- Teaching and research assistantships
- Graduate School Assistantship Office
- Department dissertation research fund
- ALANA Diversity and Opportunity Program
- Graduate School travel grants
- Graduate School fellowships
- Graduate Students Grant Service
- National fellowships
- Anca Romantan Graduate International Research Fund
Teaching and research assistantships
A limited number of teaching assistantships are available within the department, although typically, all students who are admitted are funded through either a teaching assistantship or, less often, a research assistantship. The annual (9 months) stipend is about $15,000 and comes with a tuition/curriculum fee waiver and health benefits. Students rarely but do occasionally receive additional funding in summer and winter, and some are offered the opportunity of summer teaching on-line.
How to be considered
- On your application, check the appropriate box under “financial aid” —visit the Graduate School website to apply online
- Your application file must be complete
- You must be registered for 9 credits*
*Unless a waiver is granted by the Graduate Studies Committee. Generally, a waiver is granted only once in the course of your MA or PhD program. For a waiver request form, visit the department’s Graduate Office.
How many semesters? MA candidates in the department are eligible to receive at least 4 semesters of funding upon good academic standing through teaching and occasionally through research assistantships; PhD candidates, 6 semesters; candidates undertaking both degrees, 10 semesters. Department funding is not lost if you do not need it for one or more semesters. For example, as a PhD student, you may receive 2 semesters of funding from the department, then be funded elsewhere for 3 semesters, and then return to the department for another 4 semesters of funding.
Mind the contract. Note that assistantship contracts are for either one semester or one academic year. These limits are inherent to the Commonwealth's annual budget process, in which funds do not carry over from one year to the next. Although it is the department's policy to support students who are doing well academically and in their assistantship assignments for the duration of their studies, there is no obligation beyond the limits specified in a given contract.
Learn more … about minimum pay rates, health benefits, tuition and curriculum fee waiver, vacation time, and more at the Graduate Employee Organization website.
Graduate School Assistantship Office
The Graduate Assistantship Office processes graduate appointments and associated waiver benefits. This office also posts assistantships when they come available—mostly for nonacademic departments that need administrative support. The Graduate Assistantship Office does not assign appointments.
Department dissertation research fund
The Department of Communication offers small grants that help PhD students pay dissertation research expenses. Specifically, the fund is for material items needed to complete your research.
To be eligible, you must …
- be in good standing
- have your prospectus officially filed with the Graduate School
- have a letter of support from your advisor
These funds are reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee each semester. Receipts are necessary for reimbursement. Download the application at right.
ALANA Diversity and Opportunity Program
To increase and enhance the overall diversity of the graduate student body, and to provide access to the financially disadvantaged, the UMass Graduate School offers financial support to people who, historically, have been underrepresented in graduate education.
The ALANA (African, Latino, Asian/ Pacific Islander, and Native American) Diversity and Opportunity Program of the Office of Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention (OGSRR) offers financial assistance on a competitive basis in cooperation with the academic departments. In most cases, tuition is waived in full.
- Only US citizens or permanent residents are eligible.
- This is not a special admissions program. ALANA recruits students who can matriculate at the university on the strength of their academic credentials and who can effectively fulfill individual degree program requirements.
- Candidates for ALANA’s Opportunity Awards and Diversity Fellowship Programs must be recommended for admission to a graduate program before they can be nominated for funding.
- Puerto Rican applicants need not take the TOEFL.
- Special arrangements have been made for people of the Mohawk Nation to be considered in-state students.
Qualified students interested in applying to the university and being considered for the diversity and opportunity awards should contact the ALANA program.
The application fee can be waived only with receipt of written proof that the GRE fee was waived. This proof may be secured through your undergraduate financial aid office and should be sent with the Graduate School application. Applicants who are not current undergraduates should complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form and have their local financial aid office evaluate it as to eligibility for a GRE fee waiver.
These grants are awarded exclusively for travel to recognized conferences for the purpose of presenting research or original artistic works resulting from graduate coursework at UMass Amherst. They are not awarded for the purpose of attending a conference, facilitating a session, or conducting research. Download the application at right.
What they pay for: Grant funds apply to registration, transportation, and lodging expenses documented by receipts. Meals, copying, and other incidentals are not reimbursable. Students are strongly encouraged to share travel expenses with others attending a conference. See the Graduate School travel grant website for typical amounts covered.
Eligibility: Awards are made to an individual student rather than to a project (divided among several students). Each graduate student is eligible for one grant per year, although the Travel Grant Committee typically awards only a small number of grants to the department annually. Additional funding for graduate students presenting at conferences is often available from the department to those students not funded through the Graduate School. The Graduate Program Director makes a call for requests for department-sponsored travel grants each semester.
- As soon as you have been formally accepted to present—and no later than the date of travel—e-mail the completed application to your Graduate Program Director (GPD). Include the expense summary page and the confirmation from the conference organizers.
- Ask your advisor or project faculty member to send an e-mail of support to your GPD. The GPD will notify the Graduate Council Travel Grant Committee of his or her approval within 10 days of receiving your application.
- The Travel Grant Committee will respond to you by e-mail within 14 days of communication from the GPD. If a grant is awarded, take the e-mail notification and your receipts for approved travel expenses to your own department’s budget assistant within 30 days of travel to receive reimbursement.
- Required application packet contents to submit to GPD, who will submit the materials, along with his or her approval form, to the graduate school:
- Application form
- Expense summary
- Evidence or confirmation of invitation to present
Graduate School fellowships
To help superior graduate students pursue and complete an advanced degree in the minimum time possible, the Graduate School awards a limited number of competitive fellowships on a university-wide basis. These one-year fellowships provide waivers for tuition, health fees (not a family plan), and curriculum fees. They may be renewed upon the department’s nomination and Fellowship Committee recommendation.
To be considered, you must be enrolled as a full-time student. You can indicate your wish to be considered on the Graduate School's application form. Completed applications should be submitted to the Graduate School faculty for review before January 15 for the following September. Awards are announced by April 1.
Graduate Students Grant Service (GSGS)
This GSGS helps graduate and postdoctoral students apply for grants and fellowships from funding sources outside the university. Sponsors include federal government agencies, corporations, and public interest groups. Awards can include money for research and stipends for tuition and/or living expenses. GSGS maintains and updates an extensive online database to aid in the search for graduate funding.
Graduate applicants are also strongly advised to seek national fellowships: Ford Foundation, Javits Fellows, NSF Fellowships, and those provided by national professional organizations. The university participates in Project 1000 (National Hispanic name exchange) and strongly encourages McNair Scholars to apply, to name just a few opportunities. For further information, contact the OGSRR.
Anca Romantan Graduate International Research Fund
The department offers an annual award to support international research among graduate students, in honor of a late colleague whose own work spanned global interests. See Anca Romantan Graduate International Research Fund to the right.