Biology Graduate Financial Support
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Financial Support

A. Cost of Study

Out-of-state tuition and fees are waived for out-of-state students receiving a departmental assistantship. In addition, graduate assistants also receive a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition and fees.

B. Graduate Laboratory Assistantships

The Department of Biology provides several graduate assistantships for work in our introductory biology laboratory courses. Stipends of at least $5000 per academic year (9 months) are available. For further information contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Dr. Rebecca Johansen
Phone: (931) 221-7774
Sundquist Science Complex, D116

The application and additional information for Graduate Assistants can be found here.

Graduate Laboratory Assistant Job Description

A GA is assigned to a position as a graduate laboratory assistant in the Department of Biology performs duties that primarily are related to undergraduate laboratory courses. Under the supervision of a Lab Manager and a faculty member, these duties concern the organization, direction and evaluation of laboratory activities in lower division introductory biology courses. The GA also may function as a teaching assistant in laboratory sections of these courses.

In addition to instructional activities, the GA must bear in mind the responsibility for the proper use and safety of valuable and sensitive laboratory equipment. More important is the necessity for the GA to safeguard the students regarding exposure to potentially dangerous equipment and materials. These latter two areas of responsibility warrant establishing a policy of regular consultation with the Lab Manager or faculty member.

Specific Duties: The following represents a partial listing of laboratory-related duties for which the GA may be held responsible:

  1. To meet weekly with the Laboratory Manger and or faculty member concerning the preparation and execution of upcoming labs.
  2. To bring together materials needed in various laboratory exercises being conducted.
  3. To assist in conducting laboratory classes as scheduled
  4. To assist in the cleaning and sorting of laboratory equipment and supplies and to maintain an inventory of materials and chemicals required for preparation of laboratory activities.
  5. To collect and assist in grading of laboratory reports and exercises as directed by the instructor.
  6. To maintain and repair experimental apparatuses.
  7. To be available to drive university vehicles used in the execution of class and/or departmental activities.
  8. To have a thorough knowledge of the content of each laboratory to an extent of being able to teach the laboratory if necessary.
  9. To keep roll if instructor so desires.
  10. To set up laboratory demonstrations as needed.
  11. To keep preparation room clean, materials organized and properly stored and to notify supervisor when any material is in short supply or outdated.
  12. To sit in one freshman biology class (one semester) if new GA.
  13. To proctor test needed.
  14. To provide tutoring assistance to academically deficient students who have been identified by the instructor.

Graduate Laboratory Assistants must be PUNCTUAL, PREPARED, PROFESSIONAL and PLEASANT as you carry out your duties. A GA is expected to devote approximately 20 hours per week toward fulfilling laboratory duties. A plausible time budget for the laboratory assistant may be patterned somewhat after the example below:
Contact and preparation 12.0 hours
Student and supervisor time 3.0 hours
Other duties 5.0 hours
TOTAL 20 hours per week

Keep in mind that the labs vary considerably in the difficulty of preparation and therefore the GA's time investment will vary from week to week. The above time budget should be considered an average only. The GA's chief goal must be the production of a quality laboratory experience for the undergraduate students.

C. Graduate Research Assistantships

The Center for Field Biology provides research assistantships ($1000 - up to $7000) for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to develop their research skills in field biology under the tutorship of a Center Principal Investigator. Duties and responsibilities of a graduate research assistant will be determined by the principal investigator and the Director of the Center for Field Biology. For further information contact the Director of the Center for Field Biology.