College of Arts and Sciences

School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs

Funding Opportunities

Types of Funding

The department has three types of funding for graduate students: permanent assistantships, temporary or "soft" funding, and adjunct instructor or part-time grader positions. All students wishing to obtain funding from the department must complete a funding application by February 1 for the following academic year. Decisions on who receives assistantships and other funding is determined by the Graduate Studies Committee and graduate director, in consultation with the school director.

Permanent Assistantships

These are year-to-year funded teaching or research assistantships which pay a monthly salary for the academic year and normally have tuition waivers. Assistantships are awarded competitively on the basis of merit. Appointments are made on a yearly basis. Students may receive an assistantship for up to four years if pursuing both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees; students pursuing only the Ph.D. degree (i.e., those who enter the program who already hold a master’s degree) may receive permanent­funded assistantships for up to three years. Assistantships are not available to students in the terminal GJSS M.A. program.

Temporary (or "Soft") & External Sources of Funding

The second type of departmental funding comes largely from grants obtained by faculty and usually consists of research positions. Last year, approximately two-thirds of our graduate students who were not on T.A. appointment were employed by WSU, often working on research for faculty. For the most part, these jobs pay an hourly salary and do not include a tuition waiver. Under some circumstances, students who are employed for at least 20 hours a week may be eligible for an out-of-state tuition waiver. For many of these positions, students must be "work-study eligible". This program enables the department to fund more graduate students because for every dollar we put in, we get three work-study dollars to support employment. (See Ann Marie Gooch regarding the procedures for applying for work-study.) Often, these job opportunities extend into the summer. You need to file federal and state forms with the financial aid office to be work-study eligible and should do so as soon as possible if you do not have hard funding. The deadline for these forms is usually March 1. Unfortunately, non-American citizens are not eligible for work-study.

Research Assistant Positions from Faculty Grants within the School: Work-study eligible students will often be employed before those who are not; however, the final hiring decision is made by the individual faculty member on whose project you will be working.

Research Positions in the Division of Governmental Studies & Services (DGSS): Outside of our school is an applied research unit, directed by Michael Gaffney. This unit pursues and administers contracts to conduct a variety of research projects in Washington state. Each year, DGSS employs a number of graduate students to work on research. This work is paid on an hourly basis. Students who work in DGSS are normally work-study eligible. If you are interested, you need to apply for work-study eligibility with the financial aid office and then submit your curriculum vitae to the DGSS main office (Bryan Hall 301).

Other Employment Opportunities Outside of the School:

Adjunct Instructor Positions

The third type of funding is adjunct teaching or grading for courses. It is most common to have adjunct teaching opportunities for graduate students in the summer. Other adjunct opportunities depend on faculty sabbaticals, vacancies, and accruals, and therefore fluctuate from year to year. Students who have had a significant record in teaching, who have at least an M.A., if not an ABD, and who are not already on a teaching assistantship should inform the graduate director or director of their expertise in teaching. The director makes all decisions on adjunct teaching in consultation with the graduate coordinator and/or pertinent faculty. Adjunct faculties are generally paid an agreed flat rate per course. No tuition waivers are involved.

Disqualification from Eligibility for Departmental Funding

Graduate students shall not be given aid in the fall semester if they are carrying a grade of "I" for any course other than 600, 702, or 800 received in a non-contiguous semester (not counting summer semesters). Also, students who by the end of the third semester equivalent of full-time enrollment in residence have failed to form a committee and file a program Plan of Study (in the case of the Ph.D.) shall normally be denied continuance in any assistantship or other kind of departmental employment, such as work with the Division of Governmental Studies & Services.

Travel Funding

The school has a limited amount of funding available to assist students who are presenting papers at major conferences. The amount of funding available will vary from year to year. Attendance at national or major regional disciplinary conferences (i.e., APSA, MWPSA, WPSA) is more likely to be funded than attendance at small local or interdisciplinary conferences (although students are encouraged to look for opportunities to travel together to local conferences as the school may fund shared modes of travel and hotel rooms). Funding of conference participation is at the discretion of the director. Students interested in applying for travel funds should prepare a short memo of request to the director. The memo should outline the nature of the conference, the nature of the student's participation (i.e., author, coauthor, title of paper, etc.), and projected travel costs. The request should be approved and the memo should be signed by all members of the student's advising committee.

Contact Us

School of Politics, Philosophy, & Public Affairs
Washington State University
801 Johnson Tower
PO Box 644880
Pullman, WA 99164-4880
Phone: 509-335-2544
Fax: 509-335-7990

Graduate & Student Records Coordinator

Bonnie Kemper

Useful Links



School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, PO Box 644880, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4880 • 509-335-2544 • Contact Us