Financial Resources and Support

Full tuition waiver and stipend support for graduate study are available as fellowships, associate instructorships (AIs) and research assistantships (RAs). All applicants are considered for support and for nomination for fellowships. Students admitted with guaranteed support as AIs or fellows receive a two or four (sometimes five) year financial commitment for M.S. or Ph.D. degrees, respectively. The form of support may vary from year to year; thus, students admitted with fellowships may act as AIs or RAs in subsequent years. All awards are contingent on satisfactory progress toward the degree goal and fulfillment of teaching and/or research responsibilities.

Evaluation of applicants for admission occurs concurrently with consideration for funding. Students may be admitted to the M.S. program with or without financial support. Applicants are only admitted to the Ph.D. program with support, or with the sponsorship of a faculty member. The sponsorship implies that the faculty member will assist the student in seeking support from external sources and will supervise his or her research. It reflects a strong commitment from the faculty sponsor to act as an advocate for the student. All students admitted without support can apply for departmental funds on a semester-by-semester basis, but are normally required to complete at least one semester in the graduate program before support is awarded.

The availability of Associate Instructor (AI) positions depends on existing commitments and on the amount of support for applicants from other sources. Each year the Committee For Graduate Study makes financial offers to admissible applicants with the aim of balancing acceptances with available funds. In some instances applicants may be assured of funding although the precise source (and sometimes amount of stipend) may depend on the success of departmental nominations for fellowships. The timing of offers is influenced by several factors, especially visits from applicants.

Both the Department and the College of Arts and Sciences provide competitive awards for research funding, espeically summer support. Many students also apply for and receive grants from national organizations, including GSA, the Paloeontological Society, AAPG, and Sigma Xi. Additional support may also come in the form of summer internships; several students typically receive such positions with petroleum companies each year.

Acceptance of Financial Offers

A national agreement among universities allows applicants until April 15 to formally accept or decline offers of support. Any financial offer stands until that date. Also, no institution can require an applicant to finalize his or her decision prior to April 15. Thus, confirmation of the status of pending offers on April 15 often affords the opportunity to extend financial support to additional applicants. However, departmental resources are rarely sufficient to support all applicants admitted to graduate degree programs.

Most departmental financial support is committed during recruitment efforts in the Spring, although AI positions do occasionally become available at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters, typically when students supported as AIs transfer to RA support.


The Department nominates well-qualified applicants for prestigious, competitive, campus-wide fellowships (e.g., Chancellor’s, Women-in-Science, Dean’s Minority, and Ronald E. McNair Fellowships), and for other graduate research fellowships. The Department also awards fellowships, often in specific research areas, that are sponsored by corporate gifts. Fellowships typically permit focus on coursework and research activities without teaching or other intructional rsponsibilities in the first year.

Grassman Fellowship in Clay Mineralogy

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University offers the Grassmann Fellowship in Clay Mineralogy. The kinetics, thermodynamics, and surface properties of clay minerals play a significant role in some of society’s mega-environmental enterprises, such as geological disposal of high-level nuclear wastes, geological storage of carbon dioxide to mitigate global warming, and remediation of contaminated soils and groundwater. This competitive Fellowship is open to doctoral-level candidates in the general area of clay mineralogy and carries a tuition waiver plus a stipend, renewable on a yearly basis for up to 3 years. The Fellowship also includes a budget for research and travel expenses. The successful candidate for this fellowship will conduct research of her or his own choosing in the broad area of clay mineralogy in consultation with the supervising faculty advisor. Indiana University has outstanding facilities including X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, and traditional and non-traditional stable isotope analytical facilities. Preference will be given to students with a strong quantitative background. Interested students should contact Professor Chen Zhu.

Associate Instructorships

AIs undertake up to 20 hr/week of teaching or lecturing responsibilities, typically in laboratory classes or discussion sessions for introductory geology courses. A training session is held annually at the beginning of the Fall semester to prepare and familiarize AIs with the requirements and responsibilities of these positions. University policy requires international students whose native language is not English to pass a test in English proficiency prior to any AI appointment involving classroom teaching. Such tests, involving oral and written examinations, are held in Bloomington several times during the year. Entering students whose native language is not English are expected to pass this test during their first semester in residence, and to thereby become eligible for continued AI support. In exceptional cases, this examination can be waived for students whose educational training has been in English.

Departmental AIs receive a stipend and tuition fees for 30 credit hr/year. Students are responsible for unremittable fee charges and fees levied for student activities, health, technology and transportation charges. Student AI stipends are for 10 months (i.e., Fall and Spring semesters) and may be supplemented during the summer by research funds.

Research Assistantships

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.

Student Travel Fellowships

Every fiscal year, each graduate student is eligible for one Department Travel Fellowship to assist with conference travel. They must be presenting a poster or paper to receive this award. The award varies, depending on the location of the conference, generally $200 - $500. Here is the form to apply for a travel fellowship.

Grant Sources for Students

Department of Geological Sciences Endowed Funds.

GradGrants center on campus.

GSA Grants page. Includes forms and instructions.

AAPG home page, with links to its Grants-in-Aid program.

Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of research programs. Membership not required.

Mineralogical Society of America Grant for student research in mineralogy and petrology.

Paleontological Society. Grants open to members only.

Society for Vertebrate Paleontology's awards page with links to applications.

American Geological Institute. Search on "student grants."

Tobacco Root Geological Society. Scholarships supporting research in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

NSF Geoscience Page

National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowships

NASA Research opportunities

SEPM Grants

American Chemical Society - Petroleum Research Fund Grants.