semester basis. Recipients of University-wide Assistantships and the professor of their choice mutually agree upon the tasks to be performed by the student, which may involve collaborative research projects or instructional activities. The assignment of a University-wide assistantship shall not be treated as necessarily meeting the instructional needs of the professor with whom the University-wide graduate assistant has chosen to work. The professor supervising the University-wide graduate assistant shall evaluate, in writing, the graduate student's performance as a University-wide graduate assistant.
Departmental graduate assistantships
These assistantships are awarded to new and continuing students by the Academic Program Committee. Students awarded Departmental assistantships will be assigned to one or more faculty members on a semester basis, to assist them with instructional and/or research activities. Later in the program students may teach their own classes as part of their assistantship. However, prior to assuming any teaching responsibilities, students are required to enroll in GRSC 7770: Graduate Internship. This 2-credit hour course is designed to provide graduate teaching assistants with knowledge of pedagogical approaches and available support systems.
Several important rules apply to Departmental assistantships:
- Only students taking courses that lead to a Sociology degree objective are eligible for Departmental funding.
- Assistantships are awarded on a yearly basis by the Academic Program Committee, but may be withdrawn during the year for failure to carry out assigned tasks in a competent, timely and professional manner.
- Students who receive a Departmental assistantship can normally expect to receive funding through the Department as long as the student is making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. Students typically receive departmental funding for five years. However, students with advanced training should be more competitive for Research Assistantships funded by external grants.
- Assistantships are awarded annually on the basis of a screening of all applicants. Screening is based on course and assistantship performance, and progress towards the degree objective. Second and Third-year Reviews are important in ranking advanced students for access to Departmental funding.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships
Graduate students in their third year of study or beyond are eligible to serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). A GTA assumes full responsibility for an individual section of an undergraduate course. Students often find such experiences helpful in preparing for the transition to college level teaching. Prior to assuming any teaching responsibilities, students are required to enroll in GRSC 7770: Graduate Internship. This 2-credit hour course is designed to provide graduate teaching assistants with knowledge of pedagogical approaches and available support systems.
There are typically a number of research assistantships associated with externally funded research projects. Such research assistantships, which are allocated to students by the faculty member(s) holding the grant, may provide up to 12 months support, at up to a half-time rate. The availability of such positions and their substantive foci will vary from year to year. Since the duties require research skills, often of an advanced nature, these assistantships are typically not available to incoming graduate students, except those who already have a Master's degree in sociology or a related field.