Asking my prospective PhD supervisor about funding status

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  • Thread starter Am_Am
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  • #1
Am_Am
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Hello,

A professor has accepted me in his group as a Ph.D. student based on an admission interview. At the end of the interview, he discussed with me how he would fund my Ph.D. He said that he has enough funding to provide me with a salary through 3 or 4 years of my Ph.D. program. He said also that I should apply formally to the university to get a tuitional scholarship. I thought at first that the university would offer me a tuition waiver and my supervisor will provide me with a salary to spend on my living expenses. I realized now that all the scholarships offered by the university come along with an annual stipend to spend on my living expenses. So, I'm confused now. Is the funding that I will receive from my supervisor would be independent of the stipend that I get from the scholarship or are they meant to be the same?

I want to inquire my supervisor about this, but I'm not sure if it is appropriate to ask him about funding status. Is it ok to ask my supervisor about this?

Thanks.
 

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  • #2
Choppy
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Yes, it's fine to ask your supervisor questions about how funding works and in fact you should bring up any questions you have. There's no reason you should be in the dark on the details of how the department or your supervisor supports you financially.

Models of financial support will vary from school to school. In my (Canadian) experience, when a program accepts a student, the student is guaranteed a certain level of funding which comes through a combination of a stipend and teaching assistanceships. Often professors will have independent sources of funding (grants) and they can use those to "buy out" the TA portion of the financial support, giving the student a research assistanceship, rather than a TA. The student then doesn't have to TA (unless they want to--sometimes it's a valuable experience). Alternatively the students can receive independent funding through scholarships. These students often get a little more money than those supported by the department, but it works in a similar fashion, essentially replacing the mandatory TA.
 
  • #3
Am_Am
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Yes, it's fine to ask your supervisor questions about how funding works and in fact you should bring up any questions you have. There's no reason you should be in the dark on the details of how the department or your supervisor supports you financially.

Models of financial support will vary from school to school. In my (Canadian) experience, when a program accepts a student, the student is guaranteed a certain level of funding which comes through a combination of a stipend and teaching assistanceships. Often professors will have independent sources of funding (grants) and they can use those to "buy out" the TA portion of the financial support, giving the student a research assistanceship, rather than a TA. The student then doesn't have to TA (unless they want to--sometimes it's a valuable experience). Alternatively the students can receive independent funding through scholarships. These students often get a little more money than those supported by the department, but it works in a similar fashion, essentially replacing the mandatory TA.
Thanks for the valuable comment. Ok. I will ask my supervisor for more details about how my PhD would be funded.
 
  • #4
hutchphd
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What @Choppy said comports with my experience at US Universities. For the first year or two more funding comes from the university and less (or none) from the prof. Often there is an expectation of TA with the university money. (Indeed some programs require teaching as degree requirement...I very much think it is useful to teach ). This also allows you some freedom to change your advisor should that become wise ! Also the TA usually is slightly more lucrative than just a fellowship and gets you into the campus mix.
After you pass qualifiers the money source usually shifts more to the prof. If the funds are external be aware that these are often awarded in two-year chunks so his/her guaranteed money horizon may in fact be quite short. (<2yr)
 

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