Assistantships & Fellowships
The Economics Graduate Program offers financial awards to qualified doctoral students in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships and, occasionally, fellowships. Awards are merit-based, determined by an applicant's academic history and predicted success in the program. We do not fund master’s degree students.
Students who are funded through the University at a monthly stipend level are eligible for the Graduate Student Support Plan(GSSP). The GSSP is a highly competitive support package that provides health insurance and payment of tuition for a limited number of semesters. Note that students funded through the GSSP are required to pay their own fees.
Application for Assistantships and Fellowships
Each spring, new doctoral applicants and incumbent doctoral students who are not supported are considered competitively for a limited number of teaching and research assistantships.
Applicants to doctoral program who wish to be considered for financial aid must submit the completed application for graduate study to the Graduate School by January 1. There is no separate application for departmental assistantships. You need only indicate your preference to be considered for these awards on your graduate school application.
International students are eligible to be considered for assistantship or fellowship awards. In the case of non-native English speaking students, we give strong preference to those who have at least one year of academic experience at a North American university.
Teaching Assistantships consist of helping faculty in grading student assignments and examinations and leading discussion sections for introductory economics classes. These assistantships are usually half-time, carry a stipend, and are typically awarded for the 9-month academic year (mid-August through mid-May). Each semester, TAs will be evaluated by the professors they are assisting. Students on half-time TAs may not enroll in more than 9 credit hours per semester.
New Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation
All new Graduate Teaching Assistants and other graduate students with newly assigned teaching responsibilities are required to attend a University-wide Teaching Orientation, which has traditionally been held each August, shortly before classes start. The Orientation is sponsored by the Graduate School.
Economics Graduate Program TA Training
All newly appointed TAs with teaching responsibilities are expected to participate in the graduate program’s TA training program. This program consists of a 3-day summer workshop and continued training throughout the academic year.
International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Screening
All International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) whose responsibilities include significant interaction with undergraduates in a classroom or laboratory must be screened for oral English proficiency before they are permitted to assume these responsibilities. To do this, NC State utilizes the Spoken English Assessment Test (SPEAK), an institutional version of the Educational Testing Service's Test of Spoken English. Administered in the Foreign Language Laboratory and rated by specialists in English as a Second Language, the SPEAK test consists of a series of prompts for which each student's responses are recorded. No special preparation is necessary. After each student's test is graded, scores are posted on a secure website for departmental access. The score will determine what responsibilities each ITA may assume.
Research assistantships are typically available in the areas of agricultural and environmental and resource economics. Research assistants typically help designated faculty members with their academic research or grant-funded projects. In each case, the specific duties and responsibilities of the RA will be determined by the supervisor. RA appointments generally run for twelve months, from July 1 through June 30. It is important that each RA reach an understanding with the supervisor regarding vacation plans for the year. Students on half-time RAs may not enroll in more than 9 credit hours per semester.
Fellowships and Awards
A small number of fellowships are available to support students with research interests in specific areas. The USDA National Needs Fellowship and the BB&T Fellowship are two such awards. University funded, merit-based fellowships are also available for exceptionally well-qualified first-year students. Again, these fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. In the past, our students have been regular recipients of the prestigious Andrews Doctoral Fellowship, University Provost’s Fellowship, University Graduate Research Fellowship, and Ward Fellowship.
Students at the dissertation stage who are interested in pursuing a career in academia may qualify for lectureships. These give students experience in teaching basic undergraduate courses.
A Note to Students Who Enter the Program Without Funding
All students (both domestic and international) who enter the program without funding should be prepared to absorb the full cost associated with completing graduate degree at NC State University. There is no guarantee that funding will be available or offered during your tenure at NC State. However:
1) Students who enter the program without funding will become eligible for funding consideration once they pass written comprehensive examinations in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory. There are only two opportunities allowed to pass these written exams.
2) There is some chance for exceptional students to get funding the year immediately following a pass on the written exams, but these students will be competing against all other unfunded students who have also passed written exams.
3) Odds for funding go up in subsequent years, especially for students who are doing particularly well in the program academically.
4) Students who are offered funding will be appointed as either teaching assistants or research assistants. All assistantships consider the student's previous academic performance; research assistantships are further based on ability of the student to contribute to a research project (this usually means strong computer and econometric skills) and the match in interests between the student and the professor directing the project.
5) Unfunded students can apply for office space in the ground floor of Nelson. Such space is available on a first come-first served basis.