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Financial Support

The sections below provide information on both assistantships/associateships and scholarships.  On some occasions, assistantship opportunities arise in other branches of the university. Students are advised of these opportunities when they arise.  

Applications for graduate funding within the college must be received no later than January 15 for the following academic year. Requests for renewal of funding must also be submitted by January 15. All application materials are available on the college web site.


Typically, the funding package for all types of assistantships and associateships includes tuition remission and a modest stipend.  Most stipends are payable in 12 monthly installments. For most students who are on assistantships/associateships in the fall and spring semesters, tuition fees are waived for each of those semesters as well as for summer term. Most GTAs are not expected to work in the summer.  The exception is for GRAs, GTAs, and GAs who are required to work in the summer in order to be paid.

Funding is normally renewable for up to a total of two years for master’s students and three years for doctoral students subject to the availability of funds.  Students must also maintain a 3.3 grade-point average or higher.

Doctoral students complete an annual review in the spring of each year (see detail in separate section).  One aspect of that review is performance of duties associated with graduate funding.  Students are given the opportunity to improve their teaching and/or research work.  However, if the work is completely unacceptable, funding will not be renewed.

Graduate Assistants

The college offers a small number of graduate assistantships that are typically filled by master’s students. These are usually 25 percent appointments meaning that students work about 10 hours per week. Tasks for a GA range from monitoring labs to management of equipment. Most graduate assistants work for a specific school within the college and will receive their assignments from the director of that school.  

Graduate Research Assistants

Graduate research assistants work on specific research projects under the supervision of a faculty member(s). Master’s or doctoral students may hold these positions that are often funded with grant money and supervised through the Center for Information & Communication Studies. However, some research assistantships are also funded by the college or by one of the schools. Students work 10-20 hours (25-50 percent time) on research projects. Most research assistantships require summer work.

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Graduate teaching assistants work to support the needs of class-related activities including grading, helping with class preparation, and maintaining computer/lab facilities. They may also teach under the supervision of a faculty member. Depending on their offered position (25-50 percent time), graduate teaching assistants work 10-20 hours per week. 

Graduate Teaching Associates

Graduate teaching associates are usually doctoral students and are responsible for teaching one or more classes. Most are assigned to work 10-20 hours per week (25-50 percent time) on activities such as class preparation, teaching, grading, meeting with students, etc. Graduate teaching associates are expected to work autonomously in teaching their classes, but they are provided with guidance, draft syllabi, and other related materials from the school for which they teach or from the associate dean if they are teaching college-wide classes.


The College of Communication and Information also awards scholarships each year to outstanding graduate students. Details on these scholarships are available from the associate dean’s office. Application for the college graduate scholarships is January 15.  Decisions will be made during the spring semester.  Recipients will be announced at the college’s annual convocation in April.

Other Funding Sources

Loans and Work Study

For information on loans and the work-study program, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Graduate students are eligible to apply for the student work-study program. Work-study is considered a form of financial aid, although it is not a loan and it is not subject to repayment.  

Employment Opportunities

Knoxville has many organizations that hire communication and information professionals. Some graduate students find part-time employment in the local community. Those without professional experience are especially encouraged to gain experience through internships and/or part-time employment in communication and information-related organizations.  Full-time students should not attempt to work more than 20 hours per week. Part-time students should not attempt to take more than six hours of coursework per semester.

Support of Student Travel

The College of Communication and Information encourages all graduate students to submit research papers to conferences. Whenever possible, presentations of student research work will be supported. Additional funding may also be available from the university’s Graduate Student Travel Fund administered by the Graduate Student Senate (for more information on these funds see ).