Financial Assistance

Predoctoral Training Awards

Predoctoral Training Awards (stipends) will be awarded on a competitive basis. The amount of the stipend will be equivalent to the National Research Service Award as published on the NIH website for the year in which it is awarded (the 2005 amount is $20,772 per year). Four stipends are available.

Criteria considered in awarding these stipends include course grades (undergraduate, graduate or professional), class rank (if applicable), GRE scores, previous research experience, letters of recommendation, the applicant’s Statement of Purpose, and an interview (when applicable).

Decisions regarding allocation of stipends will be made by May 1st of each year, though decisions are often made far ahead of this date. When selecting stipend recipients, the committee looks at:

  • GRE scores
  • Excellence in undergraduate achievement
  • Quality and quantity of prior science courses and GPA
  • Quality of undergraduate institution
  • Competitive academic honors and awards
  • Prior research experience
  • Relevance of students goals to the research focus of existing faculty within the Department
  • Personal statement, curriculum vitae and reference letters
  • Interview with GPAC members (Conducted in person or by telephone conference call)

Initial stipend awards will be made for a period of two years, with the second year of funding contingent upon:

  1. Attaining a GPA of 3.0 in the core curriculum
  2. Satisfactory rate of progress in the program as judged by the major advisor and the student’s graduate program committee
  3. Evidence of efforts to secure other sources of funding
  4. Budgetary considerations of the major advisor and the department

Departmental stipends are intended to be used for the year in which they are awarded and not to be divided to provide funding to a student for a time period longer than one year. It is anticipated that the student’s major advisor will be responsible for funding the remainder of the student’s graduate program.

In addition to the stipend, recipients are eligible for a Graduate Student Support Program (GSSP) fee waiver, which will waive resident or non-resident educational fees (tuition). The amount of the fee waiver per year for a full-time graduate student (9 credit hours per fall and winter semesters, 4 credit hours in summer) is approximately $5,205.20 for a Missouri resident and $14,058.00 for a non-resident.

The GSSP fee waiver does not cover the incidental fees, which include, but are not limited to, health, activity, information technology, and supplemental fees. This amount averages $270.00 for a full-time graduate student per semester, not including the specific departmental supplemental fees.

An additional benefit associated with this award is that students are eligible for the Graduate Medical Insurance Subsidy Program, which subsidizes the premium cost of the MU Accident and Sickness Insurance. The insurance is voluntary, but if a student decides to enroll in the MU insurance, he/she will be eligible to have the full premium cost of the insurance covered by the university.

Faculty Sponsorship

Incoming students are also occasionally hired directly by faculty members to serve as Graduate Research Assistants. Faculty members decide on a stipend amount, and if it is at or above the amount required by the GSSP ($12,200/year), the student will also receive a full tuition waiver and be eligible for health insurance. These awards are contingent upon the needs and funds of faculty members each year.

Life Sciences Fellowship Program

The Department of Life Sciences has a fellowship program that awards its recipients with a stipend of $21,000 (2004 amount) a year for up to four years. Recipients of these awards also receive the GSSP benefits described above. Applicants cannot apply directly for this fellowship program, though. The Department of Biomedical Sciences will review the applications that are submitted, and from those applications, a committee will then decide which applicants to nominate for Life Sciences Fellowships. Our office must recommend students to the Life Sciences Department by February 15, 2006. More information can be found at:

External Sources of Funds

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program

American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship Program