Nearly all of our graduate students are fully supported: full tuition, a generous stipend, and full health insurance. Support may be provided in one of several possible ways. In any given year, the majority of available positions come in the form of Teaching Assistantships. However, depending on availability, students may receive financial support from multiple sources during the course of their studies. The Department typically seeks to provide a maximum of 5 years of support for students that enter the PhD program. The actual amount of time a student is supported will never be less than the guaranteed period of support, assuming satisfactory progress towards the PhD degree.
This usually entails running a "recitation" section for an introductory lecture course, with associated homework and exam grading and office hours/help sessions. Some TA's only grade papers and hold office hours. Nominally a TA works an average of 15 hours/week for the entire semester.
Students may be able to obtain support on external research grants awarded to Cornell University faculty. This support is made available at the discretion of the faculty member. The duties of an RA vary according to need; these duties might include statistical research, computer programming, online database searching, library work, and data management. Nominally an RA works 15 hours/week.
Fellowships constitute full financial support without a specific work commitment. Information on external fellowships may be found at this site. Students who receive external fellowships in their first year are expected to take an increased course load.
A variety of other funding sources exist, both within Cornell (e.g., assistantships in other departments), and external to Cornell (e.g., corporate grants, intern/externships, etc.). We strongly encourage students to apply for all external fellowships for which they are eligible; they not only provide prestige and allow you to concentrate on research, they also allow the Field to admit students that it could not otherwise support.