Fellowships & Support

Teaching Assistantships

Given the large number of chemistry courses offered at UK, there is ample opportunity for students to serve as Teaching Assistants (TA). Most entering graduate students are supported through TA positions and transition to RA positions as they move through the program. The Teaching Assistantships cover tuition and benefits and pay approximately $2,000/month. Being a TA requires a commitment of up to 20 hours per week, which includes classroom time, office hours or learning center help, and/or grading. 

Supplemental Funding for First-Year Students

In addition to the standard TA stipend typically offered to incoming PhD students, the Graduate Recruitment Committee also offers supplemental funding to prospective students whose applications are exceptionally promising. These supplemental funds are for the first year only and range in amount from $1000 to $5000. No separate application is required to be considered for these funds.

Research Assistantships 

Research assistantships (RAs) are provided by individual faculty members through federal, state, and private grants. Many of these grants support individual research groups, and some support several researchers over multiple institutions. For example, in 2019, the University of Kentucky was awarded a grant of $20 million from the National Science Foundation as part of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The award titled, "Kentucky Advanced Partnership for Enhanced Robotics and Structures (or KAMPERS)," supports numerous research groups in the Chemistry Department, in other colleges at UK, and at neighboring institutions throughout Kentucky. The grant focuses on combining the field of solution processed electronics with 3D printing to enable robotics, prosthetics, medical devices, and consumer products. In the chemistry department, researchers are working to develop and understand novel printable electronic materials, printed electronic devices, and printing methods. Another grant supporting multiple research groups in the Chemistry Department is the NASA Kentucky award, which is a Space Grant Consortium and EPSCoR Program. These agencies have been supporting Kentucky's NASA-related research for 25 years and annually offers competitive graduate fellowships.

Scholarships & Fellowships from the Department

Sands Scholarship

The Dr. Donald E. Sands Chemistry Graduate Student Scholarship(s) are designated for deserving Chemistry graduate students.  This scholarship may be awarded to students who are currently enrolled or planning to enroll in the Chemistry graduate program.  In cases where the scholarship is awarded to an incoming graduate student, no separate application is required to be considered for these funds. 

Luckens Fellowship

The Mark and Ruth Luckens Graduate Fellowship(s) in Toxicology are designated for Chemistry graduate students in their first two years of study who have not yet chosen their research topic, OR graduating undergraduate seniors who plan to pursue graduate studies in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky and who have an interest in toxicology.  In cases where the fellowship is given to an incoming graduate student, no separate application is required to be considered for these funds. 

Murrill Fellowship

The Paul I. Murrill Memorial Fellowship is granted to an incoming graduate student who has achieved an outstanding academic record at the undergraduate level and exhibits exceptional promise for scholarship in the PhD program in the Department of Chemistry.  No separate application is required to be considered for these funds. 

Fellowships through the Graduate School at UK

The Graduate School at UK offers a variety of fellowships for prospective and current graduate students.  Visit their website for more information, including the nomination and/or application process for each fellowship.

Funding from National Agencies and Corporations

Opportunities for recognition and/or larger stipends are available through a variety of agencies and corporations external to UK.  

Summer & Year-Long Programs at Other Locations

Help in Preparing Fellowship Proposals

The department offers two courses that are designed to help prepare students to write fellowship proposals and give scientific presentations. These include a graduate seminar course and a course on scientific writing.  

Effective August 1, 2019, the written portion of the PhD qualifying examination was changed from a cumulative exam system to a research proposal system, giving students the opportunity to submit a scientific proposal for feedback mid-way through their academic training. 

The Department of Biochemistry at UK also offers a Scientific Communications course (BCH 780) for graduate students in the physical, chemical, or biomedical sciences. The goal of this course is to give students the tools to effectively present their data, their ideas, and themselves to the scientific community. It includes learning to write an abstract, a scientific paper, and a grant as well as how to prepare a poster and give an oral presentation.

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