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Is adviser funding more important in the geosciences than it is in other fields?


InquilineKea

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See https://www.quora.com/Academia/Why-are-professors-often-unable-to-take-on-new-students-if-they-dont-have-grant-funding-for-the-student-*even*-if-the-student-might-have-the-option-to-TA-their-way-through-graduate-school

 

But the discussion is mostly veered towards other fields, where students are often expected to TA starting from the first year on (and where the student body is usually more homogeneized, so a student can fit under multiple advisers).

 

But I've had a completely different impression from emailing advisers in the geosciences. in the geosciences, it often seemed like if a professor doesn't have the funding - they simply can't take me, period. I didn't insist on asking about possible TA positions though (though the geosciences are also complicated in that many people majored in things other than the geosciences, and there also aren't that many undergrad classes to TA).

 

It also doesn't seem to matter how strong the student seems to be. When I emailed professors, lack of funding seemed to be an especially prevalent issue at the state universities, but not at the top private universities (even though an applicant is less likely to be a "top" student at a top private university).

 

So i'm wondering - do you disagree with the answers to the Quora question I posted above? And do you see things in a similar way or in a different way from how I see it?

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it often seemed like if a professor doesn't have the funding - they simply can't take me, period.

 

From the professors I've spoken with in the sciences, my understanding is that TA funding usually comes from the department, whereas RA funding usually comes from the prof.

 

Therefore, if the prof can support you with RA funding, he/she has much more "pull" to get you admitted than if he can't support you with RA funding (and would then have to rely on the department to carry your weight with TA funding).  A couple of universities that I applied to were very specific that if a professor didn't have research funding for you then you were unlikely to be admitted.

 

One difference with the private universities (at least for Yale & Cornell in my field) is that many of the top schools "guarantee" funding for all of their grad admits.  This might be TA or RA (possibly for a prof other than your POI).  Whereas for most state universities this is not the case, the prof has to pony up to support you.  In fact, one state school that I'm applying to can't guarantee my funding past year 3 (and that 3 years is all RA funding from an existing grant from my POI).

 

Thoughts?

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