A variety of opportunities for financial support are available from the Department of Geography. Additional resources and support programs are available through the MU Graduate School.
The Department typically has five or six Teaching Assistantships available to full-time first and second year MA students. TA positions are half-time responsibilities (20 hours per week) that are usually geared toward teaching laboratory sections of courses such as Geography 1100 and 1200 (Regions and Nations of the World), GIS I, Remote Sensing and Computer Cartography. Applications for TA positions must be submitted by January 15 for assistantships available the following fall semester. Assistantships carry a nine-month stipend, course fee waiver, and eligibility for student health insurance subsidy. Summer funding is often available for qualified TAs. Assistantships may be renewed for a second year upon demonstration of satisfactory performance during the first year and significant progress toward degree completion.
Several Research Assistantships are awarded each year for full-time graduate students to work on research projects or work associated with the Geographic Resources Center or faculty grants. Often these involve skills in remote sensing and/or GIS. Applications for RA positions must be submitted by January 15 for assistantships available the following fall semester. Assistantships carry a nine-month stipend, course fee waiver, and eligibility for student health insurance subsidy. Assistantships may be renewed for a second year upon demonstration of satisfactory performance during the first year and significant progress toward degree completion.
Notes about Assistantships
Teaching and Research Assistantships are considered half-time appointments, and constitute a 20 hour per week time commitment. These responsibilities, in conjunction with 9 hours of coursework, constitute at least a full-time job. RAs and TAs are not permitted to hold outside employment.
A student may qualify for a waiver of course fees through the Graduate Student Tuition Waiver Program when the following requirements are met: the student holds a Graduate Teaching/Research Assistant appointment of at least quarter time in either the Department of Geography or another degree-granting program; the assistantship held carries a qualifying job title (as defined by the Graduate Faculty Senate); and the student maintains "good academic standing." The fee waiver of any student whose grade average falls below 3.0 is revoked. In addition, termination of an assistantship at any point during the semester (including withdrawal from the university) results in loss of a pro-rated amount of the fee waiver's value. In this case, the student will be billed for the balance of the educational fees assessed for that semester.
The Department of Geography awards a number of scholarships to qualified students each year:
The Komen Fellowship
Established in 2003, The Abe and Ida Komen Fellowship provides at least a $1000 stipend to an outstanding Geography graduate student. The Department scholarship committee selects recipients during the Spring Semester.
Field Research Award
Small grants of $200 or more are awarded annually on a competitive basis to graduate students engaged in field research. Proposals are evaluated by the Department scholarship committee during Spring Semester. These awards are made possible by funds from the Jesse Wheeler Endowment.
Conference Travel Award
The Department strongly encourages graduate students participation in professional meetings such as the regional and national meetings of the Association of American Geographers. Financial support is available from the MU Graduate Professional Council, supplemented by the Geography Department through the Wheeler Endowment. (Department travel funds application)
A variety of supplemental fellowships are competitively available from the Graduate School each year (details). These awards are provided in addition to the Assistantship stipend.
Returning Peace Corps Volunteers Fellows/USA program
The MU Geography Department is very pleased to be a participant in the Returning Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) Fellows/USA program. This program offers Peace Corps Volunteers who have returned home a $7000 annual stipend toward financing their graduate education.
Graduate Student Health Insurance
Health insurance programs are available to all graduate students, and those holding qualifying assistantships or fellowships are eligible for reduced rates. Consult the Graduate School web site for further details.
Desk Space, Keys, Mailboxes
The Department attempts to accommodate every graduate student who requests desk space. Teaching Assistants typically have offices in room 2. A graduate student without an assistantship should direct a request for desk space to the Department Chair.
Each graduate student has a mailbox in Room 2, and is issued keys to this room, to the Jesse H. Wheeler Library (Room 102), and to an exterior door of Stewart Hall. The Department's Administrative Assistant orders keys and maintains key records, thus all key questions should be directed to her. An absence from the university of longer than one summer semester requires the return of all department and building keys, to be reissued if necessary at a later time.