Research assistants (RAs) are research appointments funded from external sources controlled by a member of the faculty. They enable students to engage in original research related to their degree goals. RA appointments are primarily governed by the availability of external research grants. Funds may originate from various sources, including major funding agencies, federal or state organizations, independent funding agencies, or industrial corporations. The project director or principal investigator determines the duration of RA appointments and awards, which may be made to any applicant admitted to a degree program irrespective of any commitment of departmental support. Financial support may also be available for international students in the form of RAs, which do not require the English proficiency test.