Financial Support for Graduate Students
Cost of study
Information about graduate tuition, fees, and other costs can be found at the UW-Madison Graduate School website. Actual, current tuition and fees can be found at the UW Registrar website, where you may click the quick-link for "Tuition and Fees", then in the drop-down select "Graduate" as the Student-Career. Future terms/semesters might not yet be posted, and if not you will have to select the closest available semester for your desired term-of-admission, and then estimate future tuition. The state legislature froze undergraduate tuition for 2014-15, and that may continue for several years, depending on legislative passage. Even if continued, however, the freeze might not pertain to graduate tuition. For estimating purposes only, before the freeze, tuition increases had been about 4% per year.
The Kinesiology department tries to financially support as many graduate students as it can. Financial support can take 3 main forms:
- Departmental Assistantships (Teaching Assistants/Project Assistants)
- Grant-supported Research Assistantships (or Project Assistants)
- Departmental or University Scholarships and Fellowships.
Students will often receive support from a mix of these 3 mechanisms at various stages throughout their graduate career. Financial support is largely a matter for decision by faculty, especially the prospective faculty advisor, initially as a part of reviewing an admission application. Applicants are welcome and encouraged to contact professors, probably by e-mail at first, to discuss compatibility with research programs or funding opportunities that faculty may envision, if any. The professor(s) in your area(s) of research specialization might be willing to predict your likely funding if admitted to that research track.
Please be mindful of the difficulty of most financial predictions, and a prediction of student funding involves assessing what mixture of institutional support, grants, or personal funds would be needed by and available to an individual applicant over a period of several years. Institutional support is affected by many factors, including the Wisconsin state budget and professors' success with locating new grants or extending existing ones. There is no certainty that any institutional funding support will be available for a graduate student, although prospective faculty advisors traditionally try to provide reasonably reliable (continuous) financial support for as much of their research students' graduate careers as feasible. All the circumstances must be reviewed individually for each applicant. Institutional support is considered, of course, only for individuals who qualify to be admitted to a rigorous academic program, so the applicant's initial aim must always be to complete and timely submit the best possible admission application package.
Departmental Teaching, Project, or Research Assistantships. TAs, PAs, and RAs are considered employees (usually less than full-time), and they are paid for their services, although generally they work in areas associated with their studies, so their paid work also promotes their studies.
The number of assistantships varies with available funding ("full-time equivalents") and the way funds are allocated to individual positions ("percentage of appointment"). A prospective advisor (major professor) assesses an applicant's compatibility with that professor's research, the courses in that professor's specialization (and corresponding TAs needed), the institutional funding available for research, the grants or other extra-institutional funding sources to support program or research assistants, and any available non-research assistantship positions.
Assistantships not directly related to Kinesiology specialization research might include, as examples only: the UW Dept. of Neuroscience, http://neuro.wisc.edu/courses.asp, where multiple large lecture sections for healthcare "pipeline" courses, e.g. Basic Human Physiology, may require teaching assistants for dozens or even hundreds of Lab or Discussion sections associated with the lectures; some courses taught by Kinesiology instructional academic staff may also involve TA's or graders with experience, interest, or training in the particular activity. Graduate faculty advisors will generally try to remain aware of and facilitate participation in these and similar opportunities as appropriate.
Grant-Supported Research Assistantships. Individual faculty often have extramural support for their research programs. Specific funding for project assistants (PAs) and research assistants (RAs) varies by grant terms and funding levels. Students are encouraged to speak directly to their prospective advisors regarding available grant funding.
Institutional Scholarships or Fellowships. The Department of Kinesiology allocates several scholarships and fellowships in support of graduate students. Information on selected awards can be found at the UW-Madison's main scholarships information page.
In addition, University-wide scholarships and fellowships may be available for which Kinesiology graduate students are eligible to apply. Information about many of these can be found at the UW Grad School's funding resources webpage
Application is online, also via the UW-Madison's main scholarships information page. Please NOTE that application is not possible continuously (year-round) because scholarship applications run in "cycles" and have opening and closing dates. Kinesiology, and probably other organizations with funds to allocate, will make a practice of expressly notifying eligible applicants when a specific application cycle begins.
Applications for many competitive awards are due in the first quarter of the calendar year (Jan/ Feb/ March) but that is what Scholarships@UW-Madison should help you ascertain.
Graduate students who have been accepted into a program are eligible to compete for scholarship/fellowship awards for their first year of graduate study (as well as for subsequent years). Some fellowships are university-wide, and others are department-specific (see links above). Some awards, particularly fellowships with tuition remission, aim at fully supporting the recipient (for the award duration, usually one year). In general, there are more applicants than awards.
Would you like more detail on how to apply for competitive awards? Then view the Kinesiology web page on Information for Current Students.