Many different types of financial aid are available to graduate applicants in the Department of Computer & Information Sciences at the University of Delaware.
Admission to the graduate program does not automatically entitle an applicant to financial aid. Aid is awarded on a competitive basis from the pool of admitted applicants. Generally speaking, most of the financial aid awards are made to PhD students and occasionally to strong MS students.
The University of Delaware's policies apply to all forms of financial aid. Please refer to the University Policies for Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships.
Types of Financial Aid
Below are the different types of financial aid available to CIS graduate students:
- University fellowships are awarded on the basis of nominations by the graduate departments to students with regular, full-time status and high academic standing. Fellowships usually provide full tuition and a stipend.
- Research assistantships (RA) are generally funded by research grants and contracts provided by external funding agencies. The amount of service or research may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be 20 hours per week. Research assistants are expected to work on their assigned research projects during winter session and may be required to work during summer as well. A research assistantship provides full tuition and a stipend.
- Teaching assistants (TA) are required to perform teaching and other instructional activities. As with any professional appointment, the amount of service may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be 20 hours per week. A teaching assistantship provides full tuition and a stipend.
- Tuition scholarships provide tuition but do not pay a stipend. They are awarded according to the same rules that govern all graduate student assistantships. There is no work requirement for a tuition scholarship.
- Graduate assistantships are awarded by academic departments and other University offices to students in exchange for work. Graduate assistants are employed up to twenty hours a week in a variety of capacities as administrative assistants to University faculty and administrators. These tasks may or may not be related to the student's program of study. The amount of service may vary from week to week but the average is usually expected to be no more than 20 hours per week. Compensation also may vary, ranging from an hourly wage with no tuition covered to a full semester stipend with tuition.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
Teaching assistantships and tuition scholarships are awarded by the CIS Department. All applications for the CIS graduate program that are received by the financial aid deadline are automatically considered for these positions. No separate application is necessary. However, aid is very competitive and not all admitted students can expect to receive funding.
Research assistantships are generally decided by individual faculty who have grants and contracts to support research assistants participating in their research projects. During the admissions process, we routinely show the applications of our topmost applicants to faculty in the appropriate research areas to be considered for possible RA positions. Other students interested in an RA position should contact the individual faculty members directly. It is best if you contact at most one or two faculty whose research interests match your interests closely; blindly sending emails to a larger group is considered spam and will be counter-productive.
University fellowships are very few and only a limited number may be available to the department in any given semester. The process of application is the same as for teaching assistantships (see above). However, most fellowships are awarded to current students, and it is rare for a newly admitted student to be offered a fellowship.
As a general rule, most financial aid in the CIS Department is offered to PhD applicants only. In special cases, outstanding applicants to the MS program may be considered for aid.
Graduate assistantships in other departments may also be available, but these awards are not determined by the CIS Department. Most commonly, students apply for such positions after they arrive on campus. There is of course no guarantee that any such positions will be available in any given semester.
DeadlinesDeadlines for applications to the CIS Graduate program are located on the Office of Graduate and Professional Education website. Please visit: http://grad.udel.edu/apply/application-deadlines/.
Applications must be complete by these deadlines to be considered. This means all materials including transcripts, recommendation letters, GRE and TOEFL scores (if applicable), resume, and responses to essay questions must have been received by these deadlines. If any part of an application is missing, evaluation of the application cannot begin.
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis as and when applications are complete. Decisions on financial aid awards are usually made in March-May for the Fall Semester, and in November-December for the Spring Semester.
Continuation of Financial Aid
Students who are awarded financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress with satisfactory performance of assistantship duties (when applicable). Satisfactory academic progress includes maintaining full-time status each Fall and Spring semester, and maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students on assistantships are encouraged to take 9 credits (3 courses) each semester.
To maintain satisfactory academic progress beyond the first year, those students entering with a bachelor's degree are expected to take and pass the PhD Preliminary Examination after no more than three semesters of study. Students entering with an MS degree in Computer Science (or a related area) are expected to take and pass the PhD Preliminary Examination after one semester of study.
Students who enter the program with a bachelor's degree and who are awarded financial aid are normally supported up to two years for the MS degree, or up to five years for the PhD degree. Students entering with a master's degree and who are awarded financial aid are normally supported up to three years. Students who receive financial aid midway in their studies should speak to the CIS Graduate Program Committee Chair regarding their expected length of support.