All MCBB Ph.D. students who are in good standing in the MCBB Program are eligible for financial aid. Students admitted to the program with financial aid normally can expect continuing support for five years, provided that satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree is made (progress is evaluated by the student’s faculty committee and is based on an Annual Report – see page 8). This aid includes Teaching Fellowships provided by the participating departments, Research Assistantships provided by the participating MCBB faculty, Traineeships provided through individual Training grants, and fellowships from outside agencies awarded to students on an individual basis. The MCBB committee (see section on Administration, page 1), in consultation with the participating departments, faculty, and training programs, is responsible for allocation of this financial aid. Master’s students normally are not considered for financial aid (except for the Federal work-study program).
Ph.D. graduate students who are admitted to the MCBB Program at Boston University are typically supported the first year by Teaching Fellowships during the academic year and research grant support during the summer. The MCBB faculty consider teaching to be an important part of a student’s training for the Ph.D. degree, and all Ph.D. students are required to have a teaching experience before the degree is conferred (also see page 9). Generally, Ph.D. students who satisfactorily complete their course work, pass the qualifying examination, and become associated with a major advisor in MCBB, receive Research Assistantships from their second or third year onward. The details of each award are given below:
Dean’s Fellowships (DFs) and Presidential University Graduate Fellowships(PUGFs): There are a limited number of these fellowships available to first-year students, which are honorary and do not require immediate teaching. These awards provide a stipend plus full tuition and fees.
Teaching Fellowships (TF): This provides a stipend plus full tuition and fees for up to two courses per semester. Teaching responsibilities require approximately 20-25 hours per week. Full or partial awards may be given. Additional summer stipend support is guaranteed to all students receiving a TF in the first year provided that the student is in good standing.
Research Assistantships (RA): These awards are given to students who assist individual faculty with specific areas of research and are funded by faculty research grants. There are a substantial number of graduate student research positions in the MCBB Program, which are funded through faculty research grants. These Research Assistantships generally provide full tuition and a stipend. The supervising faculty member determines the specific duties of the Research Assistant. Consult your faculty advisor.
Training Grants: Opportunities for support through this avenue exist. Consult your faculty advisor.
Work Study Aid: All eligible graduate students may apply for summer and academic year awards. Applications may be obtained from the Graduate School. Students receiving work-study aid are expected to provide service to the Department (teaching) or in the laboratory of their Major professor (research). Masters candidates are eligible for these awards.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowships: First-year graduate students are urged to apply for these prestigious three-year fellowships. NSF Fellowship applications are due in November of each year For applications and instructions go to: www.hr.nsf.gov/dge/programs/grf/.
Biology Department Graduate Travel Grants: Travel Grants from the Biology Department are available to assist students in their travel to professional scientific meetings. Only students presenting papers or posters are eligible to receive consideration. Students must have passed their Ph.D. Qualifying exam to be eligible for travel funds. Further questions may be directed to the Biology Department Graduate Committee.
Chemistry Department Sugata Ray Award : Cash prize given each spring to assist an international student. Students are nominated by their advisor and the Chemistry Department Graduate Affairs Committee chooses the winner.
Outside sources: Students can also look into grants at a federal level through the website Grants.gov by doing a search for student level or graduate-level grants. The Community of Science (COS) also offers grant opportunities at the federal level. These grants would be independant of Boston University and would be subject to specific requirements by the federal government.
Students should refer to the AMS Sourcebook, available from the MCBB Academic Administrator (BRB 101), or see their faculty advisor for other potential sources of financial support. Please consult with the Director of MCBB prior to accessing other sources of financial aid so you can avoid pitfalls common with various sources.