Financial Support

What is my financial support package?

We are interested in students eager to obtain a high-quality graduate education, not financial investors. Moreover, we believe our graduate students should be concentrating on their research, not on trying to pay the rent. Therefore, our comprehensive package support students throughout their graduate careers. Features of our package include the following:

A competitive stipend. As of Fall 2016, the normal level of support is $27,761/year; the stipend amount typically increases by about 3-5% each year. Given Pittsburgh's low cost of living, this is a very comfortable income. For the first two semesters, this support is provided by the Department, independent of any teaching or research commitment. After the first two semesters, the student is usually supported by their faculty research advisor. Compensation is also provided during two semesters of training as a teaching assistant.

Health insurance. You're covered. The University of Pittsburgh provides excellent health insurance options, providing every student with complete medical coverage free of charge; supplementary dental and vision plans are also available. Rather than being limited to physicians at a student health service, every students is free to choose her/his own primary care physician. Moreover, spouses and children can be included in our medical plans at very reasonable costs.

Tuition waivers. Graduate tuition can be expensive. In our program, you will pay no fees; your tuition is paid in full each and every semester. Depending on your course load and residency status, this benefit can amount to more than $11,200 per semester.

Transportation waivers. With much thought to the future, the University of Pittsburgh has arranged for free transportation throughout Allegheny county via the PAT bus system. Any bus - any time, any where - is free, including those to downtown or to the airport. This benefit saves students the cost of monthly bus passes of parking permits.

Fellowship opportunities. There are many fellowship opportunities that provide for financial compensation, as well as provide excellent additions to a glowing CV (that's science talk for resumé). In addition, several research support awards are available to assist students in conducting research at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology.

How far does my stipend dollar go?

Rent. Graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences pay between $200 and $600 per month for 2-4 bedroom apartments located within walking distance of the Department.

Transportation Recall that travel on all buses is free. If you need to drive your own car, parking in the Oakland area is relatively inexpensive for urban areas, and monthly parking passes cost about $55, or less than $2 a day.

Cost of living. Pittsburgh is consistently rated one of America's most livable cities due, in part, to its very low cost of living. A 1997 Money Magazine survey shows that Pittsburgh has one of the lowest costs of living for a city of this size. More recently, a 2004 survey of cities around the world showed Pittsburgh as the least expensive metropolitan area (in the US) in which to live. And the Economist ranked Pittsburgh as its most livable city (in the contonental US) in  2004, 2009 and 2014.

Taken together, our graduate students don't have financial worries while continuing their education and training, and have a great place to live!