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Financial Support and Benefits for Graduate Students

Research and Teaching Assistantships grade student 2

Most students in the biochemistry or biophysics graduate degree programs enter with a graduate research assistantship (RA) that provides their financial support in the form of a stipend, tuition scholarship and free single student health insurance. During the periods that students are serving as teaching assistants, they are appointed on a teaching assistantship (TA) and receive the same level of financial support received on an RA.

Ph.D. degree candidates on a half-time (20 hours per week) research or teaching assistantship receive a yearly stipend of $30,000 ($2,500 per month), 100% tuition scholarship, and free single student health coverage.

M.S. degree candidates on a half-time (20 hours per week) research or teaching assistantship receive a yearly stipend of $26,232 ($2,186 per month), 50% tuition scholarship, and free single student health coverage.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. rotation program for the fall semester are required to participate in the research rotation program before selecting a host laboratory, and are guaranteed continued support for five years, based on an annual review of academic and research progress. The details of the guaranteed time of support may vary for students admitted directly into a specific laboratory without participation in the rotation program. The details of the level of support and the duration of the stipend will be specified in a letter from the Department Chair that formally offers admission to the program. All graduate student support is renewable each spring as long as a student remains in good standing and is making satisfactory progress towards his/her degree.

Free Student Health Insurance

A graduate student on an assistantship receives single student health coverage free of charge.  More information about the various plan options for medical, dental, and prescription drug benefit insurance can be found at the Student and Scholars Health Insurance Program website.


In addition to support through an assistantship, outstanding candidates will be considered for graduate fellowship awards provided by the program or Iowa State University. Prospective and current students should also consider external fellowship opportunities to enhance their credentials and to increase their potential choice of a research lab in which to do their graduate studies.

Note to prospective students:  Effective with fall 2020 applications, the GRE scores are not required for your application. You may submit your official GRE scores if you feel it will help the admissions committee better understand your academic proficiencies. However, electing not to submit GRE scores will not impact your chance of admission. Note also that our program offers scholarships that can supplement the standard graduate student stipend. Some of these scholarships may still require GRE scores for eligibility.

Student Fees

Students are responsible for half of the mandatory student fees each fall and spring semester and summer term.  Student fees cover student activities and other services, like public transportation, recreation, health facility, and technology services.