We believe that the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh offers its graduate students an excellent financial support package. The package enables graduate students in good standing to concentrate on their education, not on financial burdens. Our comprehensive package supports students throughout their graduate careers. For extensive information in regards to external funding, Fellowships and Funding: A-Z is a great resource for prospective students.
Financial support beyond the first year is normally provided in the form of a tuition scholarship plus a graduate research assistantship (GSR), a teaching assistantship (TA), a teaching fellowship (TF), or a fellowship. TA support for the second year is commonly available for students in good standing who request it. TF support is provided to students with a MS or equivalent and excellent teaching evaluations. These students are often given the opportunity to teach a course independently, if the opportunity is available. It is not uncommon for a student to join a research group on an interim basis and become a GSR for some of the summer preceeding their first term of enrollment, as well as the summer of their first academic year.
The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences also offers Travel Grants.
Features of our package include the following
A Competitive Stipend
For the Fall of 2017 the normal level of salary support for Teaching Assistants and Graduate Student Research Assistants is $27,675/year (3 terms). Given Pittsburgh's low cost of living, this is a very comfortable income. First-year students in good academic standing after their first two terms are guaranteed summer support (in the form of a GSR, TA, or Fellowship) while on campus or at a related research facility.
You are covered! The University of Pittsburgh provides excellent health insurance options, providing every student, with an eligible academic appointment, complete medical coverage free of charge; supplementary dental and vision plans are also available. Rather than being limited to physicians at a student health service, every student is free to choose her/his own primary care physician. Moreover, spouses and children can be included in our medical plans at very reasonable costs.
Graduate tuition can be expensive. A Graduate student supported as a TA, TF, GSR or receiving a Fellowship in our program receives a merit scholarship for tuition and fees for each term that he/she is supported. Depending upon your course load and residency status, this merit scholarship, can amount to as much as $36,980 plus $850 fees, for two terms.
With much thought to the future, the University of Pittsburgh has arranged for free transportation throughout Allegheny county (730 square miles) via the PAT bus system for enrolled students. Any bus - any time, anywhere - is free, including those to downtown or the airport. This benefit saves students the cost of monthly bus passes or parking permits. The University also has an extensive shuttle system, accessible with a valid ID. A bike-share program has arrived on campus!
There are various fellowship opportunities that provide financial compensation. They provide excellent additions to build a glowing résumé.
How far does my stipend dollar go?
Graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy generally pay between $400 and $600 per month to rent apartments located within walking distance of the Department. Check Off Campus Living website and Panther Central website.
Recall that travel on buses within Allegheny County is free. If you need to drive your own car, parking in the Oakland area is relatively inexpensive for urban areas. Information about a monthly parking pass may be found at the Parking and Transportation website.
Cost of Living and Student Life
Cost of Living includes food, entertainment, etc. Pittsburgh is consistently rated one of America's most livable cities due, in part, to its very low cost of living.
The collective details of our financial support package, including tuition and health insurance, relieve our graduate students from financial worries during their education and training.