Funding for graduate studies

Graduate students in Entomology generally do not pay their own tuition out of pocket. Instead, tuition is paid and a stipend is provided to cover living expenses through a variety of mechanisms, including Graduate Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, Extension/Outreach Assistantships, and various fellowships from the Cornell graduate school (including Graduate School Recruitment Fellowships, Fellowships in Support of Diversity, and Presidential Life Sciences Fellowships) and the Department of Entomology (including the Palmer Fellowship, the Griswold Fellowship, the Simeone Fellowship, and the Chapman Fellowship). A complete list of funding opportunities for graduate students are listed below. A number of our current students are supported by three-year grants from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP).

Once students are admitted to the program and the first year of funding is identified, the Field of Entomology provides a "guarantee of support" for those students. For MS students, the guarantee is for two years. For PhD students, the guarantee is for five years. The guarantee of support means that we guarantee that students who are making good progress on their thesis research will be support by one of the mechanisms described above (Teaching Assistantships, Extension/Outreach Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, or a Fellowship). We cannot always predict what support a student will have in the latter years of the graduate work, but we guarantee to find funding for all students who are making good progress in the program.

Field of Entomology Support

Department of Entomology Support:

Graduate Assistantships (GRA, RA, GA)

There are three forms of graduate assistantships.  Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are appointments focused on thesis-related research.  Research Appointments (RAs) are focused on research that may not be related to the student thesis.  Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are any other non-teaching academic appointment.  GRAs and RAs will typically be funded by a research grant held by the major advisor

Teaching Assistantships (TA) 

Covers tuition, stipend and insurance in exchange for service in an undergraduate course.  Specific duties are assigned by the course instructor. 

Extension/Outreach Assistantships (EOA)  

Are Assistantships that focus on outreach and extension and are selected by a faculty committee.  Faculty in Entomology may propose EOA duties to this committee, and students/advisors may request to be considered for EOA appointments.  The faculty committee will recommend suitable student-project fits to the DGS, who sets the appointments.

Graduate School Recruitment Fellowships:

The Field of Entomology is awarded Recruitment Fellowships each year, available to incoming Ph.D. students only.  After recruitment weekend, or another format of interview, the DGS and the Admissions Committee rank all interviewing applicants, and the Fellowships are offered to the top recruits.  If a recruit declines to attend Cornell, the Fellowship increments to the next recruit on the list.  These Fellowships are for two academic semesters, and either or both semesters can be deferred to any point in the student’s tenure. 

Fellowships in Support of Diversity:

Eligible to underrepresented ethnic or other minorities (URMs), first generation graduate students, or others with a history of overcoming disadvantage can be nominated for recruitment Diversity fellowships from the Graduate School.  These nominations are made by the DGS in January or February and cover two full years of support – typically the first and last years of the student’s degree program.  Both M.S. and Ph.D. students are eligible, but Ph.D. students are given heavy preference by the Graduate School.  Students must have submitted a Diversity Essay with their graduate application to be considered.

Presidential Life Sciences Fellowships (PLSF):

During recruitment season, the DGS may nominate outstanding applicants to be considered for PLSF Fellowships.  Typically, 10 appointments are made university-wide, spread broadly among Life Sciences Fields.  Preference is given to interdisciplinary nominees, and there is an expectation of outstanding grades, GRE scores, statements of purpose, and letters of recommendation.  There are three submission deadlines each recruitment season; all are equivalent, and it generally seems best to hold off on nominations until after recruitment interviews.  The PLSF covers the first two semesters of Ph.D. work and the minimum stipend for the first summer.  Awardees are required to rotate in three labs on campus, at least one of which must be outside the anticipated home Field.  The rotations are otherwise very flexible.

Graduate School Top-Off Fellowships: 

Students are eligible to apply for this fellowship only if they have secured an external fellowship that covers at least 50% of the current 9-month GRA stipend and the cost of annual health insurance.   It is a competitive process; the student must submit an application for the award.    The application should be accompanied by a copy of the external fellowship award letter.  The contact for this fellowship is Heidi Hart-Gorman at

Land Grant Fellowships, Continuing 

The DGS may nominate up to two students per year for CALS Land Grant Fellowships, following the guidelines distributed by CALS.  The Fellowships are intended to support students whose research embodies the ideals of the CALS Land Grant Mission.  Awards are for two years, so only continuing students with two or more years remaining on their Ph.D. are eligible.  Nominations are typically due in February or March.

Palmer Fellowship:  

The James B. and Martha K. Palmer award is given to a finishing Ph.D. student for one semester of support.  This is intended to be a “finishing” award, so heavy preference is given to students in the final year of their Ph.D. 

Griswold Fellowship:

Research Support for Graduate Students:  May be used for domestic travel, supplies and equipment to help facilitate student research projects.   Students are eligible starting with their first year of study and continuing through their tenure in the Field of Entomology.  The only restriction is that if a student has not completed their A exam by their 5th semester, they will not be eligible to apply for these funds until they have done so. The committee will approve up to 5 awards per semester with each award not exceeding $2,000.  

Simeone Fellowship: 

The Simeone Fellowship Fund will be established and provide 9 months of graduate student support (tuition, stipend, insurance).  This Fellowship will give priority to first year students based on financial need and merit (evidence of academic excellence, desire/commitment to pursue a degree in Entomology).   Should there be no first year students in need of support, the DGS, in conjunction with the Executive Committee, will determine who will receive the award (based on academic standing, Departmental citizenship, and financial need).

Comstock Endowment:

Assists with summer support.

Sarkaria Fellowship:

This is an endowed fellowship that can only be given to students who are advised by a member of the Sarkaria Board and have a strong concentration in Insect Physiology and Toxicology.  The Board determines how the funds are allocated on an annual basis.  Only members of SIPTI are eligible to have students funded as Sarkaria Fellows, and this funding is expected to be for only one year for any given student.

Chapman Fellowship:

The Chapman Fellowship is awarded annually to a graduate student in the Field of Entomology, with preference given to students sponsored by a faculty member located at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. Selection is based on: 1) scientific quality of research work; 2) publications and presentations; and 3) involvement in professional activities. Candidates are judged on the merits of their achievements while conducting graduate studies. The student is provided a full year of tuition, stipend  and fees.  The Fellowship was established by Paul Chapman in 1992. Chapman was hired as a full professor of entomology in 1929 and served as Head of the department at Geneva from 1948-1965. He established the fellowship to ensure that the department would continue to inspire young entomologists to follow the principles and insights he believed important in his colleagues.

Summer Support:  

Summer support will be provided from a pool of combined departmental resources

Rawlins Awards:

The Rawlins endowment supports travel to scientific meetings and domestic travel in support of research.  All PhD students in the graduate field of entomology are eligible to apply.   All MS students are eligible to apply after they have completed two semesters of graduate study. 

Michael Villani Award: 

This is an annual merit-based award of approximately $500 and is awarded based on the consensus of the NYSAES technical staff.

George S. Gyrisco Award for Applied Research: 

This is a research award of $1000.  The recipient is chosen by the DGS in consultation with the DEL and others.  Because the award is intended to support research, it should be given to continuing students who are not finishing imminently.  Preference is given to students who have been outstanding in research and who are excellent Department citizens.

Graduate School Travel Funds:   

Funds to support travel to conferences or to do research are available from the Graduate School.  Check with the Graduate School for exact deadlines.  The level of support varies depending on the destination, but may be $500-750 annually.  These are essentially awarded upon request.

For more detailed information on our graduate program see the Entomology Graduate Student Manual [Exuviae]