Graduate study in chemistry is a full time job, so most students pursuing graduate degrees in our programs receive full support as teaching assistants (TAs), as research assistants (RAs), or through University or external fellowships.
Most students are eligible for TA support during their first five years in the PhD program and during the first two years of the MS program, provided they remain in good standing. Additional support beyond these periods as an RA is possible if the research advisor agrees to provide support.
No separate application for financial aid is necessary — all students who apply to the graduate school are fully considered for financial support.
Most students are supported as TAs during their first year in the program. Every TA receives a 12-month stipend, which currently starts at $23,232 per year, and a waiver of tuition and fees; students will have to pay $100 to 150 per semester in course fees. The total package (stipend plus tuition waiver) for in-state students is approximately $31,000, while the out-of-state package is approximately $45,000.
TAs are typically in charge of lab sections in the freshman, organic, or upper-level lab courses. TAs are expected to work approximately 20 hours per week, which includes student contact time, office hours, preparation, and grading. Contact time usually totals about 10 hours, equivalent to three freshman labs or two organic labs.
Senior graduate students are generally supported as RAs by their research advisors. While the research advisor determines the RA salary, RAs generally receive the TA stipend. Like TAs, RAs receive a full tuition and fee waiver and health insurance. RAs are expected to work full time on their research projects and coursework.
The Department of Chemistry and UA offer a number of graduate fellowships. Students on fellowships are relieved from teaching duties, and thus are free to focus on their classes and research. Internal fellowships also may provide higher stipends than the standard RA or TA appointment.
We also encourage qualified students to apply for external fellowships funded by government and private agencies.
Fellowships available from UA and the Department of Chemistry:
- Dean’s Merit Assistantship: $6,000 in addition to the normal TA or RA stipend, renewable for three years
- Graduate Council Fellowship: full assistantship stipend with no teaching responsibilities during the academic year; a few exceptional students are offered $20,000 for nine months plus three months of GTA or GRA ($25,525 total)
- Future Faculty Fellowship: full assistantship stipend with no teaching responsibilities during the academic year
- McNair Graduate Fellowships: full assistantship stipend with no teaching responsibilities during the academic year
- Alabama Alumni Associate Fellowship: full assistantship stipend with no teaching responsibilities during the academic year
- Departmental fellowships: add-on fellowships that offer up to $2,000 for the first year in addition to the normal stipend
All students supported by internal fellowships or assistantships will receive single coverage health insurance from the University at no cost. More information about this benefit can be found on the Graduate School website.