Assistantships

The Department offers a funding package to every graduate student it admits, and every funding package includes subsidized health insurance and a full waiver of tuition (which in 2010-11 was $3,600/semester for Georgia residents and $14,400/semester for out-of-state residents). Students must still pay fees, about $1,000/semester. We believe that offering funding to all graduate students greatly improves the average academic ability of our graduate students and the social life of the Department. (Under unusual circumstances, where applicants themselves indicate that they have good reason not to pursue a funding package from Georgia State–for instance, where funding from elsewhere precludes them from also accepting funding package from us–we will consider admissions without assistantships.)

Every year, the Department offers fellowships and scholarships in each of its three areas of strength: Neurophilosophy, Legal and Political Philosophy, and Kant and post-Kantian German philosophy. The Brains & Behavior Fellows receive an annual stipend of $15,000, and the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy, and the Scholar in Kant and post-Kantian German philosophy each receive an annual stipend of $15,000. Applicants who wish to be considered should do the following: (i) send a writing sample that’s in the appropriate area, and (ii) check off in the on-line application that they wish to be considered for the particular fellowship or scholarship. Brains & Behavior Fellows have no teaching assistantship or research assistantship duties, and they are expected to enroll in the Neurophilosophy track of the graduate program. The Graduate Scholars in Legal and Political Philosophy and in Kant and post-Kantian German Philosophy receive a combination of fellowship (for the first two semesters) and assistantship (usually teaching Critical Thinking) in the following semesters. The department also sometimes offers Scholar positions to promising students with other interests.

Please note that the deadline for applying for one of these specialized area aid slots is February 1: by this date we should have received all application materials.

We offer many more assistantships, in addition to our specialized area fellowships and scholarships. Assistants typically receive a stipend of $5,000 to $10,000 per year. Assuming that they remain in good academic standing and make satisfactory academic progress,* students admitted with assistantships can expect to receive four semesters of stipend support. Support past this time is possible but should not be expected. Our initial round of admission and assistantship decisions are made considering all people whose files are complete by February 1. People applying after this time are more likely to go initially onto our wait list, although we do admit later applicants as people admitted earlier decide to go elsewhere.

While the specific tasks asked of assistants vary, what follows should provide some sense of what an assistant might expect to do:

  1. Some assistants work with professors doing such things as seeking research materials, proofreading, indexing books, and writing summaries of literature on a specific topic.
  2. Others proctor exams, help with grading, and sometimes attend undergraduate classes.
  3. Some assistants are the primary instructors of Phil 1010, Critical Thinking, or Phil 2010, Introduction to Philosophy.

Graduate students will become primary instructors only after completing most of their coursework. Before teaching, a student must have successfully completed Phil 8970 (Teaching Philosophy). In addition, every graduate student teacher will take Phil 8980 (Teaching Philosophy Practicum) during their first semester of teaching. The philosophy department takes pride in the training and support it gives to its graduate student teachers.

Assistants are paid on the last business day of the month. Note that the first paycheck of an academic year is paid on the last business day of September.

* Definition of “in good academic standing and make satisfactory academic progress”

Students who are admitted to the M.A. program with aid are generally promised support (in the form of an assistantship, a scholarship, or a fellowship) for a period of time, contingent on remaining in good academic standing and making satisfactory academic progress. Meeting any of the conditions below will make a student subject to review by the Department and may lead to discontinuation of support.

  1. Being on academic warning.
  2. Receiving a grade below B in a letter-graded graduate level philosophy course, or a U in an S/U – graded graduate level philosophy course.
  3. Having more than one I (Incomplete) in a graduate level philosophy course at the start of any semester.
  4. Having any Incompletes in a graduate level philosophy course that have been outstanding for more than one semester.
  5. Taking less than a full class load (9 credit hours, excluding Phil 8900-8999) each semester during the regular academic year prior to starting work on one’s thesis (indicated by being enrolled in Phil 8999).

This is not a complete list of the conditions that will make a student subject to review and may lead to discontinuation of support. It is not possible to make a complete list because there is a wide variety of unprofessional conduct that may trigger a review. Examples include (but are not limited to): theft of University property, unprofessional behavior in the classroom, violation of the University’s amorous relationship policy, violence towards other members of the University community, etc.

Note: Wherever the above policy refers to “philosophy courses” it also includes any courses taken outside the philosophy department used towards the satisfaction of the philosophy MA degree (e.g., courses for the Neurophilosophy track).

“Letter-graded” classes in the above refers to classes which are graded on an A-F basis.

 
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