Information Regarding Assistantships for the M.S. Students
If you are seeking an assistanship to support your graduate studies in our Department, please read on. The following information may help you find such an assistantship.
Also check the Financial Information provided by the Graduate School. In addition, Graduate Student Organization publishes a number of useful documents, which can help you through your graduate studies.
Typically our department doesn't have these positions. Other departments do. If you are interested in one of such positions in those other departments, contact Student's Affairs.
These positions might be available from individual professors who have funds in their grants for specific projects. If you have the skills required for such a project and one of the professors has an opening that matches your skills, you might be hired.
At present we don't have a centralized place where professors would advertise such positions. The best way to find such a position is to visit individual faculty web pages under "People->Faculty Directory" and see what projects exist.
Do not spam! Sending generic messages to multiple professors is unethical, wasteful of time, and will greatly diminish your chances. Do not contact a professor unless you have looked at the professor's home page and believe that you have the required credentials.
Teaching assistantships are offered at admission time to most qualified Ph.D. students and sometimes to a small number of domestic students (i.e., U.S. citizens and permanent residents) with very high G.P.A. and other exceptional abilities. These offers are decided upon by the Graduate Admissions Committee, which consists of a number of faculty members in our department. In making these decisions the committee takes into acount all the information available to them at the time of admission. Budget fluctuations, undergraduate enrollment, the funding situation, and many other factors can drastically affect the number of such offers.
In addition, we sometimes offer temporary TAships on a semester-by-semester basis to other qualified M.S. students. Typically, this happens only after the M.S. student has successfully completed one semester in our M.S. program. The availability of such positions depends on many factors, such as the total number of TA positions that we get from the College of Engineering (which depends on the current enrollment), the number of students who received offers of assistantship with their admission and who weren't hired as RAs by their faculty advisors, the special needs of various courses, and other factors. Many of these parameters are not known until the second week of classes. Because of that, a waiting list of applicants is created and appointments are being made from this list late in the second week of each semester. Don't ask the Graduate Director what your chances are: These chances cannot be reasonably estimated. Such questions are not useful and only distract us from work. So, if you have other offers of support, do not gamble on getting a TA position.
If TA lines become available, here is a partial list of priorities that might be used in deciding who gets a line:
- If you have been a TA at Stony Brook and received an excellent evaluation from your professor -- your chances are higher. If you have been a TA and your professor was underwhelmed with your work -- you have no chance!
- You have a high GPA and one of the instructors (in our department) wants you as a TA for his or her course.
- Your GPA is high and you received a recommendation from one of our professors who is well-familiar with your work.
- You have been a TA somewhere else and have an excellent written recommendation from your professor. The language of instruction must be English.
- There is a need for a TA in course X, you have taken this course in our department and received an "A".
In all cases: the student must take a teaching workshop offered by CELT and be in good standing. (CELT offers these workshops in the week preceding the start of each semester.) In addition, students whose mother tongue is other than English must take either the SPEAK test or the TSE test and score 55 or higher. The SPEAK test is offered by the Linguistics Department (contact them at (631) 632-7777). Note: both SPEAK and CELT must be done before any consideration for teaching assistantship can be made.
Note, you must provide a hard copy of your most recent Stony Brook transcript. (The official transcript is not required -- a copy of what you get at the end of each semester will do.) "Most recent" means that the transcript must include the final grades for the semester immediately preceding the one for which you are applying as a TA. For instance, if your application is for Fall 20XY, the transcript must include Spring 20XY.