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Funding Your Graduate Education

The Graduate School offers estimates of annual cost for attendance for New York State residents and non-resident (including international) students for Master’s and PhD students. A full time load is considered 12.0 credits per semester (4 courses). In Fall 2018, for example, tuition for a full time New York State resident is $5,545.00, plus $1307.50 in fees for the semester.

Many UB students self-finance their graduate education, using their own resources and financial aid. Although the Department wishes it had more resources to help all students reach their educational goals, the fact is that we are in a resource-constrained environment. Still, there are a range of opportunities for motivated students in the Department and around campus to help fund your graduate education.

Funding in the Sociology Department

Funding opportunities in the Department of Sociology are limited, and take four primary forms:

  1. Teaching assistantships
  2. Research assistantships
  3. Scholarships
  4. Adjunct teaching (including on UB’s Singapore campus)


Teaching Assistantships

The Department of Sociology offers a limited number of Teaching Assistantships (TAships) to incoming students. Teaching assistants work with faculty in teaching one or more courses. Duties vary somewhat, but frequently involve working with and tutoring students, leading recitations sections, grading, and sometimes delivering lectures. TAs who already have a Master’s degree may be invited to teach their own courses. TAs work about twenty hours a week and receive a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a stipend for the nine-month academic year. Students are responsible for university fees. The value of the TAship is the entire financial package that includes all of those resources—stipends and benefits together—in return for an expectation of 20 hours of work during the specified period. Students are expected to be available, in residence, during the entire 9 month period that is covered by the stipend.

PhD students, and MA students who intend to continue on to the PhD, will be considered for a TAship if their applications and GRE scores are submitted by January 15. International students are eligible for TAships if they meet minimum standards for English Proficiency (see below). Please note, however, that funding is decided on a year by year basis and is not automatic. The Department has many more applicants than funded positions. The Department typically funds only 1 or 2 incoming students per year. Terminal MA students are not eligible for TAships.

Applicants who are offered TAships might also be eligible for Presidential or Dean’s fellowships in the College of Arts and Sciences. These are based on GRE scores (315 combined or higher plus 4.0 or higher on analytic writing) and GPA (3.4 or higher).  Applicants who meet the cutoffs are automatically nominated for these fellowships by the Department. These fellowships increase the amount of stipend money associated with TAships. We currently have 5 Presidential and 2 Dean’s fellows in the Department.

All international students who have been awarded assistantships must meet the University’s English language proficiency requirement (79 on the TOEFL), and must take the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) test with a score of 55 or higher upon arrival on campus. Registration for classes is only possible after passing the SPEAK test.

Research Assistantships

Faculty research projects supported by external funding (or internal grants) sometimes employ graduate student assistants to perform essential research functions. The number of these awards varies greatly from one year to the next, and RA positions may also be available with faculty members in other UB departments, usually in the social sciences. Since faculty typically prefer to work with students whose skill sets and work habits are familiar to them, research assistantships are not often awarded to first year students. The fact is, most faculty prefer to have research assistants who show high levels of interest as well as competence in their sociology coursework, and they often ask for recommendations from other faculty as well. Some RAships carry tuition waivers and stipends, others come with hourly pay. There is no one standard RAship, they vary according to funding source, faculty member, and research needs. Hear from students themselves on how they got their positions!

Department Scholarships

The Department has several $3,500 one-time scholarships available only for UB undergraduates who are accepted into the Master’s program who meet GPA standards for the award. The Department will consider a student with as low as a 2.8 overall GPA, but only if the student also has at least a 3.1 GPA in Sociology. Applications to the Master’s program must be submitted by January 15 to be considered.

The Department also makes a small number of $7,500 one-time scholarships for UB-SIM graduates who are accepted into our Master’s or PhD program. Applications must be submitted by January 15 to be considered.

Adjunct Teaching (including UB’s Singapore campus)

For students who have earned an MA in Sociology, the Department may have adjunct teaching opportunities, during regular semesters (on North Campus and occasionally in Singapore) and summer/winter semesters, usually on north campus). Summer teaching opportunities are announced in the fall each year, along with an application process for consideration for an adjunct appointment. If an eligible student is interested in teaching for the Department during the academic year, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

What is it like to teach in Singapore, and how do you potentially get the opportunity to teach as an adjunct instructor there? The first hurdle is to become an advanced PhD student with superior classroom skills. See what three of our current students have to say about the experience!


Funding Outside the Department of Sociology at UB

Sociology graduate students have been successful finding graduate assistantships and other paid positions outside of UB Sociology.

How do you get these positions? Whenever the Department learns of a position, the information is submitted to the graduate student listserv. Students should also look for opportunities through Bullseye, the job search website maintained by Career Services, as they frequently post on-campus and off-campus positions.

Here is a sample of some of the positions current students have found outside the Department:

Graduate Assistant, International Student Services
Graduate Assistant, Study Abroad Office
Graduate Assistant, Office of Inclusive Excellence
Graduate Assistant, Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy
Graduate Assistant, Center for Excellence in Writing
Graduate Assistant, Graduate Statistics Lab
Graduate Assistant, Center for Educational Innovation
Teaching Assistant, Interdisciplinary Degree Programs

See how these students got these positions! Successful students rarely wait for opportunities to present themselves – they work hard to seek out such opportunities, and they also make sure to market themselves appropriately for units that are hiring.

In addition, Sociology graduate students have found teaching positions outside the Department, and adjunct positions may also be available at other area institutions of higher education. Students from the Department of Sociology have found adjunct teaching positions at a number of other local colleges and universities, including Daemon College, Buffalo State College, Erie Community College, Hilbert College, Villa Maria College, Medaille College, SUNY-Geneseo, and others. Hear from these students about how they got these positions and how they have benefited from them.

Sociology graduate students may also have the opportunity to participate in the new Social Innovation Fellowship summer program. This is a new program in which, after taking a week-long course in the business school on social innovation, a Sociology graduate student works on a team with an MBA student and an MSW student at a mission-driven community organization, where they collaborate to address pressing social issues to make an impact. The Department’s first Social Innovation Fellow writes about his experience here.