Ph.D. Student Financial Support

The Field of Information Science guarantees 5 academic years of full support as long as students are in good standing within the field, and the University, and maintain full time registration status. This support will be in the form of a Teaching Assistantship, or a Graduate Research Assistantship, or a Fellowship (either internal or external). Students may not hold multiple full-time positions, nor may students work at a full-time job within or outside the University. With the exception of Employee Degree students. 

Full academic year support is defined as: 

  • Full Tuition
  • Full Student Health Insurance premium coverage (vision and dental are not included)
  • Full semester stipend at the current going rate

Being in good standing is defined as:

  • Making satisfactory progress towards your degree as determined during the SPR review meeting held during the spring or summer term.
  • Being current with all Graduate School milestones
  •  Having no Judicial or Misconduct issues

Appointment periods for assistantships:

  • Fall:  Aug 21 – Jan 5
  • Spring: Jan 6 – May 20
  • Summer*: May 21 – Aug 20

*The department does not guarantee summer support for any student, this is dependent upon the student’s advisor. The majority of our students have outside internships over the summer to cover summer funding. In rare cases the Summer Session Office has openings for summer TA or instructor positions. Students who wish to teach a summer course should contact that office for open positions.

Support Letters

Students who are appointed as a GRA or TA will receive a letter of support at the beginning of each term. These letters are housed in the WorkDay system and are stored for the entire duration of the student’s career at Cornell. Students are required to accept the position in the WorkDay system before starting their assignment. Students should review Cornell Policy 1.3 to familiarize themselves with the University policy, approved holidays, approved vacation and sick time, and procedures for conflict resolution. 

TA Assignment Process

For Ithaca-based Courses

  1. Advisors are surveyed to determine how they plan to support their advisees.
    1. Fall – April-May
    2. Spring – October-November
    3. Summer – end of April
  2. Once the semester courses are finalized a survey is sent to Ph.D. students 
  3. The GFA and DGS start matching students to the TA slots
  4. Students and instructors are notified of the TA assignments
  • End of December of spring assignments
  • Mid-July for fall assignments

*All effort is made to match students with their first-choice class, but not all students may get their top preference. Students are asked to select 3 courses on the survey. Also, students may be assigned to a course that is not exactly in their skill set. Students need to be prepared to expand their knowledge with a willingness to work and learn with the instructor of the class to be an effective TA. 

For Tech-based Courses

Students who are located on the Tech campus are assigned TA positions through a similar TA survey process. This process is administered by the Student Service Office at the Tech campus.  Questions about this process should be directed to Jackie Klein for detailed explanation and the timeline of their process. 

Fellowship Support

From Cornell

Students who are awarded a fellowship that is administered by the department or the Graduate School will be paid their stipends once per semester through the Bursar system. Typically, stipends are disbursed on the Monday prior to the first day of classes for the fall and spring terms, and the first week of June for the summer. 

Students will receive, via email, a formal letter outlining the full details of the fellowship at the beginning of each academic year or the semester the award is for. These letters are not housed in the WorkDay system; therefore, students are responsible for keeping a copy of their letter for future reference. 

From an Outside Fellowship

Students who receive an outside fellowship through a sponsoring agency, corporation, home government, etc. are required to give a copy of their formal offer to the GFA as soon as it becomes available. In some instances, a partial fellowship may qualify for supplements either through the Graduate School, or the department, or from the Bowers College. The GFA will work with these offices to secure the “top offs”, and will communicate the outcome to the student. If the fellowship is discontinued for some reason, it is the student’s responsibility to alert the GFA of this as soon as possible. 

Students should set up a “Third Party Billing” with the Bursar office so that the sponsor is invoiced for tuition and health insurance directly. If the sponsor will send the award directly to the student instead of being billed, it is the responsibility of the student to make payments to the Bursar directly. 

Direct Deposit

It is advisable for all students to set up direct deposit for both refunds and payroll, these are two separate actions. 


At the graduate level, all fellowship and assistantship stipends are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service and by New York State.

Other Resources and information regarding tuition rates, assistantships, fellowships, loans, travel funding, stipend rates etc., can be found on the Graduate School’s website. A student’s bill is ultimately their responsibility. It is the sole responsibility for each student to check their Bursar account and contact either the Bursar or the GFA if there are anomalies. It is strongly recommended that each student check their Bursar account monthly. 

Travel Funding

There are several opportunities for students to apply for funding to enhance their research.  Students are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities, and to work with their advisor for help with travel costs associated with travel to CU Tech or the Ithaca campus, professional conferences, and research travel.

Moving Between Campuses

The Information Science Ph.D. degree is one department that spans both the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campus located in NYC. The degree requirements, University policies, and Graduate School milestones are the same for both campuses to graduate from the degree program. The GFA and DGS work with the Student Service staff at Tech along with the Information Science faculty liaison to advise and keep students on track to successfully complete the program on time. 

Students are required to be in residence at the same campus as their Chairperson for the majority of their Ph.D. career. Students are expected to relocate to the campus where their Chairperson is located. If this requires changing campuses, for example if the student switches their Chairperson, The DGS and GFA should be informed that this type of move is being considered at least 3 months from the expected date of the move.

Students are encouraged and welcome to visit the Ithaca and Tech campuses as appropriate for their research and cohort building. It is common for students to have members of their committee at the other campus from where the student is in residence. Students are encouraged to meet in person with these faculty and may use the Information Science Inter-Campus Travel fund to help with the travel cost.

Extended Collaboration Visit to the Tech or Ithaca campus

Students may spend a semester at either campus if there is a faculty person who is willing to act as a temporary advisor for the duration of the stay. The main Chairperson is financially responsible for the student while they are at the temporary campus, unless the student is on fellowship. Students wishing to make a move are required to inform the DGS and GFA at least 3 months prior to the move. Students should not assume the request will be approved and should not move to either campus until approval has been given. 

International Students

The International Services Office of Global Learning is the main resource for all International Students to get advice about maintaining their visa status, employment and tax questions, life at Cornell, and travel. Maintaining visa status while enrolled at the University is ultimately the student’s responsibility. The Tech campus also uses this resource for those students in residence in NYC. 

Diversity and Inclusion

The department of Information Science promotes the cultural climate that celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion for all people. We have a centralized office, Cornell Bowers CIS Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that we work together towards these goals. All members of the department are tasked with being proactive to be inclusive to their peers, faculty, students, and staff in academic and social events both within and outside the community.

Campus Code of Conduct

All students are responsible for following the expectations of the Code of Conduct. Students should familiarize themselves with this code, as violations may have serious consequences.  You can find a summary of this code here. The University full policy may be viewed here

Department Contacts

If students feel they need to discuss an issue or problem, they may reach out to the following people who are within the department and/or the Cornell Bowers CIS:

Prof. Susan Fussell – DGS Information Science 

Prof. Karen Levy – Chairperson for the Broadening Participation Initiative, Information Science

Prof. David Williamson, Department Chairperson - Ithaca Campus

Prof. Nicki Dell, Faculty and Student Liaison at Cornell Tech

Prof. Mor Naaman - Associate Dean for Technical Programs at Cornell Tech

Barbara Woske, GFA - Ithaca Campus

Jacqueline Klein, Director of Student Services - Tech Campus

Prof. David Bindel – Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. LeeAnn Roberts – Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Olivia Howarth, Student Services Assistant - Ithaca Campus

Resources outside of the department or College: