Admissions

Research Assistantships (RA's) and Course Assistantships (CA's)

Research Assistants

Aero/Astro research assistantships are usually considered part of a long-term commitment to doctoral-level research, so it is rare for an incoming student to receive an RA offer in this department.  The research assistants are selected by individual faculty members, who will usually have worked together with the student in one or more courses, and in some directed study, before deciding on an RA appointment. Salaries are set by the faculty member according to department standards, within limits set by the University and School. Generally, salaries are highest for students who have passed the Qualifying Exams, and lowest for those who have not received the M.S. degree.

Most Aero/Astro RA's are half-time positions.  During the academic year, assistantship appointments may not exceed this level, which means 20 hours/week of paid work.  (The other "half" of the time is courses and/or research units.)  In summer, some labs will allow 75% or 90% RA appointments, with correspondingly higher salaries.

Students also receive a significant tuition allowance, described below.

Aero/Astro Course Assistants

Are assigned by the department in the early summer for the following academic year. Application information for Course Assistantships will be posted by the A/A Student Services Office in the spring quarter. Applicants are expected to have taken and done well in the course in which they will assist. Aero/Astro CA's usually are 50% appointments (20 hours/week); salaries are set by the University, and are roughly comparable to RA's. Current Information about Aero/Astro Course Assistantships and an Application Form are available.

Aero/Astro students may also serve as course assistants in other departments. A student who feels qualified to assist in graduate or undergraduate courses in another Stanford department may contact that department to ask how to apply for any available positions. (Each department at Stanford may set its own priorities and procedures for hiring assistants. The pay scales will be fairly consistent, however.)

Students also receive a significant tuition allowance, described below.

Tuition Allowance

Students with assistantships receive tuition allowances in addition to their monthly salaries. A 50% RA or CA has the tuition bill reduced to the eight- to ten-unit rate; this tuition for 8-10 units is fully paid for by the assistantship.

Note: For Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters, graduate students who are not on TGR status must be enrolled for at least 8 units in order to receive any tuition allowance.

RA's and CA's with a less-than-50% appointment receive a proportionally smaller tuition allowance. They may accept more than one RA/CA appointment in the same quarter, as long as the combined percentage does not exceed 50%. The student will receive both salaries and a tuition grant based on the combined percentage. For example, if they total 50%, the tuition allowance will be 8-10 units and the bill will be adjusted accordingly.

Tutition allowance for summer quarter assistantships of over 50% will match the number of units (between 1 and 10 units) in which the student enrolls. Students with the maximum 90% summer appointment will receive tuition allowance at the one- to three-unit level.