Most students in the program receive funding support from a variety of sources over the course of their graduate training. Funding sources include: department-assigned assistantships, lecturing positions (for advanced students), faculty-assigned research assistantships, assistantships with other departments on campus, and many other possibilities.
We do our best to try to offer as many funded slots for incoming students as possible. These are awarded based on a committee review that begins in January. We also nominate incoming students for a variety of internal fellowships from the University, including Aviles-Johnson Fellowship, Merit Fellowships, Lechner Scholarship, etc. For candidates with prestigious external funding we try to get supplements through TAMU Great Program. Funded students have generally either 4-year (accepted with recent Sociology Master’s degree) or 5-year (accepted with Bachelor’s degree) funding promise.
With departmental funding and with most of the fellowships, students are usually employed as Teaching Assistants (most common among first-and second year cohorts), Instructors (more common among more advanced students), or Research Assistants (availability depends on current projects in the department).
Acceptance and Department-Assigned Funding
Unlike many departments, we do not require that new students be awarded department-assigned funding as a condition for being accepted into our program. As a result, we are able to offer the opportunity of graduate training to more deserving students; not just the small number we can support with department-assigned positions.
Many students welcome the opportunity to be accepted into the program on this basis. However, it is crucial for these students to recognize that they must assume primary responsibility for identifying and obtaining alternate sources of financial support. While opportunities for support definitely exist on campus and in the local community, it often takes considerable time and effort to find one. Many of the new students who are accepted without funding do find financial support from one of the many other sources once they are enrolled and on campus and in position to respond to seek out available opportunities. However, the potential stress of finding funding can jeopardize chances for succeeding in the program. In view of this, students who do not receive department funding may be asked, as part of their review for acceptance into the program, to show that they have a realistic plan for providing for financial support in their first year.
Continuing students can apply for department-assigned assistantships that are awarded annually on the basis of committee review. In addition, they may seek other funded positions that offer opportunities for research and teaching experience. While there is no centralized review process for these other positions, there are many more of these positions than there are department-assigned assistantships. Thus, about two-thirds of our continuing students are supported through such positions.
For more information, please visit the Texas A&M Financial Aid page.