Financial support is available to qualified graduate students in the form of teaching, research and project assistantships and fellowships (see below tabs for qualifications). Annually, approximately 35 graduate students hold assistantships or fellowships in the Botany Department. Support guarantees are ten semesters for PhD students (with a BS or BA entering the program,) or eight semesters for those who already have their MS degree. Students pursuing an MS degree in Botany have a five-semester guarantee (there are exceptions; please ask email@example.com.) In addition, graduate students are eligible for a number of intradepartmental awards and grants.
Graduate students who have a teaching, research or project assistantship of at least a 33.3% appointment (approximately 13.3 hours per week) for a Fall or Spring term are eligible to receive remission of full tuition. Fellowships or traineeships that are payrolled through the university and that carry stipends equivalent to at least a 33.3% research assistantship also qualify for remission of non-resident tuition. Tuition remission is conditionally awarded at the start of the semester based on the expectation that actual earnings during the semester will be at least 33.3% of the full-time rate. Most students pay segregated fees; fellowships paid through the Graduate School have segregated fees waived in addition to tuition.
Students with assistantships or fellowships also are eligible for an excellent health insurance program—an invaluable benefit that provides single or family coverage that is more comprehensive than individuals can usually purchase on their own.
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The most common source of support is a teaching assistantship.
To receive a teaching assistantship, incoming graduate students must meet the following requirements:
- evidence (usually from the undergraduate transcript) of an appropriate background in the relevant subject matter of the course(s) to which appointment is being considered;
- evidence (usually from letters of recommendation or verbal communication) of the candidate’s potential as a teaching assistant;
- an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale); and
- for students whose native language is not English, evidence of competence in spoken English through the SPEAK test that is administered by the UW.
Current students who apply for their first teaching assistantship are also subject to the above criteria. Reappointment as a teaching assistant depends upon satisfactory progress as a graduate student, satisfactory performance as a teaching assistant, and completing Equity/Diversity TA Training.
Teaching assistants may be eligible for University teaching awards, including the UW-Madison Early Excellence in Teaching Award, UW-Madison Exceptional Service Award, UW-Madison Innovation in Teaching Award, UW-Madison Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award, and the College of Letters & Science Teaching Fellow.
Research or Project Assistantships
Research and Project Assistantships are made possible by grants awarded to individual professors for particular research programs. Recipients are selected by the individual professor. Availability of research and project assistantships fluctuates.
Advanced Opportunity Fellowships
Advanced Opportunity Fellowships (AOF) are granted to the UW-Madison Graduate School by the State of Wisconsin and are combined with other graduate education funds to support the recruitment and retention of highly qualified underrepresented students in UW-Madison graduate programs. Fellowships are competitive and merit based. AOF funding is intended to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the graduate student population and to support economically disadvantaged and first-generation college students. AOF fellowships are paid through the Graduate School by the College of Letters & Science’s Community of Graduate Research Scholars(C-GRS) program.
Fellowships from professional societies and outside agencies provide another important source of aid for which students may apply either before or after commencing graduate work at UW. External fellowships can often be supplemented with University funds up to prevailing University fellowship rates.
All qualified students who are US citizens, nationals or permanent resident aliens of the US are urged to apply to the National Science Foundation’s Gradutate Research Fellowship Program, which provides outstanding graduate students with three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000. Applications, which typically take a few months to prepare, are due each October. For instruction and deadlines, visit the NSF GRFP website [www.nsfgrfp.org].
Awards & Grants
Intradepartmental Fellowships and Awards
The Botany Department historically has provided a few fellowships to its graduate students. The number of fellowships offered each year depends on the availability of funds. Typically, a given fellowship can be offered every year or every other year. The following are intradepartmental fellowships that have been offered in the past 5 years.
- The O.N. and E.K. Allen Graduate Fellowship provides one or two semesters of support and is awarded on the basis of merit and service, typically to students nearing completion of the Ph.D. program. The fellowship honors Oscar and Ethel Allen, who were international authorities on rhizobial associations.
- The Flora Aeterna Fellowship, first awarded in the 2011-12 academic year, provides up to 12 months of support plus research funds to a graduate student whose research has potential to directly and positively impact the long-term survival of plants native to the United States.
- The Tulipa et Paeonia Fellowship, which was first awarded in the 2017-2018 academic year, provides up to 12 months of support plus research funds to a deserving graduate student with a strong record of service as a teaching assistant.
- The Frits Went Graduate Research in Plant Physiology Fellowship aims to support a promising student conducting plant physiological research. This fellowship is usually awarded to a student when admitted into the Botany graduate program.
- The Dr. Mary M. Taylor-Vinje Graduate Fellowship Fund, available for the first time in 2018, provides a semester-long fellowship to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the Botany Department. This fund was established in recognition of the assistance provided to Dr. Taylor-Vinje by the University of Wisconsin at Madison while she obtained her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in botany and plant pathology.
Intradepartmental Awards and Grants
The Botany Department has also provided research and travel support to its graduate students. Support offered each year depends on the availability of funds. The following have been offered in the past 5 years.
- Eldon and Joy Newcomb Research Support includes a fellowship comparable to at least 2 months of a research assistantship during the summer, plus flexible research funds. Support is based on merit and a demonstrated need for research support. Dr. Eldon Newcomb, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, was an eminent authority on plant structure, a distinguished teacher, researcher, mentor, and past chair of the Department of Botany.
- Davis Research Support includes a fellowship comparable to at least 2 months of a research assistantship during the summer. Support is based on academic merit, with some preference given to graduate students with substantial teaching service and other service in the department. This award honors John Jefferson Davis, who after retiring from medicine, became curator of the UW Herbarium and was a leading authority on parasitic fungi until his death in 1937.
- Davis Travel Support provides funding to offset the costs of field studies and travel associated with ecology or systematics research. Preference is given to students in their first two years of study.
- Judith Croxdale Scholarships for Women in Science are typically awarded as summer research assistantships to women graduate students in the Botany Department and are based on merit and financial need. This scholarship honors the memory of Dr. Judith Croxdale, who was a professor in plant morphology in the Department of Botany and a mentor to many female graduate students.
- Raper Travel Support defrays the costs for graduate students to attend national or international scientific meetings. Preference is given to students making presentations. The Raper Fund commemorates the late Dr. Kenneth Raper, professor of botany and eminent mycologist.
- Hugh H. Iltis Field Research Support offsets the costs of graduate student fieldwork in the area of plant taxonomy. Students are expected to collect and deposit specimens into the Wisconsin State Herbarium. Preference is given to students working in Latin America. Dr. Hugh H. Iltis was a professor of the Department of Botany and former director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium (1955-1993) who devoted his life to land stewardship and conservancy.
- Demeter Research Support supports student training and research in the areas of plant ecology and conservation biology. Available to either graduate or undergraduate students, it has primarily provided summer research awards. Support is based on merit and demonstrated need of funds for research support.
- The Eldon Newcomb Teaching Award provides $750 to a senior graduate student who is an outstanding teaching assistant.