Graduate Program in Acoustics



Each student admitted to the Graduate Program in Acoustics, and who has not already arranged funding, is considered for support with an assistantship. A student given an assistantship receives a stipend and a grant-in-aid for tuition; this stipend, but not the tuition, is taxable. In general, the amount of the stipend provided by an assistantship depends on the person's standing as a graduate student (i.e., earned bachelor's or ; passed Ph.D. candidacy or comprehensives). Most assistantships are one half-time during the academic year, and the equivalent of one-half time during the summer. Summer assistantships typically do not carry a grant-in-aid for tuition. Graduate assistantships cover 80% of the cost of the Penn State provided student health insurance.

The graduate assistantship is a vehicle for providing a stipend to help meet living and other incidental expenses during graduate study. In exchange for this stipend, and also the remission of tuition fees, the student is expected to assist in the research and/or teaching programs associated with the Program. As such, the student has an obligation to devote a minimum of 20 hours per week on average to his or her assistantship duties, for the duration of the eighteen-week period of the assistantship for each semester (12 weeks in the summer).

It should be noted that the period of the assistantship (18 or 12 weeks) is longer than the respective academic semesters, which means that the student's commitment relative to the assistantship extends past the beginning and/or end of the semester. Therefore, it is imperative that the student communicates with the faculty member supervising the assistantship to determine when the student is expected to be available to perform his or her duties. Even though a graduate student may be granted a half-time assistantship, the amount of time this student may spend on his or her research may well exceed the 20-hour per week that one might traditionally associate with a half-time position. While some flexibility exists for fulfilling the obligations associated with an assistantship, the student is expected to coordinate his or her schedule with the faculty member who is supervising the assistantship.

Upon being offered an assistantship, the student will receive the "Terms of Offer" of a Graduate Assistantship, which outlines the conditions of the assistantship offer, including the date upon which the student is to report, and to whom he or she should report. Although an assistantship is taxable, it is not considered by the University to be compensation for work done. Instead, it is intended to help support a student during his or her graduate study. Should it become necessary for the student to withdraw from the University during the period of the assistantship, the assistantship will also be terminated. Periods of withdrawal are not excepted when determining time to completion for a degree.

Graduate assistants must have health insurance coverage that meets certain standards established by the University. Graduate assistants are eligible to participate in the health policy designated by the University, with the assistantship paying eighty percent of the individual annual premium with the remaining twenty percent being deducted from the student's assistantship stipend. A student holding any graduate assistantship may not normally accept employment of any kind beyond that specified by his or her assistantship. A student may receive a concurrent fellowship supplement. In addition, the Graduate School regulates both the maximum and the minimum number of course credits a graduate student may take.

Both teaching and research assistantships are offered according to the anticipated needs of the Program, as well as the support available. These assistantships have different responsibilities associated with them and are supported by different sources of funding. Assistantship support for each student will be reviewed at regular intervals. Normally, students who maintain regular academic status and who make adequate progress toward completing their degrees can expect continued support.

For more information about types of fundings, please continue by clicking on one of the links on the left.