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Financial Support for PhD Students

Each year, four years of guaranteed funding are offered to the four most qualified applicants to the PhD in SLS program, pending availability of funds. Financial assistance is in the form of a teaching and/or research graduate assistantship, as long as the enrolled student maintains a GPA of 3.5 or higher and takes 6 credits per semester (with the exception of those who have reached the dissertation writing stage, or ABD status). The graduate assistantship is a 0.50 FTE appointment that provides health plan benefits and 100% tuition exemption. The payment of student fees is not covered.

For those admitted without guaranteed funding, the Department strives to support PhD students with GAships or lectureships combined with tuition awards, but this support cannot be guaranteed. Support depends on the availability of funding and the student’s skill set and academic performance. Students are encouraged to seek alternative sources of funding as well; units such as the College of Education, UH Student Athletic Services, and the Institutional Research Office have all hired SLS students as GAs in the past.

After three years of departmental support, students without guaranteed support are lower in eligibility for funding so that incoming PhD students will have the same opportunities. Depending on departmental needs, however, PhD students may be hired as GAs for up to eight semesters, or as GAs or lecturers beyond the eight-semester limit. Lectureship availability depends on Departmental needs and funding, and can be offered in the Fall, Spring, or Summer.

Selection for a GAship or lectureship to teach an undergraduate course in the department (which require a related MA as a minimum qualification) is based on training, teaching experience, and faculty recommendation. A PhD student can express interest in teaching a particular course on the Departmental Financial Support Application Form, or when requested to respond by the Department Chair. Following procedures approved by the DPPC, the GA Selection Committee will review applications and make decisions.

PhD students, by virtue of their previous degrees, experience, and the selectiveness of the admissions process, may have priority over MA students in hiring. However, this does not guarantee that a PhD student will be hired before an MA student, if the faculty feel that the MA student is more qualified for a particular position.