Cost of getting PhD

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  • Thread starter chez_butt23
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  • #1
I am a senior in high school right now, but am starting college at UC Davis next year majoring in Evolutionary Biology and Minoring in Chinese. My whole life's dream has been to go to become a paleontologist, but I am a bit confused on how graduate school works. How much will it cost to earn a PhD in paleontology? Will working as a TA or lab assistant to my professors in grad school take a chunk of money off or even make it free?

On another note, what lower division classes should I start with next year? I am taking Basic Chinese, but can I take Calculus 1 and Inorganic chem at the same time AND get good grades in all of the above?

Thank you.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
eri
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If you get an offer to be a TA or RA, your tuition will be paid by your department and you'll receive a small salary (16k - 25k is average in physics) in addition to that, so if you live cheaply you won't have to take out loans. However, having no experience with paleontology, I can't tell you if that stipend is average for that field or how likely you are to get one. It's expected in most science fields to be offered one; in physics at least, not being offered a stipend is seen as a 'polite rejection'.
 
  • #3
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Paleo is great. I am sure that Chem would be a great asset to you for many sub-fields of paleontology or archeology. If you are worried about course load in your first term, you could space them out a bit. How good your grades will be depends as much on you and how demanding the school is. Most places have a system where you can drop a course without penalty (grades or money) within a certain time period. That lets you try a couple weeks of a course and make a decision then.

Make sure you research the policies at your own school, though.

As far as PhD costs, you should look at different University websites and see if they mention TA/RA arrangements. People here probably won't be that familiar with the field. I know there is some TA work for PhD students in Biological Anthropology at our school, but I have no idea how common it is.
 
  • #4
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As mentioned above, if you can drop courses in the first couple of days without any penalty, then by all means, sign up for what you think you can handle and be sure to look at the syllabi (sp?) for the courses to forecast your workload.
 
  • #5
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Don't forget about opportunity costs. A lot of people see this as a reason not to get a Ph.D. if they can get a large sum of money in the time they would've spent on it.
 
  • #6
ZapperZ
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A lot of graduate students in the sciences and engineering do not pay anything for their education. They receive some from of assistantships, and this is tyically a TA'ship, or once they find a research supervisor for their dessertation, a RA'ship. These assistantships typically will pay full tuition and fees, plus a small stipend.

Zz.
 

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