Funding, Fellowships & Awards

MS and PhD students in Biological Sciences may receive financial support in several forms, ranging from departmentally administered teaching and research assistantships, to Graduate School-sponsored fellowships, and externally funded grands obtained by our faculty.

a graduate student uses a piece of equipment

Teaching Assistantships

Most entering M.S. and Ph.D. students are supported by graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs), for which they receive a 12-month stipend, full tuition waiver and single person health insurance allowance. The current 2022-2023 GTA stipend levels are $25,620 for M.S., M.M.S., and Ph.D. students.

M.A. students will not be considered for teaching assistantships and are expected to be self-financed or gain extramural funding to support their studies.

See The University of Alabama Graduate School application portal for a description of cost and financial aid.

Department-Administered Fellowships

Aquatic Ecology and Systematics Fellowships

These assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to both incoming and current Ph.D. students whose research foci are within the disciplines of Aquatic Ecology and Systematics. These assistantships include a full tuition waiver, single coverage health insurance and a competitive stipend. Students funded via these assistantships do not have teaching responsibilities. Incoming student awards are for a two-year term and current student awards are renewable up to three years, pending satisfactory annual reviews. Students interested in being considered for the Aquatic Ecology and Systematics Graduate Research Assistantships should request their research advisor submit a nomination.

E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Fellowships

Edward Osborne Wilson was an American biologist, naturalist, and writer, who spent his formative years in Alabama and earned his BS and MS in Biology at the University of Alabama in 1950. Often called the “father of sociobiology”, he had a long and illustrious career at Harvard University, authoring several bestselling books. The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to current graduate students who are participating in primary research that explores our world, with a focus on projects within the state of Alabama. These projects can encompass a range of disciplines but should focus on research that is conducted in the field. Additionally, students seeking the fellowship should share a desire to acquire expert knowledge of general biodiversity as well as specialties such as biogeography, botany, zoology, entomology, herpetology, and microbiology through traditional field methods and modern research techniques.

Competitive Fellowships Awarded by the Graduate School

These fellowships are awarded to applicants nominated by graduate programs. Information regarding requirements, application dates and award values for these fellowships can be reviewed at Graduate School Scholarships and Fellowships. Further details on the graduate fellowship nomination and awarding processes can be found in the Graduate Fellowships Process document.

  • The Graduate Council Fellowship
  • McNair Graduate Fellowships for McNair Scholars
  • National Alumni Association (NAA) License Tag Graduate Fellowship
  • Alumni Heritage Graduate Scholarship

External Sources of Funding for Travel and Research

Many scientific societies offer travel fellowships for graduate students, and grants and fellowships for research.

Graduate Prizes and Special Fellowships

Recipients of the following graduate fellowships and prizes are selected in the spring of each year from nominations submitted by the advisor of the graduate student based on criteria set forth in the award. The departmental Awards Committee reserves the right to not award any of the following if a truly qualified individual cannot be identified.

  • Inge and Ilouise Hill Research Fellowship: The Hill Fellowships were established through the generosity of Mrs. Inge Hill of Montgomery and her late husband to encourage research and scholarship in the Biological Sciences.  The fellowships are presented to outstanding graduate teaching assistants who are actively involved in research during the summer, who have been a fulltime GTA with teaching responsibilities for the two semesters prior to receiving the award and who have fulfilled all duties associated with a GTA including proctoring duties and participation in TAP.
  • Graham Prize: The Graham Prize was established by the late John Y. Graham, Professor and Head of the Department of Biology from 1897-1939, in honor of his wife Isabelle Hummel Graham. The prize is awarded to a graduate student based on academic achievement, research effort and quality of teaching.
  • Joab Langston Thomas Scholarship: This award is presented to an outstanding graduate student in biological sciences with preference for the botanical sciences, and who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, creativity and potential for becoming an outstanding scholar and teacher.
  • Ralph L. Chermock Prize: The Chermock Prize was established in memory of the late Dr. Ralph L. Chermock, Professor of Biology from 1947 to 1966 and Director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History from 1960-1966. The prize is presented each year to the most outstanding graduate student in natural history and evolutionary biology.
  • Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student in Biological Sciences: This award, established in 1994, is presented to the Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student in Introductory Biology for Majors Laboratory (BSC 115, 117, 118 or 120) in the fall semester and spring semester, as determined by student teaching evaluations.