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 generally are not appointed to assistantships.
School of Arts and Sciences policy gurantees supported Ph.D. students are given at least 5 years of support, as long as they remain "in good standing." This requires passing courses, advancing to candidacy in a timely manner, responsibly carrying out any duties associated with their support, and not having disciplinary issues.
Department practice is to try to ensure support 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 some senior students who have not quite completed their dissertation work but are already employed outside the university.
Most newly admitted graduate students are offered TAs. The TA appointments are for ten months, the academic year, and the appointments include tuition and fee remission, (employee) health insurance, and a stipend. The stipend has increased recently from $28,569 for AY 2019-20, to $29,426 for AY 2020-21, to $30,162 for AY 2021-22. Stipends after this are expected to remain constant until the next university - AAUP union contract is negotiated. The graduate student union contract with the university also limits TA work assignments to an average of fifteen hours each week on teaching duties, including class preparation and classroom instruction.
Superior incoming students are offered academic year Fellowships. These provide full tuition remission, a stipend of at least $29,000, and (student) health benefits, with no teaching obligations. (The university designates a minimum Fellowship stipend of $25,000, which the department increases for first-year students.) It is 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, so additional teaching assignments for extra pay are available to most interested graduate students during the academic year. Unfortunately, the university is interpreting language in the contract to mean that TAs 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.
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 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 are eligible for complete health plan benefits, the same plans 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 health plan.
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 about the same.
Advanced students are also eligible for department or university competitive Fellowships. See Awards, Prizes, and Fellowships.
M.S. students are generally not offered support, but they are eligible to take on the same additional teaching assignments as the Ph.D. students, for the same pay scales.
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 Graduate School-New Brunswick.