All Ph.D. and M.S. graduate students are expected to do supervised research during their studies. Most Ph.D. and some M.S. students receive financial assistance from the department and other sources in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and system administration assistantships. Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) work with faculty members on externally funded research programs. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) assist faculty in their teaching duties, usually by grading assignments and teaching recitation sections. Graduate Systems Assistants (GSAs) help administer the shared department computing resources, including the Linux, Mac, and Windows based machines.
GTA/GRA/GSA appointments are highly competitive, typically awarded to the top 20% of the pool of admitted students. Most graduate students who are offered funding begin as GTAs or GSAs. We feel it is beneficial to our students to begin as GTAs/GSAs because it provides students and faculty the opportunity to become acquainted and allows students to find research topics of interest to them. GRA awards are determined by individual faculty members, based on their research grants and compatibility of the students’ qualifications. New students are offered GRA positions only in exceptional situations.
GTA and GSA assignments are awarded by the department. We give high priority to research potential and/or contribution. All Ph.D., a few M.S., and extremely rare M.C.S. students are admitted with an offer of an assistantship. The department is committed to continuing the funding as long as the student makes satisfactory progress, and satisfactorily fulfills the duties required by the assistantship. For Ph.D. students this commitment is for five years, and for M.S. students, it is two years, though individuals who continue to make satisfactory progress receive further extensions. M.S. and M.C.S. students contributing to faculty research in the form of papers and presentations, are typically funded on a semester-by-semester basis even if they do not have a funding “guarantee.”
Research groups in the department fund several graduate students, and a general overview of research areas in the department can be found on the department research page. All research areas listed on the research pages fund students.