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Financial Assistance and Fees for Geography Graduate Students

The Geography Department offers financial assistance in the form of Graduate Recruitment Scholarships and graduate assistantships. A graduate assistantship is usually designated as a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship. Only students admitted unconditionally may receive financial aid, although not all unconditionally admitted students receive aid. All students on financial assistance are obligated to perform certain duties, discussed below. Students must balance their schedules to meet assistantship, classroom, and personal obligations. Details regarding fees and related financial information can be found on the Bursar’s webpage.

Graduate Recruitment Scholarships

A Graduate Recruitment Scholarship (GRS) covers tuition costs, whether resident or nonresident, for each semester awarded. Part of the funding is received as direct tuition support, and part is spread throughout the semester as compensation for assistantship work performed. The student is responsible for all other fees (the general fee, technology fee, and health insurance). Recipients of the scholarship must take at least 15 graduate credit hours and work 6 hours per week for the department during each GRS-funded semester. Examples of assistantship duties for GRS students include grading for large classes, or teaching one lab section. Only students who are recruited into the Geography Department are eligible for this award. Students who have received any other financial assistance from the department are not eligible.


Departmental assistantships are designated as teaching assistantships (TA) or research assistantships (RA). Both provide a tuition scholarship, whether resident or nonresident, and a stipend. The student is responsible for all other fees (the general fee, technology fee, and health insurance). The student is obligated to work no more than 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters.

A student receiving a teaching assistantship is responsible for such duties as teaching lab or discussion sections, leading field trips, grading exams and assignments, and other forms of assisting classroom instruction. Most TAs are assigned to work with a specific professor in a specific class for the semester. Professors meet with and provide instructions, materials, and other information to their TAs. Specific course assignments for TAs are not made until after the welcome meeting for incoming students in the fall; spring semester TA assignments are usually made a couple of weeks before the start of the new term.

A research assistant is obligated to work a maximum of 20 hours per week according to the terms of her or his appointment. Research assistants generally work with an individual faculty member on a specific grant-funded research project, but RAs occasionally receive other assignments, including outside of the Geography Department , such as with the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs. Funding amounts for grant-supported RAs can vary with the position because they are dependent on the terms and amounts of the faculty grants.

Work Performance and Renewal of Financial Aid

Financial aid is not automatically renewed for the second year, but will be determined when the annual performance review is completed. Unless there are performance problems, the normal expectation is to continue aid for the second year. Failure to complete assigned assistantship work will result in a reduction or stop in pay. If a student leaves the university without finishing required work assignments, their pay will be adjusted according to the amount of work completed.