Financial support for graduate education can be obtained from various places. There are national competitions for fellowships that U.S. students can apply to, and a search on the web can provide information. Within OSU, there are a variety of mechanisms to obtain funding for graduate education. These can be divided into fellowships (both university and industrial), graduate research associateships (GRAs), and graduate teaching associateships (GTAs). All positions pay a monthly stipend, provide a tuition waiver, and subsidize health insurance. The duties associated with each position and the processes in which the students are selected for the support are very different.
The University fellowship program is administered by the Ohio State Graduate School. Each year (before approximately February 7), the department submits a list of prospective students to this competition. These students must have already been recommended for admission to our department and must have indicated that their final goal is to obtain a PhD degree at OSU on their application by checking the box labeled “masters/doctorate” for those with a BS degree or by checking “doctorate only” for those who already have or will obtain the MS degree before entering OSU. In addition to satisfying the above requirement, the applicant should be ranked in the top 10% of their class and score well on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). To be even considered for the fellowship, students taking the GRE test must achieve a 75th percentile average on the general exam’s Verbal and Quantitative components and a 4.0 on the Analytical Writing component. A committee in the graduate school evaluates the prospective graduate students in a university-wide competition, and awards are announced by approximately March 15. Extraordinary evidence of accomplishments especially in research can significantly boost your chances of getting a fellowship.
There are a number of University fellowships. The most numerous provides one year of support. For those candidates who are truly outstanding, there are two and three year University fellowships available. Those students who are making good progress toward a PhD are usually supported continuously (in the form of a GRA or GTA after the fellowship) until they finish
There are number of fellowships that are provided by industry. These awards are usually tied to a specific laboratory or faculty member, and they are usually limited to students who which to perform research within a specific area in ECE. They are given with the recommendation of the department and concurrence of the companies involved. Most of these fellowships are intended for students who plan to eventually obtain a PhD. A student cannot apply directly for these fellowships. They are evaluated based on their application material and their stated areas of interest.
Graduate Teaching Associateships (GTAs)
GTA positions are awarded by the department based on the student's academic record and research progress, teaching interest and past performance, and departmental needs. Priority is given to continuing students and most positions are allocated to PhD students or those who have set as their final goal as a PhD degree. In addition to pursuing a graduate degree, a GTA is responsible for 20 hours per week of teaching duties, which could include conducting lab or recitation sessions, grading homework and quizzes, and otherwise assisting the professor with the class.
GTA appointments are typically awarded on a quarter by quarter basis. The appointments usually occur during the three quarters (Autumn, Winter, Spring) of the academic year with summer appointments available to a lesser extent. However, it is hoped that the student will be successful in obtaining a GRA so that GTA support will not normally be necessary.
Interested applicants should contact Prof. Betty Lise Anderson, Associate Chair. Note that students for whom English is not a native language are required to pass a spoken English test before they can be GTAs with student contact. This qualification can be met by obtaining a score of 28, 29, or 30 on the iBT TOEFL speaking component, administered by ETS, or passing a SPEAK test that is given locally at OSU for $75, or completing EDUTL 505 and passing the Mock Teaching Test. For further information on English testing, please visit http://esl.ehe.osu.edu/programs/spoken-english-program/testing/
In addition to obtaining a GTA in ECE, many of our students have obtained GTA positions in other departments once they enroll for graduate school at Ohio State. In the past, students have obtained positions in the College of Engineering (as GTAs for the freshman honors program), Department of Mathematics, Department of Chemistry, Department of Near Eastern Studies (if one speaks Arabic), etc.
Graduate Research Associateships (GRAs)
The majority of the supported graduate students in the department are funded through graduate research associateships (GRA). GRAs are responsible for performing research tasks on a particular budgeted contract secured by an individual faculty member, research staff member, or laboratory group. The appointment is for halftime (20 hours/week) and the research usually leads to the satisfaction of thesis or dissertation requirements. Since the stipend is paid by individual research contracts, a student who seeks a GRA appointment must contact individual faculty members or research groups in the area of interest and see if needs and funds exist to provide support. It should be noted that mass mailings to faculty members do not usually work well since each faculty member has very specific needs and are seeking students who have a strong background in the area or areas that they are interested in. One should also recognize that the amount of funding in different areas within the department can be very uneven and in fact the distribution among the areas can change very rapidly in a short time. We recommend that the prospective student thoroughly investigate the faculty members’ research records and determine which ones best fit the student’s interest. Contact with faculty members should only be made once the student has gone through such a process.