How Physics Grad Students are Paid

How are physics graduate students paid?

All graduate students are paid near the end of each month, for that current month. Check the Payroll Calendar under "Grad Student Pay Date" for exact dates. The first payday of the academic year is in late October, the last is late June. The summer pay period begins in late July.

Caltech Fellowship recipients and some external fellowships such as the NSF are paid in twelve equal monthly installments. Research assistants (GRAs) are paid in twelve equal monthly installments during the academic year and summer. First year Teaching assistants (TAs) are paid in nine equal monthly installments during the academic year from a combination of teaching assistantship funds and department fellowship funds, and three equal installments of a department reading fellowship over the summer. A reading fellowship requires that you register for 36 units of a reading course (Ph 171), or research with a faculty member, and remain on campus over the summer. Continuing Teaching Assistants are paid a TA salary in nine equal monthly installments at the standard TA rate and supplemented by their advisor with a small GRA during the academic year, plus a GRA over the summer in most cases. Teaching assistants are expected to find an advisor by the end of their first year who can provide the GRA supplement. All graduate students are required to be registered for 36 units of research or reading with a faculty member for all three academic terms as well as the summer.

GRA and TA stipends increase modestly each academic year and financial aid is usually renewed provided the student is in good standing with the Institute, meaning current registration, on track with requirements, passing courses, etc. It is also possible to combine GRAs, TAs and certain fellowships for additional funding beyond the first year with advisor approval. Graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of the automatic payroll deposit option, the forms are available in the Payroll Department. Paycheck receipts will be available online when email notification is sent on the designated payday for each month. Live checks will need to be picked up at the post office window in Keith Spalding, building #6.

What are the typical GRA, GTA and Fellowship stipends?

For the 2016-2017 academic year, standard GRA and GTA stipends are $31,200 over twelve months. TA duties are only required during the nine month academic year. The stipend will continue over the summer for first year graduate students as a summer reading fellowship for three months. Most Caltech Fellowships are $34,000 over twelve months, and most Physics Department Fellowships are $34,000 over twelve months. Summer reading fellowships for first year TAs will be paid over the three summer months at the same monthly rate as the combined TA and department fellowship salary paid during the academic year. National Science Foundation Fellowship (NSF) stipends are currently $34,000 over twelve months for three years.