Financial Assistance

The Department of Sociology allocates funds to support students through teaching and research assistantships and instructorships for a specified period of time. Faculty members with funded research can often support some students with research assistantships. There are a few scholarships available from sources in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Graduate Studies. A large number of governmental and private agencies fund dissertation research. Finding these funds takes some ingenuity, but is often worth the effort. For short term emergencies, small loans are available through the department.

The graduate program has established rules limiting the duration of financial support to maximize the number of students who can receive assistance during their degree programs. Doctoral students are limited to five years of support. For new students admitted to the doctoral program Fall 2009 or thereafter, a sixth year is available upon successful application.

Each year, at its annual review of graduate students, the faculty evaluate current graduate students' performance in the program. This evaluation is taken into account in the award of new and continuing financial assistance. Consideration is given to performance in and completion of course work, research and teaching accomplishments, and prior performance as a teaching assistant, research assistant, and/or graduate instructor.

All financial support is on a semester by semester basis. Having an award does not guarantee its continuation. Some funds are reserved each year for incoming students. The priority, however, is on supporting students already in the program.

Application for Financial Support

In addition to department funding, there are numerous fellowships, scholarships, and need-based financial aid programs offered by the university. Explore these options by going to the Graduate Catalog.

Applicants who meet the deadline of January 15 for financial assistance will be considered for funding. Exceptional applicants who miss the deadline may be considered for funding.

Teaching Assistantships

Students in the Sociology program can be considered for teaching assistantships. Because of the late calendar in the State Legislature for passage of the budget, the actual funds for teaching assistantships are generally not known until mid-Summer. Some students may be offered assistantships as late as a few weeks before the opening of the Fall Semester.

Restrictions on Financial Assistance for International Students

A law of the State of Missouri specifies that international students cannot hold a teaching assistantship position until they spend one semester in residence at the University of Missouri. Before international students can hold a teaching assistantship, they must pass a test of spoken English.

Research Assistantships

The awarding of research assistantships is the prerogative of the investigator with the research project. Selection takes account of Admissions Committee recommendations as to priority. Most important, however, is the investigator's need for specific skills. To locate these possibilities, students will need to keep alert to which faculty have research money and make their availability known.

Funds Outside the Program

Consult the Graduate Catalog and the Graduate School research office for other possibilities.

It may also be useful to make contact with the Financial Aid office.

Dissertation Funding

There are a large number of agencies that provide funding for dissertation research. A listing of those that fit your project can be obtained with an ISIS search at the Graduate School Research office. The Office of Research in the Graduate School is available to consult on research funding. All graduate studies are strongly encouraged to seek external funding for dissertation research. It will help with your resume, and it will make departmental funds more available to your colleagues.

The Robert W. Habenstein Dissertation Fellowship Fund

The Robert W. Habenstein Dissertation Fellowship Fund was established by Professor Robert W. Habenstein, a long-time, prominent faculty member in the department, who gave generously of his time by sponsoring graduate students and helping to advance their professional careers. “Hobby” passed away on July 19, 2011 although the fellowship continues in his memory, thanks to the generous and ongoing contributions by alums, family, friends and colleagues. A dissertation fellowship is awarded annually, on a competitive basis, to a deserving MU Sociology Department graduate student to help with expenses associated with writing their doctoral dissertation. To be eligible, students must be in the writing stage of their dissertation project and have the approval of their adviser. A call for applications will be issued in February, with applications due by March 15.

The Sociology Research and Training Awards for Graduate Students

The Department of Sociology at MU has initiated a small awards program of up to $500 to support dissertation research, travel to research sites, and participation in off-campus training programs. Awards should be directly connected to student professional development. This program should be treated as separate from conference remunerations. Awards will be made depending on availability of funds in any given year. There will be two proposal deadlines each year: October 15th and April 15th.

Eligible students are those who have completed the Ph.D. comprehensive examinations. Preference will be given to students who have not received the award previously. Applicants should submit the following documents to the Administrative Associate (Deborah Friedrich) for onward transmission to the Convener of the Graduate Students’ Awards Committee.

  1. CV.
  2. Grant proposal (750-1000 words). The advisor’s signature of approval should appear at the end of the proposal along with the student’s signature.
  3. Timeline for project
  4. Itemized budget
  5. Evidence of other funding sources where applicable

The Noel P. Gist Loan Fund

The late Professor Noel P. Gist established a loan fund for upper class undergraduate and graduate Sociology students to deal with short term emergencies and hardships. The fund is not intended for daily living expenses. A four person committee oversees the fund. Students wishing to apply for the fund must first meet with the Director of Graduate Studies. If s(he) agrees the need is consistent with the intention of the fund, the student can make an application stating the amount needed, the purpose of the loan, and their payback plan to the Graduate Admission Assistant. Copies of the application should be given to the Admissions and Placement Committee, who will approve or disapprove the request. Loans are for relatively small amounts.