Financial support is available to qualified students in the form of a graduate assistantship (GA). A full-time GA involves 20 hours per week of work for one or more faculty. The student is expected to work a total of 280 hours per semester, which amounts to 14 weeks at 20 hours per week. The stipend is $9,000 for the academic year, or $4,500 per semester, and awarded to 10-12 students per year, depending upon funding levels within and outside of the department (annual Sociology MA enrollment is typically 23 students). Continued support, which normally is provided for a maximum of four regular semesters (not including summers), is contingent upon funding availability, satisfactory work performance (competitive with/relative to other students), and demonstrated progress toward the degree. To remain eligible for a GA, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and must be enrolled in at least nine semester hours. However, if the student has met all of his/her curriculum requirements met (and the student is registering for thesis or practicum project credits only), then 3 semester hours of Thesis for MS students is considered full-time for graduate assistantship eligibility purposes.1 This rule does not apply during summer terms. Neither, however, guarantees a student a GA position. Moreover, at the discretion of the Graduate Director, students failing to achieve at least a 3.0 overall GPA in their Sociology courses may be deemed ineligible for GA funding (Again, students with Incompletes may also be ineligible for funding if they have not made satisfactory progress towards graduation (i.e., The Graduate School defines satisfactory progress as having completed 80 percent or more of the credits they have attempted).
The first priority for graduate students is the timely completion of class and program requirements. Consequently, faculty members may not schedule work assignments in a way that conflicts with classes or final exams. Beyond this restriction, students are expected to complete the hours of work that have been assigned. Other time commitments (such as other work), must be communicated to the Director of Graduate Studies prior to the assignment of assistantship support or at any time during the contracted assistantship period. Other work commitments shall not take priority over assistantship commitments. GA of any type should not work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year. GA are limited to 30 hours per week (30-hour rule) in the Fall and Spring Semesters in any combination of appointments – GIA/GRA/GTA, self-help, College Work Study, EPA/SPA. Foreign students are limited to twenty hours per week, no exceptions (this is a federal requirement). During first and second summer sessions, all graduate students (domestic or foreign) are limited to 38 hours per week. Nevertheless, all students are advised to follow the 20-hour rule, and must notify the Graduate Director when activities beyond 20 hours will occur, even if these positions are with centers housed within the Sociology Department. Failure to do may result in a forfeiture of some hours of a student’s GA. This is especially the case when work is affecting student performance in the classroom.