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. Some governmental and private agencies also fund dissertation research. 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 given five years of support provided they maintain adequate progress. A sixth year may be given depending on student perfromance and departmenal needs.

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. 

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 25 for financial assistance will 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

Some 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. 

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 20, 2020.

The Sociology Research and Training Awards for Graduate Students

The Department of Sociology at MU offers competitive awards to graduate students for research support and professional development, broadly defined. Examples include, but are not limited to, travel to research sites, data purchase, compensation for subjects, professional services for survey implementation, and attending methods training courses. Awards should be directly connected to student professional development. This program should be treated as separate from conference remunerations.

The total value of the awards will be up to $7,000 annually and will be made depending on availability of funds in a given year. Individual proposals may request up to $3,500. Proposals will be ranked by the Awards Committee based on merit and funded accordingly.

Application due date: March 20, 2020.

All students are eligible to apply for these awards but preference will be given to those who have completed the Ph.D. comprehensive examinations and to students who have not received the award previously. Applicants should submit the following documents to the Administrative Associate (Andrew Elmore) for transmission to the Convener of the Graduate Students’ Awards Committee.

  1. CV
  2. Abstract (250 word limit)
  3. Proposal (750-1000 words). The advisor’s signature of approval should appear at the end of the proposal along with the student’s signature.
  4. Timeline for project
  5. Itemized budget
  6. Evidence of other funding sources where applicable

(Items a and d-f are not included in the word limit)

Upon completion of a funded project, students must submit a progress report and receipts for funded expenses. The final progress report should include a statement of progress on the aims as stated in the proposal and a description of any publications, conference presentations, or other research activity that resulted from the funded work. This report should be submitted to Andrew Elmore.

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.