Funding & Advisors

How to Find Funding

If you have just arrived or are about to arrive, the Department has probably already told you your funding status. Most people who enter begin as teaching assistants (TAs), with the odd few beginning as research assistants (RAs). Some are given funding through fellowships or other programs such as VIGRE. This blurb is geared more at those whose funding is drying up or who just want to switch to an RA.

Current funding sources are listed on the department's funding page.

Tips to finding an RA:

  • Check the research opportunities page. This has a list of the current and pending research assistantships in the Department.
  • Check the department's main funding page which contains an archive of emails regarding funding opportunities in and out of the department.
  • Watch your email for RA positions inside or outside the department. A lot of students have RA positions which are at least partly centered outside the department.
  • Talk to faculty members with whom you would be interested in working, they may be able to fund you.

If you are interested in taking a TA or instructor position, contact the graduate program coordinator [an error occurred while processing this directive].

Grants and Funding Information Service (GFIS), located in Suzzallo Library, assists UW graduate students in their search for information about financial opportunities available outside the University of Washington. See their website at, email them at, or call at 206-616-3084.

Assistantship Responsibilities.

Each RA or TA position has different responsibilities. Ask your TA or RA advisors if you're not sure.

Students to be supported as TAs during Winter and/or Spring Quarters should be sure to register for their classes as early as possible so that conflicts between their courses and their TA sections can be avoided or at least minimized. Specifically, during Fall and/or Winter Quarters, students should register for their courses during Enrollment Period I. Later course changes that conflict with TA assignments will be accommodated if possible, but this cannot be guaranteed.

How to Find an Advisor

If you know what area you want to work in, talk to the faculty members who work in this area to see if they would be willing to advise you. To find out which faculty work in the area, check the faculty directory, ask fellow students, or some other person in the department.

If you don't know what area you want to work in,

  • Consider approaching faculty members for a chat about their research. Corner them at social gatherings or meet them in their office. Ask to take a reading course with them if you want to know more about their field (this usually involves reading some papers).
  • Attend special topics courses which are generally more topic specific that your regular grad classes.
  • Attend seminars in other departments. Lists of other seminar series which may be of interest are here.
  • Think about what classes you enjoyed. If you enjoyed the applied sequences more then talk to Faculty members who work on applied problems.
  • Think about what faculty members you would enjoy working with.

Above all, make sure that you and your advisor are compatible in personalities and that you like your topic. A not-so-favorite topic but with a great advisor you like working with, may be better than having a great topic with an advisor you don't get along with. Also remember that your job after you graduate is partly determined by your topic.

Teaching Assistantship Selection

Statistics TA positions are reserved for supported Statistics PhD students. First-year PhD students are assigned to the elementary courses 220, 221, 311, 390 - they are free to make requests. More experienced students are assigned to the higher level courses such as 340-1-2, 421-3, 491, 502-4, 512-3, according to their familiarity with the material. Both the students and the instructors are welcome to submit requests, which we try to match.

If not enough Statistics PhD students are available, we turn to other students who have requested consideration for TA positions, usually Stat MS students, Biostat students, or students from other departments. Again, familiarity with the material is the most important requirement.