University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Financial Information

At Minnesota, almost all physics students receive financial assistance in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships or research assistantships. The majority of first-year students are teaching assistants. All students receiving financial aid also receive tuition waivers and health benefits. Students receiving financial support who are in good standing can anticipate continued aid throughout their graduate careers.

While teaching assistantships (TAs) are the most common form of support offered to new graduate students, most graduate students beyond the second year hold research assistantships (RAs). It is more common to award TAs rather than RAs to new students for two reasons: first, a TA position requires a smaller time commitment so there are fewer conflicts with the course load and examination requirements of beginning students, and second, skill in oral presentation is important for physicists. Most students can benefit from the experience provided by a TA position.

We also award graduate fellowships to high-achieving students. Either University or external funds support fellowships. Some fellowships are awarded through University-wide competitions. In some cases, fellowships permit concurrent assistantships. Many fellowships are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Health Care

Health care is an important benefit for physics graduate students. The University offers an employer-paid health insurance program for assistantship and fellowship holders. In most cases, half-time teaching and research assistants may enroll for health maintenance organization (HMO) coverage paid largely by the University. You will receive details on this program when you enroll. Meanwhile, for further information on health benefits, you should contact the Graduate Student Insurance Office at Boynton Health Service.

Graduate Prizes and Fellowships

A number of Physics Department and/or Graduate School Fellowships are available. These may be in addition to or instead of a Teaching Assistantship. If you are interested in obtaining fellowship support please apply no later than December 15. Nothing further is needed other than an early application following the normal procedures. We will nominate several of the early applicants based on the information provided in their application materials for these awards. Graduate School Fellowship candidates will need to submit a Graduate School application in January. Decisions are expected in late February or early March.

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