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Graduate Life

Congratulations Graduating Class Spring 2020

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Welcome to the life sciences graduate program!

We invite you to learn more about becoming a graduate student at ASU School of Life Sciences. Our graduate community is engaging, connected and supportive.

We have a well-developed social network that includes:

  • Weekly reading groups
  • Holiday parties
  • A listserv for connecting with other students
  • Help with methods and personal requests (housing, etc.)

When you join our program, we will assign a graduate student mentor to you. Your mentor will answer questions you may have about your degree program, life in Phoenix, teaching and research. You will also receive support regarding your progress in your program.

Our graduate student Executive Board works to improve graduate student life and provide exciting career development opportunities.

At our annual retreat, we help prepare you for research presentations, comprehensive exams and the process of writing a dissertation. 

If you become concerned about your relationship with your faculty advisor, we have a Graduate Mentoring Committee that will offer suggestions on how to work more effectively with your advisor, as well as on how to resolve conflicts if necessary.

If you come to ASU for an interview, please join us for any of our fun activities so you can see first-hand that we are an inclusive and top-notch graduate community.

Doctoral Candidate: Jorge Ramos

Become a teaching assistant

Becoming a teaching assistant (TA) is a great way to gain experience in scientific teaching. As a TA, you will receive a tuition waiver and stipend for each semester you work.

Every new TA must enroll in BIO 591: Scientific Teaching. We have also developed an innovative TA program aimed at improving undergraduate learning. This program uses innovative teaching strategies, such as “active learning,” in courses that are traditionally a lecture-only format. We offer additional courses such as BIO 594: Advanced Scientific Teaching, if you are interested in improving your scientific teaching skills.

TA appointments can be made at either 50 percent (e.g., 20 hours per week) or 25 to 49 percent (e.g., 10 to 19 hours per week). Most teaching assistants have 50 percent appointments and receive full tuition, health insurance, and a stipend.

Research assistantships are also possible, depending on your faculty advisor’s funding. Visit ASU Graduate Education and the graduate student handbook for details. Contact your program coordinator with any questions.

Funding Sources

Arizona State University and the School of Life Sciences offer funding opportunities that support graduate student research, travel and professional development. The grants and fellowships listed here are available to School of Life Sciences graduate students.

Visit or Graduate Student Fellowships for information on state and national funding.

School of Life Sciences funding

Contact about these funding opportunities:

  • SOLS Completion Fellowships
  • SOLS Conference Travel Grants
  • SOLS Research Scholarships
  • SOLS STRI Fellowships for spring semester:

These fellowships are awarded in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. Students receive travel funds, a tropical biology “bootcamp” at STRI, and funding to pursue independent research from February until May.

Research Advancement

Explore our Research Advancement program to find assistance with facilities, field work, fellowships for graduate training, and support for a scientific workshop organized and led by graduate students.


Graduate and Professional Student Associations

ASU Graduate Education

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Contact Wendi Simonson regarding these funding sources:

  • Edward and Linda Birge Graduate Travel Award
  • Lisa Dent Memorial Fellowship
  • Maher Alumni Scholarship
  • Michael A. Cichan Memorial Award Endowment
  • Peabody Family Memorial Fellowship