With the exception of sponsored students whose support is provided by their countries government or privately funded programs and students not requiring financial assistance, nearly all admitted graduate students are offered to take advantage of one of several potential opportunities to provide for their tuition and living expenses.
The majority of admitted students are offered a teaching assistant (TA) position. TA’s responsibilities vary, but most commonly include teaching several sections of the undergraduate lab or recitations for the undergraduate courses taught at the department, or assist faculty members teaching graduate or undergraduate courses. Less commonly, TAs assist faculty members with grading homework assignments and tests, proctoring the exams or work at the departmental help desk that offers supplementary instruction to undergraduates that require additional help with the classes. Later in their studies, students typically move onto the research assistant (RA) positions offered by individual faculty members and funded by their research grants.
All applicants are also considered for the Texas A&M University-wide Diversity Fellowship program sponsored by the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS). The program offers fellowships that typically imply a reduced teaching load compared to the standard TA positions and aims to increase diversity of the graduate student body by targeting members of traditionally underrepresented groups. The selection process is highly competitive and starts in mid-January with the departmental Graduate Admissions Committee reviewing all complete applications to identify eligible applicants and selecting candidates for nomination to the OGAPS. OGAPS carries out final review and selection. Applicants are welcome to review the eligibility criteria. Potentially eligible applicants are invited to note their eligibility for the Diversity Fellowship in their application materials (it can be mentioned in the statement or you can upload a separate letter when completing your application at the University admissions portal using the “upload documents” function).
Finally, there is a small number of merit-based fellowships that are awarded from a combination of University provided funds and endowments provided by private donors. These fellowships offer a competitive stipend and also allow for a significantly reduced teaching load compared to standard TA positions. Because of legal requirements and endowment restrictions, only domestic applicants (U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents) are eligible for the merit-based fellowships currently offered by the department.
In addition to salary (stipend), these positions include financial support that covers required tuition expenses and provides health insurance benefits. In addition to standard tuition, students are also required to pay fees charged by the university on a semester by semester basis. These typically run at about $1200/semester (this data is accurate as of 2018). Our standard TA positions do not cover fees. Depending on the type of a fellowship or an RA position, fees may or may not be covered or be covered partially.