# Confused about tuition and stipends for science Masters/PhD programs

• Programs
So from looking at a lot of universities' graduate programs for science Masters and PhD's (physics, engineering, materials science, chemistry, molecular biology, etc), a lot seem to offer pretty good stipends (in the $20,000 -$30,000 range) if you enter a research-based program and do research for the school.

The thing is, is there still tuition?

It might be a dumb question, but it would just seem odd to me if they gave you a lot of money but it costs you just as much to attend; it would just cancel out.

## Answers and Replies

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tuition is waived.
It depends on the university. For some public universities, you pay tuition, but you are counted as a resident, so the tuition isn't that bad. The other big thing that the university often does is provide housing at extremely subsidized rates.

It might be a dumb question, but it would just seem odd to me if they gave you a lot of money but it costs you just as much to attend; it would just cancel out.
For science Ph.D.'s it works out so that you can eek out a decent existence.

The other thing, it used to seem weird to me to have people pay you money to take some of it back, but it turns out that there are some extremely complicated formulas that work out "who gets what" and a lot of this is to make things "fit the formula." I think it's quite educational to look at the stream of numbers and see who gets what.

Andy Resnick
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
So from looking at a lot of universities' graduate programs for science Masters and PhD's (physics, engineering, materials science, chemistry, molecular biology, etc), a lot seem to offer pretty good stipends (in the $20,000 -$30,000 range) if you enter a research-based program and do research for the school.

The thing is, is there still tuition?

It might be a dumb question, but it would just seem odd to me if they gave you a lot of money but it costs you just as much to attend; it would just cancel out.
Different institutions have different details, but in general a graduate student can (aside from outside employment) get paid for being a teaching assistant or a research assistant. You do not do research 'for the school'- you do research for a the PI who is paying you.

Teaching assistants are paid through the Department, and in addition to a possible tuition waiver, there is a stipend. Research assistants are paid through the PI and can cover tuition and stipend. MS students get paid less than PhD students- the numbers you put up are probably for PhD students.

Who pays the tuition, in the case of a waiver, is where things can get interesting- there are a lot of people who get the tuition money- Department, Dean, Provost, and the details depend on what those offices agree on. Here, TA tuition would be paid through the Department, and our TAs have to pay tuition, AFAIK. RA tuition is covered by the Graduate college when I pay a stipend, so my RAs that I pay a stipend for also have their tuition covered. I also have RAs that are paid hourly (undergrads, for example), and their tuition is not waived.