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Chem Grad School Stipend


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Hi everyone ! I have a question about stipends for grad school. I recently got accepted (unofficial offer) to UC Davis, and I was told that my stipend will come from TA or the PI. I know that probably for the first year I will have to TA. When I do so, is my monthly payment the equivalent of the base yearly stipend ? Or is it an addition to the stipend ? Once I get on the PI funding, does that mean I will only be getting the base stipend ?

The other thing I was wondering about is when do grad student recieve these payments ? Can I request some in advance to cover moving cost and rent before the grad program starts ?

Sorry for the many questions, but I will appreciate any insight in advance.

thanks (:

Edited by Solaf
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You will have to ask your program for the exact numbers. Usually, the stipend for TA and from PI is about the same and one will replace the other. That is, the base yearly stipend is usually the amount you get paid and the source of the funding might be from your TAship or it might be from your PI (i.e. an RAship). In some programs, only when it's explicitly stated, you can do extra TA work and get some extra money. However, this is rare, because TA work is actually a commodity in many places (since it means the department is paying you, not a lab/PI) so the department want to limit TAships to only new students without a PI to take them on. So, unless your offer letter states otherwise, you should assume that you will be getting the base stipend for the entire length of degree, no matter if you are an RA or a TA.

Typically, you will have to wait at least one pay cycle before you get your first stipend check. At my school, we're paid monthly, so it's about 1 month before we get paid. Actually, it's more like 6 weeks because most people arrive about 1-2 weeks early to get settled and there's orientation etc. My school offers a $2500 startup loan, no fees, no interest for new students to cover things like moving costs and apartment deposits etc. However, we only get this money once we arrive (but we can get it on the first day). If you need an advance for moving costs, you can probably talk to your school and hopefully they will have some similar program or be able to accommodate you in some way. Don't count on it though, because you can imagine many students need this and it could cost a lot of money.

I'd say most students try to save up a few months of expenses before moving through a summer job or something. Another good idea is to get a credit card and that will allow you to defer payments for a little while, if you're good with credit (i.e. don't accrue interest, paying it off before the due date can often give you an extra 4-7 weeks to pay). The best way to use the credit card is to make big purchases right after the bill date on your card. That is, if your credit card bills you on the 5th of the month, then you should make a purchase on say August 6th. This purchase won't appear on a statement until September 5, and most cards give you 21 days to pay, so you don't have to pay it until September 26th. Some cards even let you set the due date, so if you get this card in advance, you can choose a convenient due date (i.e. one just before you have to make a big moving expense). Also, many cards have promotional offers for new clients where there is 0% interest for some number of months. This could be great for covering moving expenses and then you have several months to pay them off. 

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10 hours ago, Solaf said:

Hi everyone ! I have a question about stipends for grad school. I recently got accepted (unofficial offer) to UC Davis, and I was told that my stipend will come from TA or the 

I'm a science graduate student at UC Davis... I have some insight.. though it might work differently in your department

THe colleges of sciences at UC Davis has an outline for how each of their departments pay their graduate students. You can expect your monthly stipend, depending on your experience level to be between 1600-2000 a month after taxes. A little more after you pass quals/orals. If you have preliminary exams you tend to start at step 1 or 2 of TA or GSR (graduate student researcher). thats on the lower part of the pay scale (1600 dollars). IF you have previous TA experience (like a masters), you start at step 4 or 5, depending on your department, which is around the higher end of the scale.  Most Grad student stipends here, for 9 months, are around 19k pretaxes. 

At UC Davis, if you start in the fall quarter, you will be first paid on/around November 1st as typically the quarter starts at the very end of sept or oct.  Most leases start in sept here at UC Davis, some in august. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

Generally (as mentioned) you won't get paid until a few weeks after you start- most letters should mention a specific start date. 

I'm sure Monochrome Spring has more detailed information on Davis (as provided above), but in my experience for Chemistry, RAships (from a PI) usually pay a bit better than TAships. The difference isn't usually the stipend level though, but rather the source. 

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