Graduate Student Appointment Types

All graduate students, regardless of their source of funding, are expected to conduct research towards their M.S. thesis report or their Ph.D. dissertation, and to assist their major professor’s research project as requested. Contact with a diversity of research projects during graduate training enhances professional growth. Applicants or enrolled students with superior academic records may be considered for graduate fellowships. Brief descriptions of the types of appointments are given below.

Appointment as a Research Assistant (RA) is the most common type of appointment in the Department of ADS. RAs are appointed on an annual basis for a 12-month period with compensation established on a university-wide basis each year. RA appointments range from 33.33% to 50%. RAs are required to enroll in at least eight credits per fall/spring semester and two credits during the summer semester.

The Department of ADS has few TA appointments each semester. The TA assists in classroom instruction under the direction of a faculty member with duties that include preparing of instructional materials, directing labs, grading lab exercises and exams, etc.

The Department of ADS limits the number of semesters students may be paid as a Teaching Assistant* to two semesters per student to support the student’s ability to focus on the research required to finish their program. A student may request an exception to this rule by emailing the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) explaining why the student should be allowed to exceed two semesters as a TA.

*please note that an official Teaching Assistantship is a paid position. This rule does NOT apply to a teaching practicum which is an unpaid course (799) that students enroll in.

Some fellowships are awarded by the program, some are awarded by the school/college, and others are awarded by the Graduate School. In addition, several students have applied for and won fellowships from federal agencies, professional organizations, and private foundations. Application procedures, deadlines, qualifications, etc. may be obtained from the Graduate School Fellowships website. Many of the fellowships require Departmental nomination.

Fellows do not have specific job responsibilities but are expected to participate in their PI ‘s research program. The student and PI should discuss the extent of this involvement at the time the student initiates graduate training. The terms and conditions of fellowships across campus vary widely. If you have a fellowship ensure you understand the obligations and benefits of that fellowship, including stipend, health insurance eligibility, eligibility for tuition remission, pay schedule, etc.

  • Fellows with Concurrent Appointments
    • Students with fellowships payrolled through the university may hold concurrent graduate assistantships and/or student hourly appointments. If you have questions about concurrent work with your fellowship, please feel free to contact the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources.
  • Graduate School Fellowships

The Graduate School administers several fellowships on campus, including the University Fellowships, Chancellor’s Fellowships, Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowships, the Dickie Fellowships, and a variety of external fellowships.

A graduate student may be employed to assist with research, training, or other programs and projects undertaken by the funding professor not directly associated with his or her thesis project.

Infographics Poster Competition

The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences hosts an annual competition in the spring to support graduate student travel for professional development. This Infographics Poster Competition is open to any graduate student who works in a laboratory in the department and/or graduate student who is enrolled in an Animal and Dairy graduate program. An infographic poster uses high-quality visuals and icons to communicate research in an engaging and easy-to-understand manner (see examples here). Instructions on preparing infographic-style posters, and the judging criteria, are sent to participants in February.

The call for abstracts to sign up for this competition are sent in early January and due in mid-February. The competition takes place in mid-May each year.

Below is the 2022 competition group:

ADSA Graduate Student Presentations

The ADSA Annual Meeting accepts abstract submissions for their Graduate Student Competitions in January each year. For the National ADSA Production Oral Only (MS or PhD) competition, an institution is entitled to enter one participant per department in each of the MS and PhD Production Division contests. For the National ADSA Production Poster Only (MS or PhD) competition, an institution is entitled to enter two participants per department in each of the MS and PhD contests.

Interested students work with their PI to submit their materials to the Graduate Student Award Subcommittee for Animal and Dairy Sciences once the call is sent in late January. The subcommittee reviews submitted materials and announces selection(s) for these competitions in early February. After the selection process is complete, the student(s) submit the materials to ADSA before their deadline in mid-February.

John Brandt Memorial Scholarship (Land O’ Lakes)

The John Brandt Memorial Scholarship application opens in April each year. An institution is entitled to submit two applicants. The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences calls for submission in late April or early May. Interested students work with their PI to submit their materials to the Research and Graduate Education Committee (RGEC) for Animal and Dairy Sciences in response to the call. Students must submit their materials to the committee by mid-May.

A subcommittee of RGEC reviews submitted materials and announces the selection(s) for these competitions at least 1 week before the materials are due to Land O’ Lakes. After the selection process is complete, the student(s) will submit their materials to Land O’ Lakes before the due date, usually late May.

Payroll and Benefits

TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hours/week) for at least the length of a semester are eligible to enroll in a health insurance program.

Note there is no waiting period for pre-existing conditions if application is made within 30 days of employment. The same rule applies for addition of a spouse or dependent following marriage or the birth or adoption of a child: the addition to your policy must be made within 30 days of the event. Health insurance premiums will be deducted monthly, and you are covered by health insurance through the month of termination. RAs are strongly advised to be covered under health insurance.

Additional information about health insurance.

Questions about health insurance and/or life insurance can be directed to Heena Kansara, Room 260 Animal Sciences.

Graduate assistants are paid monthly, and stipends are usually deposited directly into student’s bank accounts. You can authorize direct deposit by filling out the Authorization for Direct Deposit of Payroll form and returning it to the payroll coordinator in the Animal Science office.

Stipend rates for graduate assistantships are set by the University. Current rates for TAs, PAs, and RAs.

TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hours/week) receive remission of their full tuition (in- and out-of-state, as applicable). Students with these appointments are still responsible for paying segregated fees.

Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures (GAPP) outlines important information regarding graduate assistantships and the benefits available. Graduate study, including class work and research or project work, should be regarded as the main activity while pursuing the degree. Students holding appointments are not to engage in major outside activities, such as second jobs. In fact, some appointments specifically prohibit retaining outside employment.

Students shall arrange vacation time in advance with their PI to avoid conflicts with research or project activities. Students are expected to work when classes are not in session, except official University holidays. Students not holding appointments are still expected to assist their major professor’s project as requested since full involvement in a research project is a vital part of the graduate training program.

If problems arise concerning work hours, sick leave, or vacation, discuss them with your PI. If resolution is not possible at that level, the matter should be discussed with the Department Chair.

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) assists graduate students when personal and family resources are not adequate to cover the expenses involved in attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The office also provides counseling for students on managing their money effectively, information on other potential sources of financial assistance (such as employment), debt management counseling, and small short-term loans for emergency situations.

For information on income taxes consult The Guide to Graduate Student Life and the Academic Policies and Procedures manual.

If you have questions concerning your tax status, call University Payroll 608-262-5499 or 608-262-1838, or Graduate School at 608-262-5835. For questions about income from outside the University or allowable deductions, contact the IRS.

External Funding

We encourage students seek out and apply for funding from sources external to the university (e.g., federal agencies, professional organizations, private foundations). The Graduate School supports selected federal/private fellowships through the provision of tuition support and health insurance.

PLEASE REMEMBER: the timetable for identifying, applying for, and receiving such external funding is generally quite long; plan on 9-12 months between the time you start your search and the time you may receive funding.

Once you find a fellowship, scholarship, or award to which you want to apply, consider contacting the Writing Center. The Writing Center staff can provide valuable advice on crafting your application.

Students should be aware that fellowships and awards from external sources will have unique terms and conditions that you should take time to understand. Questions on external fellowships can be directed to the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources. Please consider reviewing these major external fellowships.

The Grants Information Collection (GIC) (2nd Floor of Memorial Library).

The GIC is a great collection of print and on-line resources to help students find external fellowships and scholarships. You can learn how to set up a personalized profile on several on-line funding databases and get regular notices of relevant funding opportunities.