Merit based financial aid in the form of assistantships are awarded by the Biology Department's Graduate Studies Committee starting at the end of February. All applicants will be considered and the following criteria are used: prior evidence of academic excellence is most important; congruence of scholarly areas of interest with available faculty; and potential for excellence in teaching. Some part time hours are often available. The assistantship work component and any part time hourly wages involve teaching the laboratory sections of the undergraduate biology courses. This work is essential for the department but it is also designed to provide broad training for students who may go on to various combinations of additional study in advance degree programs, teaching, or commercially oriented careers in biological research.
The Graduate Admissions website has detailed information about other available awards. Some of the funds which graduate students are also eligible include the Massey and United Methodist awards.
Current AU graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for the College of Arts and Sciences Mellon Fund for research. These funds are usually for $1,000 and can be used for research supplies and travel. Each year the College of Arts and Science also conducts a Student Research Conference (usually in February or March). This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to display their research in a poster or make a presentation to the members of the University community. Cash prizes are awarded to outstanding research presentations.
The Department of Biology also offers the Biology Graduate Research Awards. The purpose of these funds is to support summer research with research materials and/or a stipend. Biology students submit proposals for this award consisting of a one to three page summary of the research project, a resume, letter of support from their research advisor, and a budget. The maximum award is $3,000 ($2,000 for stipend and $1,000 for supplies). All proposals are reviewed competitively based on their scientific merit by the Department's Graduate Studies Committee.