Support available to graduate students

Nearly all Ph.D. students in the department receive full financial support through teaching or research assistantships or through fellowships; Ph.D. students are usually not admitted unless such financial support can be offered. 

M.S. students admitted to the program are generally admitted without support, and are not appointed to assistantships. They are however, similar to Ph.D. students, eligible to take on additional (for Ph.D. students) teaching assignments for the same pay scale, or to work on research for pay for faculty with grant funds. See below for more details.

School of Arts and Sciences policy and the current union contract guarantee a minimum of 5 years of support are given to Ph.D. students, as long as they remain "in good standing." This requires passing courses, advancing to candidacy in a timely manner, ongoing progress towards their degree after being advanced, responsibly carrying out any duties associated with their support, and not having disciplinary issues.

Department practice is to try to ensure support of all full-time Ph.D. students, even after 5 years, who maintain satisfactory academic progress. Support generally comes through the university in the form of teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (GAs), or Fellowships. Typically there are several students with external Fellowships, and a couple senior students who have not quite completed their dissertation work but are already employed outside the university.

Ph.D. students when admitted are nearly all offered 10-month academic-year appointments, with additional summer support. Some students instead receive 12-month calendar-year appointments.

Newly admitted graduate students are mostly offered TAs. The TA appointments are for 10 months, the academic year, and the appointments include tuition and fee remission, (employee) health insurance, and a stipend. The stipend is set by the Rutgers union contract. The academic year (10-month) stipend is $35,335 for AY 2023-24, $36,395 for AY 2024-25, and $40,000 for AY 2025-26. The calendar year (12-month) stipend is $40,635 for AY 2023-24, $41,854 for AY 2024-25, and $46,000 for AY 2025-26. The graduate student union contract with the university also limits TA work assignments to an average of 15 hours each week on teaching duties, including class preparation and classroom instruction.

Some incoming students are offered academic year Fellowships. These provide full tuition remission, a stipend of at least $32,600 (for our offers made in spring 2023), and (student) health benefits, with no teaching obligations. Fees are not covered. (The university  designates a minimum Fellowship stipend, which appears to remain at $25,000 during AY 2023-24.) Typically incoming students offered Fellowships are offered supplementary amounts from independent endowed funds, so that their total stipend remains at least equal to that of TAs and GAs. It is also generally possible for Fellows to supplement their stipends through teaching assignments. 

Occasionally an incoming student is offered a GA appointment, which is similar in terms to the TA appointments, except that the student's duties are to work on research with a particular faculty member, rather than to teach.

The department at present has more teaching assignments that need to be filled than can be filled by the TAs and faculty, so additional teaching assignments for extra pay are available to most interested graduate students during the academic year. Language in the current contract is interpreted to mean that TAs or GAs who have not passed their qualifier are not allowed to take on extra sections for extra pay. This change was effective as of spring term 2020.

During the academic year, it is also possible for students to take on additional research assignments for faculty for additional pay. However GAs cannot receive additional support from the same grant that is used for their GA appointment.

For the two summer months of July and August, support is generally available in the form of research positions or summer teaching appointments. While there is no fixed pay for the summer research positions, most faculty with grants pay their students at about the same monthly rate, about $3,500/month for AY 2023-24, as the TA and GA academic year appointments.

TAs and GAs who receive full academic or calendar year appointments are considered state employees, and they and their dependents / family are eligible for the same health plans and benefits as the faculty and staff are offered. All other students, such as those with partial year appointments or Fellows, are only eligible for the student / Fellow health plans. Students are required to have health insurance, but coverage through Rutgers can be waived for students with outside coverage. 

Most advanced students move from TA support to GA support funded by the research grants of various faculty members. GA appointments can be either for the 10-month academic year or for the 12-month calendar year. The monthly stipends are slightly less for CY appointments than for AY appointments. 

Advanced students are also eligible for department or university competitive Fellowships. See Awards, Prizes, and Fellowships.

On-campus housing is available at favorable rates for both married and single students. While this is convenient when first coming to Rutgers, most students choose to live off campus in the communities near the department. Information on housing is sent to applicants upon acceptance by the School of Graduate Studies.