Above photo courtesy of current CONS student Annette Spivy.
- When you complete your application for admission, as long as you mark "Yes" in response to the question, "Are you interested in being considered for Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships?," then you are automatically considered for funding by CONS. Partial or full support is offered to as many students as possible.
- A few students receive fellowship support for their first year in the program (a GPA of 3.8 or better and excellent GRE scores are usually necessary to be competitive for this support)
- Many students are employed as TAs (teaching assistants) or GAs (graduate assistants)
- TAs primarily aid in undergraduate biology courses. A full-time position typically includes a work commitment of approximately 20 hours per week, 10 credits of tuition remission each semester, a modest 9-month living stipend, access to subsidized health insurance and other benefits. Half-time positions are also offered.
- GAs often help in various programs on campus including undergraduate advising and administrative work. A full-time, academic-year position typically includes a work commitment of approximately 20 hours per week, 10 credits of tuition remission each semester, a modest 9-month living stipend, access to subsidized health insurance and other benefits. 12-month and half-time positions are also offered.
- Additional financial support can be found in independently discovered part-time work, outside scholarships through the University's National Scholarships Office, and paid external internships
- For federal student aid (including loans), you will need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- International students often receive outside fellowship support, from organizations such as Fulbright, LASPAU, or the Organization of American States.
The CONS cohorts are kept intentionally small, in part to increase students' chances of obtain financial aid through teaching and administrative assistantships. Although the CONS Program cannot guarantee funding for all students in the future, in the past most students have been able to secure some form of part time financial assistance.
CONS graduate students are generally recognized in UMCP science departments as bright and capable individuals who can thrive as teachers in a wide array of courses, even if they do not possess extensive background knowledge in the course to which they are assigned. This is especially true for introductory/ survey courses (e.g. “Introduction to…,” “Principles of…,” and many other 100-300-level science courses). For more advanced courses (often those at the 400-level or above), prospective TAs are advised to give careful consideration to their preparedness for the particular content of each course, and will likely be consulted by the professor for follow-up if selected as a potential candidate to teach such a course. Each position is different -- some guarantee funding for one semester, some for two. The process of finding a position takes time, and in some cases a student may not be offered a position until the last minute.
The first step in seeking an assistantship is to inform the CONS Office that you are seeking support, including a brief statement of your relevant knowledge, skills, and interests for potential TA positions. This information will then be passed on to the director, who will make every effort to match students to suitable positions as they are advertised. In addition, you should receive notice of a teaching preference form during the latter part of the semester preceding the one for which for which you are seeking support. Upon completing and submitting this form to the TA coordinator for the Biology Department, you will be added to a list of students requesting assistantships and will be notified as positions are filled.
If you feel qualified to teach a course in a field beyond the life sciences, you are encouraged to contact individual departments and professors to inquire about available positions, which you are welcome to secure even without a formal offer of TA funding from the CONS Program. Occasionally, such positions are advertised by University Human Resources, among other employment opportunities. Whatever leads you pursue, it is a good idea to treat this process as you would any job search, and to send along cover letters and your current resume. The best strategy is to start looking for positions early, pursue multiple positions, and to continue to explore options for funding throughout your curriculum at the University of Maryland. Many classes and offices are not sure of their exact staffing resources and needs until the start of a new semester, so it can really pay to be persistent.
Please let the CONS office know when you obtain support for the coming semester: email@example.com.
In addition to Teaching Assistant opportunities, there are also a number of Administrative Assistantships available in various offices on campus. These positions are similar to TA positions in pay, benefits, and time involved, but job duties vary from position to position. If you do not want to be a TA, or are not qualified to be one, an AA position may be a good alternative for you.
Finding an administrative assistantship will take some legwork. Here are some good places to start looking.
- University Human Resources; Employment and Compensation Office - lists individual positions
- Graduate School - Suggestions for funding your graduate education
- Offices that offer Graduate Assistantships include, but are not limited to, the following. Students are encouraged to call other offices and check out websites to see if any positions are available.
- Department of Resident Life
- Division of Letters and Sciences
- Office of Information Technology
- Study Abroad Office
- Undergraduate Admissions
- Undergraduate Studies
- Stamp Student Union - has a number of administrative and events offices that hire graduate assistants, if you can't find GA listings on their page, give them a ring and ask!
Other Opportunities on Campus
- The Campus Writing Center hires graduate students at an hourly wage to assist undergraduate students with writing and thinking skills.
- The campus libraries have some student positions. Submit applications to the library Human Resources Office, in McKeldin Library, room 6119.
- The Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship from The Wilderness Society.