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A variety of internal funding options are available in Purdue’s School of Communication. Most of this funding is provided through teaching assistantships.  With few exceptions, graduate students accepted into the program receive funding, contingent on fulfilling degree milestones and requirements.  In addition to the fellowships, assistantships, and grants listed below, there are also a number of external and internal funding options including other assistantships, fellowships, and travel grants.

  1. Teaching Assistantships
  2. Research Assistantships
  3. Fellowships
  4. Dissertation Grants
  5. Purdue Graduate School Financial Support
  6. Extended Funding
  7. CGSA Travel Grant Application

Teaching Assistantships

Most graduate students in the School of Communication have the opportunity to teach introductory and advanced level classes. Students typically begin teaching COM 114, our introductory communication course. Graduate teaching assistants play a critical role in the instructional development and teaching of this course. The school offers over 100 sections of this course each semester to approximately 3,000 students. It is the largest introductory course in the country.

To prepare you for your role as a COM 114 instructor, the course directors supply you with instruction on how to teach the course and a package of teaching materials which includes a common syllabus, text, examinations, graded assignments, and televised lectures. The availability of these teaching aids reduces the amount of preparation normally required to teach a course effectively.

During your second or third years as a graduate teaching assistant, you may have the opportunity to teach advanced-level classes, such as interviewing, small group communication, advanced public speaking, technical communication, or mass communication. The school offers a multitude of opportunities for experienced instructors to teach other lower-and upper-division courses, in addition to assisting professors with courses offered in large lecture format.

Most of our graduate students are funded as teaching assistants (TAs). Purdue University requires that we certify the oral English proficiency for any non-native English speaking student before we can offer to fund as a TA. The only evidence Purdue University will accept to document such proficiency before a student arrives on campus is a passing score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) exam. Hence, if you are a non-native English speaker and would like to receive a teaching assistantship, you must take and earn a passing score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) exam. Your TSE score should be sent to our school along with your application materials. More details on the TSE exam are available under “Applying to Purdue” and “FAQs

We are pleased with our teaching assistantship program. Through our teacher training sessions and the opportunity to teach a variety of classes, graduate students develop valuable skills for future academic experiences.

Teaching Load

Students who teach COM 114, the basic speech course, will teach only two sections per semester. The basic course syllabus is already designed for students, and there are extensive support and class materials available through course files, websites, and weekly meetings.


Funding is comparable to other Big Ten universities and peer institutions. Purdue University also offers a low-cost health insurance program for graduate students employed half-time or more.

Research Assistantships

Many graduate students in the School of Communication have an opportunity to work with faculty members in the school and in campus research centers on projects funded by various federal/state agencies, university labs/research centers and/or corporations. A number of Communication faculty members have strong records of external funding and employ graduate students in their research. We encourage graduate students to seek out these opportunities while at Purdue. Projects vary in terms of their scope, duration of funding, duties, etc. Discuss possible opportunities with your advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Funded research is an increasingly important component of our discipline.


W. Charles Redding Graduate Fellowship

Created by Professor Charles Redding’s friends, colleagues, and students across the United States, this endowment is designed to recognize and reward outstanding graduate students. Potential Ph.D. students who are interested in studying communication at Purdue University in areas related to Dr. Redding’s scholarship and teaching are eligible for this fellowship. The Redding Fellowship provides financial support during the summer after the recipient’s first year in the program. The fellowship pays the equivalent of teaching as a ½ time TA for two summer months. The fellowship allows the recipient to focus on research during his/her first summer in the program.

W. Charles Redding (1914-1994), a scholar renowned for his work in rhetoric, organizational communication, and ethics was a professor of Communication at Purdue University from 1955-1994. From his first article, “Speech and Human Relations,” published in 1937, through his final works on ethics in organizational communication, Professor Redding was always concerned with the pragmatic and social consequences of messages in organizational contexts. During his career at Purdue W. Charles Redding directed over forty dissertations. He was a dedicated and outstanding teacher, scholar, and mentor.

All graduate students who apply to the School of Communication for fall admission by January 1st will be considered for the Redding Fellowship.

Fellowships available through Purdue University

Applicants may be nominated by the school for a number of university fellowships. These generally provide one to two years of financial support to free up time for coursework and scholarship. Students are encouraged to apply for admission early so that they may be considered for these opportunities. Additionally, a number of fellowships exist for which students can apply through the Graduate School.

Dissertation Grants

Doctoral students may be nominated for both summer and year-long Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) grants. These grants provide funding for students to concentrate on their dissertation. Six to twelve doctoral students receive summer PRF grants each year, typically between their third and fourth year. One to two doctoral students typically receive the more competitive year-long PRF grants each year.

Extended Funding

Students admitted into the Master’s program typically are assured of receiving two years of funding as teaching assistants, whereas those admitted into the Ph.D. program typically are assured four years of funding. Such funding is contingent on students performing satisfactorily in their own graduate courses and in their role as graduate teaching assistants.