2 answers

How do students pursuing a PhD working in research earn money?

Asked San Mateo, California

I'm interested in getting a PhD in biomedical science, but I'm not sure how to earn money working as a researcher while still having to pay for school. #research #biomedical #phd #medical-research #biomedical-science #science-phd

2 answers

Keith’s Answer

Updated

Tom explained this nicely. To add one more point, you won't receive a tuition bill, your advisor will. Doing a PhD is less like school as you've experienced so far, and more like working for a small company run by your advisor. The advisor pays your tuition to the university from his or her grant funding, along with what the university charges as overhead. It's almost as if each research group is a franchise, and the university charges a fee so that researchers can use their brand name.

As others have pointed out, schools will describe their stipends, which are designed to cover your living expenses and do so comfortably but simply. They also provide some sort of health care benefits. Serving as a TA is usually required. And, NIH or NSF fellowships can increase both your stipend and provide funding for your research. These fellowships are competitive, so obtaining one is also good for your C.V.

Updated
Thank you so much for your answer! I'm much more clear on this topic now.

Tom’s Answer

Updated Fremont, California

Most universities will offer Ph.D. students a combination of fellowships and teaching stipends to cover the cost of the Ph.D. program. The fellowships and stipends should cover most, if not all, of the cost of the program. When you are accepted to a Ph.D. program, the acceptance will include an explanation of the financial terms you are being offered and then you can decide if the offer will provide enough for your situation.

Updated
I totally back this up, and will say that hard science programs (as opposed to social science) typically treat their grad students very well. You won't get rich, but at least in the Midwest it is possible to live comfortably if simply on the teaching stipend. I would recommend that you always consider the program/department you are interested in first, but keep in mind what kind of package they will provide. Sometimes they will only provide (or guarantee) a certain number of semesters of support. And most if not all areas of research have competitive fellowships you can apply for. These might be through NIH, NSF or other funding agencies. If you get one of these, they might pay for your research, your stipend, or both, which could free you up from teaching.
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Thank you so much for both of your answers! They definitely cleared that matter up for me.
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