The Department offers financial assistance in the form of graduate assistantships. A graduate assistantship includes a monthly stipend and a full tuition scholarship. A student must be enrolled full time (for 12 credits or more) to be eligible for these awards. Assistantships are awarded for the academic year (August 15-May 15) and include a tuition scholarship. Stipends depend upon the student’s degree level and usually increase yearly. Out-of-state students holding a graduate assistantship become eligible for in-state tuition rates. A full-time graduate assistantship requires 20 hours per week of work and a half-time graduate assistantship requires 10 hours per week of work on assignments related to the teaching, research, or extension functions of the Department. Work assignments are made by the Department Head each semester and the student’s performance is evaluated by the faculty supervisor at the end of the semester. Assistantship stipends are taxable.
Financial aid decisions are made in early Spring. Past academic performance, academic background, professional potential, and communication skills as well as departmental need are considered in the selection process for awards.
Three types of assistantships are available. First, graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) are available in which the graduate student teaches one or more of the basic instruction courses. Second, GTAs that require the student to serve as a teaching assistant for one or more of the academic courses are available. Finally, graduate research assistantships (GRA) are available on a limited basis and are linked to specific grants secured by individual faculty members.
Students wishing to obtain financial assistance will be reviewed by the HNFE Graduate Committee in regard to their academic eligibility (QCA of 3.0 for M.S. candidates and QCA of 3.2 for Ph.D. candidates), satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements, satisfactory performance of assigned work on any previous graduate assistantship, and demonstrated interest in the academic life of this Department. Students failing to file a Program of Study within the defined limits (by the end of the second semester of course work) will be ineligible for renewal of financial aid. The semesters of eligibility for financial aid are defined below.
Students working on a M.S. degree are eligible for 4 semesters of support as a GTA (this total does not include summers). For Ph.D. students, 6 semesters or eligibility are allowed. For students who complete their M.S. degree at Virginia Tech then enter the Ph.D. program are eligible for 10 semesters of support. Those students fast-tracking to a Ph.D. degree are eligible for 10 semesters of support. The eligibility for GRA support is not limited except at the discretion of the faculty member holding the grant.
The Department also has a scholarship and fellowship programs available for qualified students. These include:
Hepler Summer Research Fellowships: Hepler Fellows are supported by the Margeret Ellen Carter Hepler Memorial Fund. The goal of the program is to provide worthy graduate students with financial support for the summer semester during which they can focus on their research. Contact the HNFE office for more information.
S.J. Ritchey Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship is administered through the Center for Gerontology. It is awarded annually to students majoring in foods, human nutrition, or international foods and nutrition, or whose research emphasis is in the area of human nutrition and aging. For more information contact Carlene Arthur, (540) 231-7657, email@example.com.