Funding Your Graduate Degree

The UB Graduate School offers estimates of annual cost for attendance for New York State residents and non-resident (including international) students for master’s and PhD students. A full time load is considered 12.0 credits per semester (four courses).

Many UB students self-finance their graduate education, using their own resources and financial aid. Although the department wishes to help all students reach their educational goals, financial resources are limited. Funding opportunities within the Department of Sociology take four primary forms: teaching assistantships, research assistantships, department scholarships, and adjunct teaching positions. There are also a range of opportunities for motivated students to seek funding around campus or teaching positions with other colleges. 

PhD Funding Opportunities

  • Academic year stipends of $20,000 for all full-time, funded PhD students on 10-month academic teaching assistant, research assistant or graduate assistant appointments.
  • UB’s stipend levels are among the top five of public Association of American Universities (AAU) member institutions.
  • Additional Fellowship Opportunities:
    • Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program: To be eligible for a Schomburg Fellowship, candidates must contribute to the diversity of the student body, and can demonstrate that they have overcome a disadvantage or other impediment to success in higher education. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to receive Schomburg Fellowships.
    • Presidential Fellowships: To be eligible for Presidential Fellowships, candidates must meet the criteria listed on the Presidential Fellowship page. Both domestic and international students are eligible, if they meet these criteria. For any questions regarding funding for academic year 2020–2021, contact the director of graduate studies or department chair.

Teaching Assistantships

The department offers a very limited number of Teaching Assistantships (TAships) to incoming students. Teaching assistants work with faculty to teach one or more courses. Duties can vary, but frequently involve working with and tutoring students, leading recitations sections, grading, and sometimes delivering lectures. TAs who already have a master’s degree may be invited to teach their own courses.

TAs work about 20 hours per week and receive a tuition waiver, health insurance and a stipend for the nine-month academic year. Students are responsible for university fees. The value of the TAship is the entire financial package that includes all of those resources—stipends and benefits together—in return for an expectation of 20 hours of work during the specified period. Students are expected to be available, in residence, during the entire nine-month period that is covered by the stipend.

PhD students, and MA students who intend to continue on to the PhD, will be considered for a TAship if their applications and GRE scores are submitted by January 15. International students are eligible for TAships if they meet minimum standards for English Proficiency (see below). Please note, however, that funding decisions are made on a yearly basis and renewal is not automatic. The department has many more applicants than funded positions and typically funds only one or two incoming students per year. Terminal MA students are not eligible for TAships.

Applicants who are offered TAships might also be eligible for a Presidential fellowship. These fellowships are based on GRE scores (315 combined or higher plus 4.0 or higher on analytic writing) and GPA (3.4 or higher). Applicants who meet the cutoffs and complete their application before the January 15 deadline are automatically nominated for these fellowships by the department. These fellowships increase the amount of stipend money associated with TAships. We currently have five Presidential fellows in the department.

All international students who have been awarded assistantships must meet the university’s English language proficiency requirement (79 on the TOEFL), and must take the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) test with a score of 55 or higher upon arrival on campus. Registration for classes is only possible after passing the SPEAK test.

Research Assistantships

Faculty research projects supported by external funding (or internal grants) sometimes employ graduate student assistants to perform essential research functions. The number of these awards varies greatly from one year to the next. RA positions may also be available with faculty members in other UB departments, usually in the social sciences. Some RAships carry tuition waivers and stipends, others come with hourly pay. There is no standard RAship; they vary according to funding source, faculty member, and research needs.

Most faculty seek research assistants who show high levels of interest as well as competence in their sociology coursework, often asking for recommendations from other faculty. Since faculty typically prefer to work with students whose skill sets and work habits are familiar to them, research assistantships are not often awarded to first year students.

Read how current sociology research assistants found their positions!

Department Scholarships

The department has several small one-time scholarships available only for UB undergraduate students who are accepted into the master’s program and meet GPA standards. The department will consider a student with an overall GPA as low as a 2.8, but only if the student also has at least a 3.1 GPA in sociology. To be considered, students must submit their applications to the master’s program by January 15. 

The department also makes a small number of $7,500 one-time scholarships available for UB-SIM graduates who are accepted into our master’s or PhD program. Applications must be submitted by January 15 to be considered.

Adjunct Teaching (including UB's Singapore campus)

For students who have earned an MA in Sociology, the department may have adjunct teaching opportunities during regular semesters (on north campus and occasionally in Singapore) and summer/winter semesters, usually on north campus). Summer teaching opportunities are announced in the fall of each year, along with an application process for consideration for an adjunct appointment. If an eligible student is interested in teaching for the department during the academic year, they should contact the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

What is it like to teach in Singapore, and how do you potentially get the opportunity to teach as an adjunct instructor there? The first hurdle is to become an advanced PhD student with superior classroom skills. Read what three students have to say about the experience!

Funding Outside the Department

Sociology graduate students have been successful finding graduate assistantships and other paid positions outside of the department. Whenever the department learns of a position, the information is submitted to the graduate student listserv. Students are also encouraged to look for opportunities through Bullseye, the job search website maintained by UB's Career Services office, as they frequently post on-campus and off-campus positions. Successful students rarely wait for opportunities to present themselves--they work hard to seek out such opportunities, and they also make sure to market themselves appropriately for units that are hiring.

Graduate Assistantships
Examples of graduate assistant positions current students have found outside the department include:

  • Graduate Assistant, International Student Services
  • Graduate Assistant, Study Abroad Office
  • Graduate Assistant, Office of Inclusive Excellence
  • Graduate Assistant, Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy
  • Graduate Assistant, Center for Excellence in Writing
  • Graduate Assistant, Graduate Statistics Lab
  • Graduate Assistant, Center for Educational Innovation
  • Teaching Assistant, Interdisciplinary Degree Programs

Learn how recent students landed their graduate assistantships! 

Teaching Positions
Sociology graduate students have also found teaching positions outside the department, and adjunct positions may be available at other area institutions of higher education. Recent sociology graduate students have found adjunct teaching positions at a number of other local colleges and universities, including:

  • Daemon College
  • Buffalo State College
  • Erie Community College
  • Hilbert College
  • Villa Maria College
  • Medaille College
  • SUNY-Geneseo

Learn how recent students landing their teaching positions!

Social Innovation Fellowship
Sociology graduate students may also have the opportunity to participate in the new Social Innovation Fellowship summer program. After taking a week-long course in the business school on social innovation, sociology graduate students work on a team with an MBA student and an MSW student at a mission-driven community organization, where they collaborate to address pressing social issues to make an impact.

Learn about the department’s first Social Innovation Fellow! 

Department Awards

Adeline Gordon Levine Excellence in Teaching Award

The Adeline Gordon Levine Excellence in Teaching Award is a competitive award given to an outstanding graduate instructor of at least two undergraduate sociology courses. 

To be eligible, a graduate student must be enrolled full-time (or its equivalent) in the program, have taught at least two North Campus classroom-based sociology courses (one of which must be a semester-long course, and at least one of which must have been taught since in the past two years), receive a nomination from an undergraduate student, and submit supporting materials. 

Nomination Procedure
Eligible graduate students must be nominated by an undergraduate students. Undergraduate students should submit their nomination and a brief rationale for consideration to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. No self-nominations are accepted.

Members of the Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees will evaluate the nominees based on evidence of excellence in teaching activities. The recipient will receive a student membership to ASA; a membership to the ASA Teaching & Learning Section; a subscription to Teaching Sociology, and a cash award bestowed by Adeline Gordon Levine. Please note: The awardee is expected to attend the department’s graduation ceremony in May to receive the award.

Previous Winners

  • 2019: Yaqi Sam Yuan
  • 2018: Vinay Kumar
  • 2017: Matthew McLeskey
  • 2016: Jared Strohl
  • 2015: Kiera Duckworth
  • 2014: Daniel Nickolai
  • 2013: Jessica MacNamara

Nathalie Devine Howe Graduate Paper Award

The Nathalie Devine Howe Graduate Award is given annually to recognize outstanding work by master's- or doctoral-level sociology graduate students. Judge Barbara Howe, PhD, adjunct associate professor, and former associate professor in the UB Department of Sociology, established this award in 2009 in honor of her mother. 


  • Submissions must have a title and abstract, follow ASA style, be double-spaced in 12 point font, and not exceed 35 pages (including tables, appendices, and references).
  • Manuscripts must have been written while the author was a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at UB. Collaborative papers are eligible so long as all authors are current Sociology graduate students at UB.
  • Manuscripts may have been submitted for publication, published during the current academic year, accepted for publication, or not submitted for publication. Manuscripts published before the current academic year are not eligible.

Submission Procedure
Submissions must be emailed as a Word or PDF file to the Director of Graduate Studies by 5 p.m. on the second Monday in April (April 13, 2020). 

All submissions will be evaluated by the Graduate Studies committee. The winner(s) is required to receive the award in person at the department’s graduation ceremony in May. Upon submission, you must state that you will attend the ceremony to receive the award if your manuscript is selected as the outstanding paper. The award includes a monetary grant toward travel expenses to attend a professional meeting.

Previous Winners

  • 2019: Vinay Kumar, "When Heritage Meets Creativity: A Tale of Two Urban Development Strategies in Kampong Glam, Singapore"
  • 2018: Paul Durlak, “Constructing Fairness and the Meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act”
  • 2017: Jessica Hoffman, “‘Everybody Feels the Need to Offer You Advice When You’re Pregnant’: Evaluating the Character and Extent of Trust in Pregnancy Advice Among First-Time Moms”
  • 2016: Aysegul Balta Ozgen, “Organizational Mediation of Immigrant Integration:  Transnational Entrepreneurship and Integration with Difference”
  • 2015: Ashley Kranjac, “The Moderating Effect of Self-Efficacy on Normal-Weight, Overweight, and Obese Children’s Math Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis”
  • 2014: Sibo Zhao, “Mental Health after Childbirth: Growth Trajectories in Depressive Symptoms over Time”
  • 2013: Kiera Duckworth, “Moving Beyond the Racial Binary: Exploring the Racial Representations of Women in Sports Illustrated
  • 2012: Sarah H. Smith, “Scripting Sexual Desire: Cultural Scenarios of Teen Girls’ Sexual Desire in Popular Films, 2000-2009”
  • 2011: Cassi Meyerhoffer, “‘I Would Be Like a Grain of Salt in a Pepper Shaker’: Exploring Neighborhood Preferences Among White, Blacks, and Hispanics”
  • 2010: Jordan Willis, “Social Inequality and Attitudes Toward Euthanasia”
  • 2009: Elizabeth Roby, “Marginalized Patients in Emergency Medical Service: Provider Perspectives”

University Financial Aid and Assistance

Every year, several awards are made available to graduate students within the College of Arts and Sciences. Students who apply for and receive an assistantship remain eligible for these awards.

Fellowships and scholarships are among the most valuable forms of aid you can receive and are designed to support students who have exceptional academic records and potential, or demonstrate need.

Experience shows that students and families who take the time to understand their options benefit by receiving the maximum amount of eligible aid. The UB Financial Aid team is ready and willing to provide assistance as you navigate this process. 

The Office of Student Accounts provides up-to-date information on tuition and fees by semester. You can also receive walk-in assistance Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30am, at the Student Response Center, 1 Capen, North Campus.