The Graduate Program in Statistics supports students with graduate assistantships and some fellowships. Graduate assistantships can be either teaching assistantships (TA) or research assistantships (RA). Most support is in the form of TAs, and RAs typically go to advanced students. All entering PhD students are offered 5 year support packages; MS students are not guaranteed any financial support. To keep your financial support, you must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree in statistics, as judged by the graduate faculty of the School of Statistics
The Graduate Program in Statistics sometimes hires otherwise unsupported statistics graduate students as teaching assistants for a specific semester, however the program is not obligated to support such students in future semesters. Some students unsupported by the program can find support from other departments through the graduate assistant job listings at the University of Minnesota Job Center.
Most graduate students who receive financial support from the Graduate Program in Statistics are awarded teaching assistantships. TAs are employees of the University who receive pay (stipend) and benefits (tuition and subsidized health insurance). A half-time teaching assistantship provides a full tuition benefit, subsidized health insurance (for the academic year and the following summer), and a stipend.
Research assistantships carry the same stipend and benefits as a TA and are funded by granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Heath, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. RAs are expected to conduct and assist in the research or consulting associated with the funding project. Most RAs go to advanced students.
Fellowships provide a stipend and benefits without the requirement of specific duties. There are 3 types of fellowships, and all are highly competitive.
None of the assistantships or fellowships covers the various fees charged by the University of Minnesota.
There are two additional types of support available to PhD students. The First Year Scholarship is a one-time stipend that may be awarded to incoming PhD students. The Summer Research Fellowship is a stipend that we award to support student research in the summers after their first three years in the PhD program. More advanced students often work as RAs, TAs or at internships over the summer.
Statistics graduate students who receive financial aid from the school are required to carry a course load of 9 credits each semester at the 5xxx- or 8xxx-level (unless the requirements is waived by the director of graduate studies) until the course requirements for the student's degree program are fulfilled.
Teaching assistants have various duties including paper grading, supervising recitation or lab sections for elementary courses, and teaching elementary courses.
A half-time assistantship obligates you to at most 20 hours of duties per week. Generally our teaching assistants work 12-15 hours per week on their prescribed duties. The remaining portion of the 20 hours is spent on other activities directly related to your graduate education, such as participating in student seminars, departmental seminars, informal discussions, and so on. You are notified of their assigned duties as early as possible.
First-year TAs are typically assigned to an elementary statistics course. These courses usually contain 60-90 students and meet 3 times a week with the instructor. Some courses also meet once a week in smaller recitation sections of about 30-45 students. The TA is usually responsible for grading homework assignments, preparing solutions, and holding office hours to answer additional questions. In those courses with recitation sections, the TA leads the recitations. TAs should work closely with the instructor to ensure that the course goes smoothly for the students.
At the end of each semester all the instructors and assistants are evaluated by the students. This feedback can be quite useful in improving your performance. Both the University of Minnesota and the School of Statistics give courses to help prepare new teaching assistants during the week before classes begin each fall. In addition to being good experience, the time spent being a teaching assistant can be an enjoyable part of your graduate career.
Graduate assistantships are contingent upon satisfactory job performance, current registration as a graduate student, and satisfactory progress in your degree program. You are responsible for knowing the policies and guidelines applicable to your appointment as a graduate assistant. Terms and conditions for appointments are described in detail on the Graduate Assistant Employment website, or contact Graduate Student Employment at 612-624-7070.