Jump to content

Type of Funding - Which Should I Choose?


Recommended Posts

I am lucky enough to be in a position where the department is (somewhat) allowing me to choose the assistantship I want. My options are the following:


Option 1: TA (50%). I would teach two courses (not two sections of the same course, two different courses). For one I would lead a discussion section, for the other I would be the primary instructor. Keep in mind that this would be my first semester of grad school, and I don't really have a background in either of the courses I'd be teaching.


Pay scale: Grade B (A being highest).


I thought Option 1 might be a little much to take on in my first year, plus I would love some research experience. So I was offered:


Option 2: RA (33%). My advisor was just awarded a grant, so I would start on her project from the beginning, get to collect and analyze data and probably get a publication out of it. However, because it is only 33%, my income would be lower. I would have to make up the time with hourly work, the nature of which I am not sure of. It might also give me an opportunity for funding through the summer, whereas the TA job would not.


Pay scale: Grade A (but only 33% vs 50%). It's about $3k/year less than being a TA at 50%. I don't know what the hourly work wages would come out to.


Tuition remission and health insurance are the same no matter which option I choose. What should I do? At this point I think maybe I should just take the TA job(s) so I can live somewhat comfortably. But not being involved in any research (except maybe volunteering) seems like a bad move. Any advice?

Edited by iphi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this a situation where you would have the option to switch again after your first year? If so, I'd start with the RA. If after a year you feel like it isn't enough money and the research option isn't worth it considering how much you make, then switch to a TA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the RA is a better choice professionally.  Money is important but you also want to consider building up your CV! In the long run the RA will provide better professional experience (doing research and getting a publication v. teaching two random courses).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely the RA. It's better for you professionally, and could help you with your own thesis work. Also, it looks like there's room in there to add more time in subsequent semesters as your advisor's work on this grant picks up. Once the project is mature, it seems like there would be more for you to do at the higher salary level. I often work on projects that are just me and the PI in the beginning while we set things up, then gradually pull more people in or take up more of my time as things get rolling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use