Assistantships

The ECE Department offers financial aid in the form of teaching and research assistantships (TA's and RA's). The research assistantship is granted directly by an individual researcher to students who are interested in working on projects in the researcher's area and for which the researcher has funding. Teaching assistantships are granted by the ECE department from a pool of applicants who have recommendations from research faculty. TAs are expected to transfer to RA status within the first few semesters of enrollment.

Research Assistantships

Research assistantships are granted directly by an individual researcher to students who are interested in working on projects in the researcher's area and for which the researcher has funding. You may contact faculty in your area of interest directly by locating those faculty members by consulting the faculty by field page. It is strongly recommended that you follow a few simple rules when contacting faculty:

  1. Remember that you were considered for funding when you applied admission. The faculty in your area of interest reviewed your application.
  2. Read the faculty member's web pages to determine his or her most recent interest and publications.
  3. Email faculty members individually and be very specific about your interests.
  4. Do not exaggerate your experience or ability.

Teaching Assistantships

Students interested in obtaining a teaching assistantship must submit their scholarly background information via GradWatch. Part of the application process includes choosing courses for which the student feels qualified to serve as TA.

Most teaching assistantships are granted from a pool of applicants who have received a recommendation from a research faculty member who has agreed to advise the applicant on their research. Students interested in this form of assistantship are requested to have the advisor complete a Faculty Endorsement for Teaching Assistantship as found on the Current Gradute Student Portal. Entering students are automatically considered for TAs; the recommendation will be made with the acceptance offer.

Although rare, there are occasionally openings for TA's who are not in a research program. These openings are typically offered only when no research student is available and capable of filling the position. These assistantships are skill-based and granted based on the background information each TA applicant submits via the GradWatch tool.

Proficiency in spoken English is required for all teaching assistantships, even those requiring only grading of papers. Demonstration of proficiency can be done by obtaining a 23 or better on the IBT section of the TOEFL or 7.0 on the spoken section of the IELTS. A score of 45 or better on the SPEAK test administered at NCSU is required if neither of the other criteria are met.

To maintain a TA in the ECE department, a GPA of 3.333 in ECE courses is required.

Mentored Teaching Assistantships

Several years ago the College of Engineering approved a Mentored Teaching Assistantship (MTA) Program patterned after the Preparing the Professoriate Program sponsored by the NCSU Graduate School. The goal of the MTA Program is to provide engineering graduate students with an opportunity to gain teaching experience beyond that of a regular teaching assistant prior to entering an academic career.

In this program, a student/faculty team chooses a course that they will teach together. The responsibilities of the student can range from participating within the current course structure to developing new methods of teaching the material. All student activities are monitored and reviewed by the faculty mentor so that feedback can enhance the experience gained by the student.

If you are interested please apply. During the semester in which they participate in the MTA Program, accepted students will receive $150 per month stipend from the College of Engineering in addition to the normal stipend of a teaching assistant.

Fellowships and Grant Opportunities

For most purposes, graduate funding falls into two major categories: institutional funds that are already "owned by" or awarded to a university, and nationally competitive funds that are awarded by national, regional, or private agencies to individual graduate students and thus may be taken from one institution to another. While students typically face stiff competition for any graduate funding, the pool of applicants for "intra-institutional" funds is usually smaller than for these national and regional funds for which graduate students from hundreds of institutions are competing.

NC State has its own various fellowships and grants available to graduate students. Students interested in pursuing these opportunities should contant Dr. David Shafer, Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, at david_shafer@ncsu.edu.

Additional information on financial aid opportunities can be found at NC State's Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.