Applications for admission are considered throughout the year. Most students, however, begin their studies in the fall term. In some cases, early entrance is given in the summer session.
All full-time PhD students receive financial assistance from the University for 5 years as long as they are in good standing. This funding is extendable to 6 years in special circumstances. Most hold appointments as teaching assistants (TAs) or teaching fellows (TFs). A few are graduate student researchers (GSRs) or Andrew Mellon fellows. Most of the TA commitments are made as a fall/spring package. Summer support is dependent upon the teaching needs of the department during the summer term, so there is no guarantee of more than two terms of support per year. No University support is available to Master students.
The minimum monthly salary for a TA is presently \$2,141. Thus, a new TA can expect to receive \$17,130 for a two-term appointment and \$25.695 for three complete terms. In addition, TAs, TFs, and GSRs receive full tuition scholarships and health benefits. Teaching assistants and fellows are expected to work 20 hours per week in addition to the time required for course work and study.
The administration of TAs, TFs, and research assistantships is outlined in the University of Pittsburgh's Policy Statement for TAs/TFs and the Policy Statement for GSRs. In particular, TA and TF positions are reserved strictly for PhD students. MA and MS students may be offered graduate student researcher (GSRs) position depending on faculty needs.
Prospective students interested in admission and/or consideration for financial assistance should contact the department for the necessary application materials. Those wanting fall term appointments are strongly encouraged to return the completed forms by mid-January. However, applications arriving later are sometimes accepted. Finally, students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless they have already completed a degree program at an accredited U.S. institution. In addition, all students whose native language is not English and who have been appointed as teaching assistants must take the English Language Comprehensibility Test after their arrival.