Graduate Studies

Financial Support

The department awards a variety of graduate teaching and research assistantships consisting of a monthly stipend and a tuition waiver scholarship. Masters-level teaching assistants typically assist faculty with course preparation and grading, supervise computer labs, and teach laboratory sections of introductory physical geography, GIS, and meteorology courses. Ph.D.-level teaching assistants provide instructional support to introductory courses in the undergraduate curriculum.   Research assistants work directly with faculty and staff on externally-funded research projects. Students appointed on a graduate teaching or research assistantships are given office space and access to department computer resources. Appointments on a teaching assistantship are normally made for two academic semesters (fall and spring), while research assistantship appointments are made at the discretion of the project director.

Persons employed by Northern Illinois University, including those appointed as graduate teaching or research assistants, must show proof of U.S. citizenship or employment authorization from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. The State of Illinois further requires that all persons engaged in oral instruction in the classroom, including teaching assistants, possess adequate competence in spoken English. Students whose native language is not English will be required to undertake and pass an English language speaking proficiency exam prior to appointment as a teaching assistant.

The Department of Geography administers several scholarship funds supporting graduate study.

  • The Richard E. Dahlberg Scholarship provides partial support to students pursuing an education in cartography/GIS at Northern Illinois University. Applicants must be admitted to graduate or undergraduate study at Northern Illinois University and possess a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. For more information on the application process, contact the Department of Geography by April 1st.
  • The William Morris Davis Scholarship provides financial support toward Masters and Ph.D. research in Geography at Northern Illinois University. Applicants must have completed at least 20 semester hours of graduate coursework in Geography and be engaged in an approved thesis/non-thesis or dissertation research project. Funds from the William Morris Davis Scholarship may be used for expenses related to the research, including, but not limited to: purchase of data, laboratory supplies, specialized field apparatus, field research travel, and commercial laboratory analyses.

For information on other financial support opportunities available to graduate students, please see the NIU Scholarship Office and the Graduate School’s section on Financing Your Education.