Graduate Studies

Employment and Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to all graduate students on a competitive basis. The College of Arts & Sciences and the Graduate School have additional merit-based fellowships. See the Graduate School website for more information. All additional money, above and beyond the regular graduate stipend is subject to availability of funding, continued good progress towards obtaining a degree and a good employment record. Because a PhD usually requires five years of full-time study, financial support is ordinarily provided for a maximum of five years. A sixth year of funding is made available on a case by case basis.

Each GTA with a 0.5 FTE must be enrolled in a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve credit hours in graduate-level courses (two to four three-hour courses) each semester. A GTA with a 0.25 FTE must be enrolled in a minimum of nine and a maximum of twelve credit hours of graduate-level courses each semester. All GTAs must successfully complete at least six credit hours in each semester to be eligible for the continuation of financial support.

GTAs are paid monthly on the last working day of the month. All prospective employees must complete a Department of Homeland Security I9 form regardless of citizenship.

The University of Alabama has instituted a mandatory policy that requires a satisfactory background check as a condition of employment. The background check will include the results of a criminal history search, governmental identification number trace (to verify name and address), and a national sex offender registry search. This is not a credit check; the report will only be used to evaluate you for employment purposes. Please complete and sign the enclosed Standard release Form for Graduate Employees-Authorization and Release for the Procurement of a Consumer and/or Investigative Consumer Report and return it to us immediately. The report and its contents will be kept strictly private and confidential. This check is done once unless there is a change in status, for example from GTA to GRA and then back to GTA. GTAs are required to work in addition to taking courses. The University measures the amount of work expected of students in terms of a 40-hour work per week. A student who is expected to work for 20 hours each week is said to be assigned a 0.5 Full Time Equivalency (FTE), while a student working for 10 hours each week has a 0.25 FTE. Most employed graduate students are assigned a 0.5 FTE, which allows for half of the time to be spent working, and half studying.

Any student with a Teaching Assistantship of 0.5 FTE or greater is awarded a full tuition grant, which pays the full amount of that student’s tuition. GTAs will never see this money; it just means that they won’t 15 have to pay their tuition at the beginning of each semester. GTAs are eligible for a variety of other benefits, including health services, single coverage health insurance provided by the Graduate School and membership in the Alabama Credit Union. For a list of all benefits, refer to the Graduate Assistant Guide.

In the first year, GTAs may tutor, conduct problem sessions for courses taught in large lecture sections or grade homework and exams for professors.

Students must earn 18 credit hours of graduate- level Mathematics to teach. MTLC courses are assigned by the Director of Lower Division Instruction and the Departmental Chair. For teaching duties, the Director of Introductory Mathematics is the immediate supervisor for the MTLC courses. Otherwise, the supervisor is the course coordinator. For GTAs teaching their own sections, the normal load is one or two 3- credit hour courses, or one 4-credit hour course with some additional tutoring assignments per semester.

Sometimes, however, teaching duties may interfere with GTA’s own studies. This can happen, for example, at the end of the semester, when many exams are assignments. It is important for GTAs to learn how to divide their time between their duties as students and as teachers.

Steps to Continuing Financial Support

  1. Students who were advised to take foundation courses must successfully complete these courses during their first year.
  2. Students must complete their core course requirements and pass the Qualifying Exam by the end of their second year (or by the end of their third year if they took the foundation courses).
  3. Students must have a dissertation proposal that is approved by their supervisory committee by the midpoint of their fourth year (or fifth year for those who took the foundation courses).
  4. Students must report substantial progress in their dissertation research work to their committee by the end of the fourth year.
  5. Students must maintain a 3.4 GPA or better throughout the 5-year program.