Financial aid is available in the form of Graduate Assistantships (GAs), Research Assistantships (RA's), Minimum Duties Assistantships (MDAs), and Fellowships. There are no forms to fill out for requesting financial aid from the CIS department. All accepted students are automatically considered for financial aid if their applications meet the deadline (February 1 for Fall, September 1 for Spring). However, in the case of applications for Fall entry, preference for financial assistance will be given to applications received by January 1.
At present, all full-time PhD students are receiving full financial assistance, either in the form of teaching assistantship or research assistantship. The vast majority of MS students are successful in obtaining on-campus employment to pay for their studies, during their first year of study. Some are also supported on department funds. It is worthy of note that Birmingham's cost of living is low.
The tuition and fees information on the UAB Students' webpage (http://students.uab.edu/) assumes a load of 15 semester hours. However, the normal load for graduate students is 9 semester hours, with tuition totalling $3,321 (US in-state; and international student in-state, such as our students on graduate assistantships) or $6,642 (out-of-state) per semester (in Spring 2012). For students opting to live on the UAB campus, please visit the UAB housing website.
Graduate Assistantships are full financial aid positions for M. S. and Ph.D. students, which are primarily for instruction in undergraduate laboratories. The workload is 20 hours per week. These awards are for a calendar year (3 academic terms). GA's who perform exceptionally well in research may be awarded an assignment of research only (i.e., no instructional assignment) for one semester each year. Some other Graduate Assistantships are available for work sponsored by local companies and for work in the CIS computer laboratories. A GA is the typical award to a student entering the Ph.D. program. There are currently 18 GA positions. Exceptional M.S. students will receive financial assistance, and we have found that all M.S. students have been able to find employment on campus.
Research Assistantships are full financial aid positions for Ph.D. students, which are for support of faculty research grant and contract activities. The work-load does not exceed 20 hours per week. These awards are for a calendar year (3 academic terms). An RA position is rarely available to entering students who have not begun research with a specific faculty member. The number of RA positions varies from year to year.
Stipends for GA's and RA's
In 2011-2012, the stipends for students holding GA's and RA's were:
M. S. and Ph.D. Level 1 (for students who have not yet passed the Level 1 Qualifying Exams) - $19,500/year, plus full tuition, plus health insurance.
Ph.D. Level 2 (for students who have passed the Level 1 Qualifying Exams but have not yet been admitted to candidacy through passing the Level 2 Exam) $20,700/year, plus full tuition, plus health insurance.
Ph.D. Level 3 (for students who have passed the Level 2 exam and been admitted into candidacy) - $21,900/year, plus full tuition, plus health insurance.
Minimum Duties Assistantships
A Minimum Duties Assistantship is for miscellaneous support of the CIS department as needed. The MDA includes a stipend of $1,500/year, but the most important benefit is the eligibility of an MDA for in-state tuition rates, which is a savings of about $3,321 per semester. The MDA is restricted to incoming M.S. and Ph.D. students.
Fellowships are offered through the university and other external sources, not through the department. Information on these may be found here.