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Copepods (Tigriopus californicus) (Chris Willett lab) photo credit: Ryuji Machida

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Financial Support


As a student in the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology program at UNC, you will be provided a competitive stipend, and are guaranteed support throughout your graduate career at as long as you remain in good academic standing. Several sources of stipend support are available. Of these, fellowships are often the most desirable, because they typically carry no service requirements. There are two main kinds of fellowships for beginning students. First, are those offered by the UNC graduate school (for information, see Second, are those offered by external funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program ( For a complete list of funding sources for new students, visit the UNC Graduate School website, at: The Graduate Funding Information Center ( is a resource that assists current and prospective graduate students in finding appropriate funding sources. Through some of the funding databases, you can set up alerts to notify you when new opportunities are available based on information you provide.

A limited number of fellowships are also available to support continuing students. These fellowships are described in greater detail below.

Most EEOB students are supported by teaching assistantships (TAs) or research assistantships (RAs), however. These assistantships are described in greater detail below.

II. Specific Funding Opportunities

A. Teaching Assistantships (TAs)

TAs help teach undergraduate courses and lead recitations and laboratories. A TA in Biology currently pays $9,750 per semester for a 9-month stipend of $19,500 (plus health insurance, tuition remission, and the tuition credit; students are responsible only for their fees).

There are required orientation/training sessions sponsored by the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) for all new TAs. TAs must also attend a one-hour OSHA session offered by the Biology Department. TAs are evaluated by the course instructor(s) and students enrolled in the course. TAs are expected to receive satisfactory evaluations.

B. Research Assistantships (RAs)

If funding permits, your advisor may be able to support you on an RA off of their grant. Duties and stipend amounts vary, but it is generally expected that RAs will work 15-18 hours per week and be paid at a level comparable to a TA. In addition, some students may receive supplemental summer stipends at the discretion of their mentor and subject to the availability of appropriate research funding. Consult your advisor for details.

C. Graduate School Fellowships

The UNC Graduate School holds an annual competition for a limited number of fellowships aimed at supporting advanced students (i.e., those who have been admitted to candidacy). Most are merit-based. For example, the Graduate School conducts competitions for one-semester Off-Campus Research Dissertation Fellowships and one-year Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowships.

For a complete listing of fellowships offered by the UNC Gradate School, visit their website at:

D. Supplies and Travel Support

As the departmental budget permits, several awards are offered annually through the Biology Department to help graduate students with research expenses (generally a few hundred dollars per year). The competition for these awards is normally announced in April.

In addition, the UNC Graduate School awards transportation grants. These grants cover travel expenses only and are available for doctoral and masters students presenting research papers at international, national, regional academic conferences or meetings of professional societies. Students may receive this grant only once. Applications are considered throughout the year and must be submitted prior to travel. For more information, visit:


Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants are paid monthly for the academic year, usually beginning at the end of August and continuing through mid-May.

Your fees can be deducted from your paycheck each semester by submitting to the Manager of Graduate Student Services a Graduate Student Payroll Deduction Authorization Form. Students on University payroll are also required to have their paychecks automatically deposited to their bank account by submitting to the Manager of Graduate Student Services a completed Direct Payroll Deposit Authorization form.

For first-year students with out-of-state residency, we recommend to the Graduate School that tuition be remitted to the in-state rate while they are employed as Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants. In-state tuition awards are available to Teaching and Research Assistants meeting the Graduate School criteria.

Student health insurance is provided each semester with qualifying salary and course registration. Contact the Manager of Graduate Student Services to complete the required form and with additional questions regarding the payroll and benefits process.