Each Ph.D. student is assigned to work under the supervision of a faculty member as an apprentice scholar-researcher throughout their time of study and up through the completion of the dissertation. This faculty-student mentor relationship is at the core of our PhD program.

Graduate Assistantships

All Ph.D. students receive department funding at time of admission and are required to serve as a graduate assistant (GA) for both research and teaching apprenticeships. These apprenticeships are an integral element of the department's emphasis on both research design and methods and the development of the skills needed for an academic career.

Except when serving as a teaching assistant for the department, as described below, students will serve as a GA under the supervision of their faculty member. This GA apprenticeship begins in the Ph.D. student's first semester of residence and continues for a minimum of four semesters, exclusive of summer sessions. Each Ph.D. student is assigned to work under the supervision of a faculty member as an apprentice scholar-researcher.

Assignments of Ph.D. graduate assistants to faculty supervisors will attempt, whenever possible, to link each student with a faculty member who specializes in one or more areas in which the student has expressed an interest. One objective of the research apprenticeship is to have the student serve as an apprentice scholar-researcher. In many instances, a graduate assistant's faculty supervisor will become the student's academic advisor.

The maximum time commitment involved in a research apprenticeship is 20 hours per week while classes are in session.

University procedures do not permit the department to guarantee assistantships for more than a year at a time. Nevertheless, when the faculty admits a student to the Ph.D. program and awards a graduate assistantship, its intention is to renew the assistantship for additional years of study if the student remains in good academic standing and performs his or her assistantship duties satisfactorily.

The department does not renew graduate assistantships for a fifth year. Although there are a few fellowships for which advanced Ph.D. students are eligible, including the Maxwell Dissertation Fellowship, funding beyond year four should not be assumed.

Teaching Assistants

To ensure that all Ph.D. students obtain experience in the classroom, all Ph.D. students receiving four years of funding from the PAIA department will be required to support a class for three semesters as a teaching assistant (TA) at some point before the end of the spring semester in their fourth year in residence.

This experience would include grading, help sessions for students, and must include at least one formal session in front of students, preferably in a regularly scheduled class session. A faculty member teaching the course would serve as the student’s mentor for the FPP program for that year.

Students receiving external funding or the Maxwell Dissertation Fellowship will be exempt from TA requirements while receiving those funds and will have their overall TA requirement reduced.

Additional Teaching Opportunities by Application

Summer TAs 

Teaching Assistants are needed annually for PAI 753 Executive Leadership (offered in June), PAI 734 Public Budgeting (offered in July), and PAI 755 Public Administration and Democracy (offered in August).   

Maxwell Course TAs

P.A. students are also invited to apply for teaching assistantships for MAX undergraduate courses.  

Research Funding

Funding from PAIA

The PAIA department offers small research grants (typically $1,500-$2,000) to cover summer expenses. Applications are competitive. The department offers at least one competitive fellowship for fourth year studies without a GA commitment.

External Funding

Students are often funded by research grants, both during the academic year and the summer. Check with your advisor(s) to see if any opportunities are available. In recent years, some students have successfully obtained external fellowships.

Download the PhD Handbook  for complete details about Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Assistant positions.

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