The Scholarship Committee met on January 17 to discuss whether students in the accelerated MS program should be eligible for Microbiology department scholarships.
We recognize that students in the accelerated MS program meet different admissions criteria than do students in our traditional MS and PhD programs. Also, expectations for coursework, lab performance, and teaching differ between the programs. Tartar Foundation guidelines1 stipulate that students must have current graduate status as either a Teaching Assistant (GTA) or Research Assistant (GRA). According to Graduate School guidelines2, self-funded students in an accelerated MS program are not accepted as GTAs and are not considered GRAs. For these reasons, we feel accelerated MS students do not belong in the same pool with traditional MS and PhD students. We feel two sets of criteria and separate funding sources are required.
The committee offers several recommendations for the department to consider.
- Accelerated MS students are not eligible for a “student support” Tartar award, but might be included in a “pilot project” Tartar proposal from a faculty mentor. We realize that computationally focused mentors may require student support, rather than reagents and supplies, for their pilot projects.
- Up to one Tartar award per year should be available for an accelerated MS student.
- Other funding streams to support accelerated MS students are desirable. For example, funds ($15,000) generated through graduation of an accelerated MS student might be used to support new students entering the accelerated MS program. We do not know whether the institution will add $15,000/MS to our extant budget, or whether concurrent cuts in other budget items will make the $15,000/MS revenue neutral, which may preclude adopting this option.
We feel strongly that the entire department should consider this matter and reach a consensus collectively.
Walt Ream, Janine Trempy, Andrew Thurber
1 N. L. Tartar Research Fellowships, Item 5.A.b.1.
2 According to Martin Schuster’s research regarding accelerated MS students, “AMP students can be either self-funded or GRAs, but they are generally not accepted as GTAs. Presumably, self-funded students would not be considered GRAs, because students on external fellowships are not considered GRAs either. As Mary found, they are in an entirely separate category.