OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Paying for your graduate education in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society

Fellowships and Scholarships: Graduate School Programs | College of Forestry | Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
Graduate Student Travel Support
External Programs

Students fund their graduate educations in many different ways.  This document describes the most common sources of funds for supporting graduate studies in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society (FES) and the process to apply for different types of support.  Completing a graduate program requires two types of funds – funds to pay for expenses such as housing, food, miscellaneous items, tuition, and textbooks and other course related materials; and funds to cover thesis or dissertation research related expenses.  Few, if any, students have their own financial resources to cover all of these expenses.  Consequently, most students require some type of financial support to complete their graduate degree programs.  

The majority of graduate student support comes through grants, contracts, and agreements to individual faculty members from a variety of agencies and organizations.  These funds are associated with specific research projects and often include a partial or full graduate student stipend, as well as some operational funds to complete the project.  Many grants, contracts, and agreements also include tuition or tuition remission and partial or full payment of student fees so that students do not have to pay these expenses.  Students supported on a grant, contract, or agreement typically receive a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) of 0.20-0.49 full time equivalent (FTE).  The proportional FTE determines the monthly hours worked and amount the student is paid based on a 1.0 FTE amount that is set by the College of Forestry and Graduate School. 

GRA stipends are similar to salaries, and include health insurance.  GRA stipends are subject to taxes and are provided to cover a student’s living and course related expenses.  The GRA stipend usually pays the student to work on a project that may be part of their thesis or dissertation research.   Essentially, the GRA stipend allows the student time to complete their coursework and research project by providing the financial resources needed to meet basic living expenses.  The assignment is usually to complete a specific research project(s).  Due to the typical progression of many research projects, the exact amount of time a student spends on their research project per week may fluctuate during the course of a year.  Most grants, contracts, and agreements have additional funds that cover operational expenses associated with completing a research project such as travel, supplies, and minor equipment.  Prospective students can learn about potential opportunities for GRA support by contacting individual faculty in their area of interest. 

The FES Department has no official Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA), but there are several opportunities to serve as a teaching assistant.  Teaching assistants are paid as a GRA even though the responsibilities are to assist in teaching a class.  Opportunities that are available are associated with specific courses and faculty members who teach those courses.  They are often associated with courses that attract and/or are required for a large number of students.  Funds provided through a GRA for teaching assistants are typically at the 0.20 FTE level (8 hours / week).  They are similar in all respects to the GRAs described in the previous paragraph except responsibilities to fulfill the assignment are to assist in teaching a class.  Current and prospective students can learn about GRA teaching opportunities that might be available by contacting individual faculty who teach courses of interest to them. 

In addition to GRA support, a number of competitive scholarships and fellowships can help fund graduate studies.  Scholarships and fellowships are administered at three levels at OSU: the Graduate School, College of Forestry, and FES Department.  Also, many scholarships and fellowships external to the university are administered by other agencies and organizations.  The FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee identifies and selects recipients for all departmental awards, and nominees for College and most Graduate School awards.  The FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee reviews applications for College and Graduate School awards, recommends nominees to the FES Department Head, and works with the Department Head, student nominees, and their major professors to prepare nomination materials for submission to the College and Graduate School Committees that select recipients.   Students cannot nominate themselves and major professors cannot nominate their students directly to the College or Graduate School Committees.  The following sections provide further information on scholarships and fellowships available within OSU and external to OSU.

Graduate School Programs

Many Graduate School administered programs provide scholarships and fellowships, but most have specific criteria for consideration or are highly competitive. These programs can be found at the following website: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/grad_school/fellowships.php

It is the responsibility of students and their major professors to identify any of these programs for which a student may qualify.  Please read the criteria for consideration for each of these programs carefully to determine if you qualify and if you would be a competitive nominee.  If you wish to be nominated by the FES Department for one of these programs or if you are the major professor of a student who you would like to nominate for one of these programs, you must contact the FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee at least four weeks before the advertised deadline for the program.  This lead time is required for the committee to evaluate potential nominees and for the student and their major professor to prepare complete nomination packets including all letters of recommendation.  Deadlines for some programs are near the beginning of February and others are as late as early June.  The FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee screens all potential nominees and makes recommendations to the FES Department Head.  The only exception to this policy is for Graduate Student Travel Awards administered by the Graduate School.  To be nominated for one of these awards, students should contact the FES Graduate Program Director or Graduate Program Coordinator at least one week prior to the award deadline.

College of Forestry Scholarships and Fellowships

A number of scholarships and fellowships are awarded by the College of Forestry. The College of Forestry Fellowship Committee selects recipients for these awards. More information and the process for applying for these awards can be found at the following website: http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/fellowships

Each department within the College can nominate a fixed number of new and continuing students as specified by the College Fellowship Committee.  The FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee selects new and continuing students in the department to nominate for these College awards.  New, incoming students must be accepted by the FES Department before the deadlines listed in the table at the end of this document to be nominated for these awards.  There are two rounds of nominations for College awards.  The deadline for the first round is near the end of January and only new incoming students can be nominated during this round.  The deadline for the second round is at the beginning of April when new and continuing students can be nominated.  The FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee needs as much information as possible about the background, experience, and qualifications of students to make informed nominations to the College Committee for these awards.  Often, the student’s file in the FES Department office does not contain all of the relevant information to determine who is most qualified for these awards.  Therefore, the committee now requires that students who wish to be considered submit a complete up-to-date CV along with a draft application following the College guidelines (see the above website) for use in identifying nominees for College awards.  Accomplishments since arriving at OSU should be highlighted in bold print or by some other method that clearly distinguishes them from accomplishments prior to arriving at OSU.  The draft application should include Application Form B, letter of application, resume of OSU accomplishments in bold, and letter of endorsement from the major professor.   For consideration during the first round, CV’s and draft applications should be submitted by January 5th; for consideration during the second round, CV’s and draft applications should be submitted by March 4th.

Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society Scholarships and Fellowships

The FES Department awards several scholarships and fellowships each year.  These awards are usually presented at the annual FES Awards Ceremony near the end of spring term.  As with College awards, the FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee needs as much information as possible about a student’s past accomplishments to make fair and informed decisions when selecting students for awards.  Therefore, the committee now requires that students who wish to be considered submit an up-to-date CV for use in identifying departmental scholarship and fellowship recipients.  Accomplishments since arriving at OSU should be highlighted in bold print or by some other method that clearly distinguishes them from accomplishments prior to arriving at OSU.  CV’s should be submitted by April 15th to receive full consideration for departmental awards.  If a CV was submitted for consideration for College awards (see above), there is no need to submit an additional CV for departmental awards unless it contains new information.  FES Department awards include the following:

  • James H. Dukes, Jr. Graduate Fellowship – returning PhD students in forest ecology
  • Robert F. Tarrant Graduate Fellowship – full-time graduate students with programs in hardwood ecology and silviculture
  • Harry and Mildred Fowells Fellowship – graduate student studying tree physiology and/or genetics
  • Catherine G. Bacon Graduate Fellowship – female graduate student in forest ecology or silviculture
  • FES Graduate Student Achievement Awards – MS and PhD – graduate student with major professor in FES
  • Social Science Graduate Student Award – graduate student in FES primarily studying social sciences

Graduate Student Travel Support

Presenting research results and interacting with colleagues at professional meetings are important parts of all graduate programs.  Often, there are some funds available in grants, contracts, and agreements to individual faculty that support graduate student travel to meetings to present results from the funded project.  However, there are several other sources of support for travel to meetings that can supplement project funds and are available to graduate students in the FES Department.  These programs include the following: 

First, the Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) Human Resources Service Center (HSRC) offers a conference registration subsidy.  This program covers up to $150 toward the cost of registration.  A link to the application for this program can be found on this webpage: http://oregonstate.edu/hsrc/resources

Second, the Graduate School administers a Graduate Student Travel Award program to “… provide graduate students with financial support to cover part of the cost of attending and presenting their scholarly achievements at prestigious conferences and venues.”  To be nominated for one of these awards, students should contact the FES Graduate Program Director or Graduate Program Coordinator at least one week prior to the award deadline.  A full description of this program can be found at the following website: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/grad_school/travel.php

Third, the FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee administers the Richard and Doris Waring Graduate Student Travel Award program.  Guidelines for submitting an application for support from this program are available at the following website: http://fes.forestry.oregonstate.edu/waring-travel-grant-program

External Programs

In addition to fellowship and scholarship programs within OSU, there are many other external programs administered by organizations or agencies.  Students may apply directly to these organizations and agencies for these fellowships and scholarships.  A partial list of these opportunities is provided by the OSU Graduate School at the following website: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/grad_school/externalfellowships.php

The OSU Library also offers assistance in searching for and applying to programs external to OSU.

If you have any questions about sources of support for your graduate program, you should direct those to your major professor or the Chair of the FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee.

Summary of deadlines for various sources of graduate student support:

Program Deadline for receipt of materials by FES Fellowship and Scholarship Committee
Graduate School Administered Programs Four weeks prior to advertised deadline for the program on the Graduate School website
College of Forestry, Round 1 (new students) January 5 (only students accepted by this date can be nominated)
College of Forestry, Round 2 (new and continuing students) March 4 (only students accepted by this date can be nominated)
FES Department Fellowships and Scholarships April 15
Richard and Doris Waring Graduate Student Travel Award Program March 1 and November 1