Financial Aid

Nearly all of our graduate students receive financial support, either from us or from their own governments.

Joseph Pingenot and Christine StevensChristine Stevens (right) is the departmental human resources contact. Her work includes RA and TA stipends.

Teaching Assistantships (TAs)

TA positions are awarded by the department. This is the most common support for first-year students who have not yet chosen a research advisor.

Research Assistantships (RAs)

RA positions are usually awarded by individual professors. Usually, the work you do as an RA is the same as the research you do for your thesis. Most commonly, students take an RA position after their first year, when they have learned about the opportunities for research with various faculty members. If you already know which faculty member has a research program that is best for you, you may contact that professor to inquire about RA support during your first year.

An RA in a research lab

An RA in a research lab is pictured at the right.


All graduate students who have been offered either a 50% RA or TA graduate assistantship receive a tuition scholarship that pays all of their tuition as well as 50% of mandatory fees. 


In FY18 a minimum tuition scholarship of $4,713.50/academic year semester ($9,427 per year) will be paid. The tuition scholarships will be applicable only for the academic year and does not include scholarships for summer semester enrollment. These rates for the tuition scholarship are based on a 9 s.h. or greater registration and will be pro-rated as related to each student’s registration. The tuition scholarship is not affected by the level of appointment above 25% time. 50% of the mandatory fees will also be covered by the contract.

Our graduate students are valuable to us

We make every effort to pay our graduate students an attractive stipend. Most students have what is called a 50% appointment, with the following stipends:

The stipend levels for year 2017-2018 per the contract negotiated between the University of Iowa and the graduate employee union, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Local 896 (COGS) are:

Academic year salary: 2017-2018 (One-half time $19,016) (One-quarter time $ 9,508)

Fiscal year salary: (One-half time $23,233) (One-quarter time $11,616.50)

FY18 Fringe rate: 23%

Students holding a 25% or greater teaching or research assistantship appointment will be assured a tuition scholarship.

About TA Positions

TA in instructional lab

Most TAs have a half-time (50%) appointment. The most common assignment is for TAs to teach three sections of a physics laboratory, each with three hours of contact with students, or four sections of an astronomy lab, each with two hours. These TAs work under the supervision of the laboratory coordinator and the professor in charge of the course. Other TAs serve as tutors, proctors, or graders. A half-time appointment requires up to 20 hours per week of service to the department. At the same time you can take a full load of courses, up to 12 semester hours.

TA in instructional lab

Some TAs also receive support as an RA. It is common for a student to be supported as a half-time TA during the academic year and as an RA for up to three months during the summer. Some students are supported during the academic year partly as a TA and partly as an RA. For example a student supported with a one-quarter-time TA position and a one-quarter RA position would serve up to 10 hours per week as a TA and serve as an RA in the remaining time.