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Chiper91

Does your program require you to take classes and work during the summer?

6 posts in this topic

Hey,

I was just wondering if there are any doctoral programs in the United States that require their students to take classes and work as either a TA or a RA?

My program requires us to take 6 credits of graduate classes during summers (Summer C) and to work for either Summer A or B semesters. I don't want to complain but it is pretty exhausting. We have two weeks of break between the summer and fall semesters, one month between fall and spring semesters and one week of break between spring and summer semesters. I am already burnt out and I have not even taken my comprehensive exams yet. We get our assistantanship money year round though.

I am just curious if there are other programs with similar schedules.

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You need to specify a field here. In most STEM fields, working 12 months is pretty common. 

2 weeks of vacation or so is the norm in my field, with the rest of the year being full time work. 

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Posted (edited)

59 minutes ago, Chiper91 said:

We get our assistantanship money year round though.

That's why you have to take classes and teach. My contract is a yearly contract but I take classes and work 9 months, for which I'm paid. My tuition waiver does not include summers. At my friend's program, they get tuition waived during the summer also. So I guess every program is different.

One other thought. When you begin working, you won't get long vacations unless you are an academic. The longest amount of vacation time I ever received when starting a new position was 3 weeks. That's not much in the grand scheme of things.

Edited by cowgirlsdontcry

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If you get your funding year round, it's not surprising to me that they ask you to do something to earn it during the summer. My program does not require students to take classes or TA during the summer (in fact, there are no courses to take in the summer), but students can apply for TA positions if they need summer funding. There are also other funding opportunities as RAs, e.g. for REUs or just grant funding from your advisor. 

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My program provided 9 months of funding and didn't have any official requirements over the summer. Some people would be gone basically all of that time, and others would be on campus for most of the summer. Most summers someone would organize a reading group of some kind, but there weren't any classes to take. Professors likewise varied in how much time they spent on campus, but they all had at least some availability, since a lot of students would defend their dissertations in the summer. As for me, personally, I do most of my research and writing over the summer, and I slow down significantly during the semester (and end of summer) when course prep/teaching starts to take over a lot of my time. I do really appreciate being able to use my time as I see fit and work on or off campus, travel, take breaks, etc. I try not to be on campus more than once or twice a week for meetings, and otherwise I work from home or my favorite coffee shop. For fields where that doesn't really happen, maybe there are still ways of slowing down and taking more breaks, even if you can't up and go on vacation for two weeks. A stay-cation can be just as rejuvenating. I think everyone will understand if you declare a long weekend where you're unreachable and you just do whatever you want that isn't work. 

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My program provides 12 months of funding and over the summer we're all expected to enroll in 6 units of classes and/or independent study, work in our research labs, and continue seeing clients.  There isn't a formal rule for taking vacations, you just let your advisor know and make appropriate plans to get your work done and have a backup person for your clients.  Some time their vacations with breaks between semesters or holidays and others go whenever.

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