Funding

Graduate students in Geography receive financial assistance from a variety of sources. The majority of these involve a work commitment, most commonly as a Teaching Assistant (TA).  Many students find opportunities in other units at the University of Washington, and many succeed in securing funds from such outside agencies as the National Science Foundation.

The UW Graduate School provides an excellent online Funding calendar. This calendar lists various national funding sources (Ford Foundation, Fulbright, etc.), as well as local sources.

Several students each quarter work as TAs in Department courses.  The number of these positions varies from year to year and from quarter to quarter, but the range in recent years has been between 15 and 20 per quarter.  Many students also work as TAs in other units, including the Law, Societies and Justice Program (LSJ), Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP), the Jackson School of International Studies, the Program on the Environment, Women Studies, and Comparative History of Ideas (CHID).

Some students each year are invited to work with Department faculty as a Research Assistant (RA).  In addition, our students have secured RA appointments in several UW programs, including the Center for the Study of Demography and Ecology (CSDE), the Simpson Center for the Humanities, Harborview Medical Center, the Evans School of Public Affairs, the Jackson School, the Center for Social Science Research and Computing (CSSCR), the School of Public Health, Departments of Health Services and Family Medicine, Civil Engineering, and the UW Office of Undergraduate Education.

Students and faculty also work to extend the funding opportunities beyond these state funded TA and faculty funded RA positions. Graduate students have been awarded university-wide fellowships, including University of Washington Graduate School Dissertation Fellowships, FLAS Fellowships, Top Scholar Awards, and Diversity Fellowships.

Local (UW) Funding Calendar

  • Graduate Opportunity Program Fellowships (if we get one, we’ll make the offer to an incoming student sometime in February)
  • Graduate School Top Scholar recruitment fellowship (we will make the offer to an incoming student in February)
  • Combined UW dissertation fellowships (departmental nomination deadline: March 30)
  • Chester Fritz/Boeing foreign study fellowships (application deadline Jan. 30)
  • Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships (application available online October 15 & due January 15)

Over a dozen of our students have been funded over the past ten years by the Department of Family Medicine, and two have received fellowships from the Department of Health Services in their prestigious Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Predoctoral Fellowship Program. Several other students have also been in the Department of Health Services’ selective Doctoral Opportunities Program. In addition, our students have earned prestigious national level awards such as NSF Graduate Fellowships, NSF Doctoral Dissertation Fieldwork Grants, Fulbright Awards, Social Science Research Council Awards, InterAmerican Foundation Grants and Luce Fellowships.

The Department of Geography distributes modest research support for graduate students twice each year from funds dedicated to the memory of Howard Martin, who was a long-time Professor and founding Chair (1935-50) in this Department.  Because of Prof. Martin’s tremendous dedication to graduate education and mentoring, these funds are used to support research by Geography graduate students that can be meaningfully advanced with fairly small amounts ($100 – $1500) of assistance.

We distribute these funds in both autumn and spring quarters.  Enrolled students can expect a call for proposals in the early part of fall and spring quarters from the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Tuition fees are waived for students with Teaching Assistantships, most Research Assistantships and other forms of on-campus employment, and many outside funding opportunities.

The Department limits the size of its graduate community to maximize the chances that all students making satisfactory progress are able to secure funding. That said, positions are allocated according to merit (academic achievement and quality of service) and the teaching requirements of the department. The department endeavors to provide teaching experience for as many well-qualified students as possible. Reappointment is contingent on maintaining high standards of performance and satisfactory progress toward a degree. However, a student should not expect to be supported for more than two years at the M.A. level and another two or three years at the Ph.D. level.

Teaching assistantships are usually allocated in May for the academic year beginning in Autumn Quarter. No additional applications for funding are necessary for applicants to the graduate program because all are automatically considered for funding.  Current students must write an annual statement of academic progress and indicate a desire for future funding.

In addition, the department attempts to help students find employment in both academic and non-academic settings through the formal means listed below. These augment informal contact with faculty members, which often proves to be the most effective way to obtain reliable, up-to-date information about present and future jobs

  • A notebook of current college teaching job descriptions, available in the departmental office, Smith 408
  • A list of alumni jobs and interested employers, available from the Geography Advising Office.
  • Updated internship and employment opportunity bulletin boards, on the fourth floor of Smith Hall and outside the advising office, Smith 415
  • Work-study positions, available by applying to the UW Office of Financial Aid by March 1 of the year prior to the one in which you wish to be employed. Such jobs commonly pay around $14 an hour.

“Banking” policy
The Department of Geography enables students who receive multi-year offers of funding support to postpone the issuance of some part of that award under certain circumstances.  The policy to determine when such a postponement, or “banking”, can occur is as follows:

Only students who earn fellowships, research grants or other external funding will be eligible to bank.  This would include opportunities such as those provided by NSF, SSRC, CSDE, and FLAS, as well as similar grants that support research.  It does not include paid employment in other units on campus or in the private sector.

Students will be able to bank a maximum of a single year of funding from Geography.

Students may postpone acceptance of some part of an offer of funding from Geography for no more than two years.  Further, they must be continuously engaged in their research work during the intervening period, absent a medical emergency or other unexpected change in their life circumstances.

In all instances, every effort will be made to enable a student to “cash in” the postponed offer during the time period requested by the student, but the Chair may not be able, due to other commitments, to honor the request at the precise time the student desires.