Graduate Student Funding

Teaching Assistantships

Environmental Studies has a limited number of teaching assistantships to award annually to first- and second-year Masters students. For first year students, we currently offer four full year TAs in Environmental Studies, and another four full year positions through the English department. For second year students, we currently offer three full-year Environmental Studies TAs, which are often divided to fund four students.

The EVST Program highly values evidence of service and engagement of many kinds in graduate applicants, and we particularly encourage those who have been Peace Corps Volunteers to apply for TAships. Over decades, many of our most outstanding students and alumni have been PC Volunteers.

Duties of Teaching Assistants

The duties of a teaching assistantship vary greatly. Environmental Studies/ENGLISH TAs teach a section of English Composition (WRIT 101--a 3-credit course) each semester for a year. Environmental Studies/ENGLISH TAs attend a week-long orientation before fall term begins; enroll in WRIT 540, a 3-credit graduate course in fall semester; and attend monthly meetings during spring semester. For more information, see Environmental Studies/ENGLISH TA's. Environmental Studies TAs are assigned to assist one Environmental Studies faculty member with an Environmental Studies course each semester. Typical duties of an Environmental Studies TA are leading discussions and grading papers. Because we seek to spread the wealth as widely (albeit sometimes thinly) as possible, students who receive TAs in their first year rarely receive one in their second year.

Full year teaching assistantships (two semesters) receive a full tuition waiver. This does not include approximately $1,250 (the amount varies from year to year) in student fees each semester that cannot be waived. That amount includes approximately $700 for health insurance. Half year teaching assistantships (one semester) adjust accordingly. You must enroll for at least nine (9) credits each semester.

Applying for a TA: First-Year Students

(Fall admittance only)

Check the lines on the Environmental Studies Application form if you wish to be considered for a TA and include the requested writing sample for an English TA. No samples are required for an Environmental Studies TA - your application materials will be used to review your qualifications.

Criteria for First-Year TA Selection

Assistantships are used to help recruit first-year students, especially out-of-state students for whom the tuition waiver accompanying the assistantship is especially valuable. In general, the committee looks for all-round excellence in first-year TAs. To assign a first-year student to teach an English composition class, the faculty looks closely at the student's writing ability as demonstrated in the application through the writing examples, GRE scores, and college transcripts.

To be considered for First-Year Teaching Assistantships, applicants must meet the following requirements (with rare exceptions as determined by EVST faculty):

G.P.A. - Minimum 3.0 (B or better) out of 4.0 G.P.A.

G.R.E. - Verbal, quantitative & analytical writing test scores. Minimum verbal score of 500 for tests taken prior to August 2011; 153 for tests taken after August 2011.

Applying for a TA for the second year

Students submit an application to the Environmental Studies office in the spring semester, typically April 15th. Applications must include a plan of study for the next academic year with the number of credits planned and expected graduation date; a statement indicating the course you wish to assist (to be announced) and why you are qualified; and names of two references.

In addition to TAs, many of our second-year students are partially supported by awards and grants.

Financial Aid

The Environmental Studies Masters program is not involved in awarding loans and government-sponsored financial aid. Direct inquiries to the Financial Aid Office of the University. The Graduate School website posts the most current tuition and fee information.

NEW:  The EVST Masters Program has been approved as a distinctive program within the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).  If you are admitted to our Program for Fall 2016 or later, and if you are a legal resident of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming, the UM Graduate School will notify you of your WRGP in-state tuition rate status upon admission.  Subject to continued UM WRGP policy, residents of these states admitted to the EVST Program will qualify for Montana resident rate tuition.  See the WICHE/WRGP website for details. 

For additional scholarships and awards available through the College of Humanities and Sciences, please see the UM Scholarship Portal.

Awards Available

  • Brainerd Conservation Fellowships/Internships: Environmental Studies grad students with demonstrated record of activism and leadership can apply in December of their first year for two $5000 fellowships and one $5,000 paid internship.
  • Wyss Scholars for Conservation in the American West: Environmental Studies grad students can apply in December of their first year for two scholarships that pay 1/2 of the cost of tuition and educational expenses for 3 semesters plus a $5000 summer internship grant.
  • Len and Sandy Sargent Environmental Activism & Advocacy Fellowship Award: Honors and supports students with a $5000 Fellowship for environmental activism achievements and promise.
  • Wiancko Scholarship Awards of $5000 available to incoming students for environmental leadership achievements and promise
  • Tom Roy Family Scholarship Awards of $5000 available to incoming students for special promise and need determined by EVST faculty
  • Bertha Morton Scholarship: A campus-wide competition, awarded on academic record, publications, honors and awards, and other pertinent evidence. EVST nominates 3 students, and in many years, at least one EVST student is selected. Awards range from $2000 to $4000.
  • Clancy Gordon Environmental Scholarship: Graduate students from the biological and physical sciences, and environmental studies, with a demonstrated involvement in applying scientific knowledge toward the resolution of environmental problems. One award of $2100.
  • Ron and Nancy Erickson Award: Environmental Studies students whose major work is in the area of environmental ethics, humanities, and/or writing may apply for awards up to $1500.
  • Byron and Bernice Dawson Award: Environmental Studies grad students can apply for up to $1500 in funding to support costs of their final project (thesis, professional paper or portfolio).
  • Cinnabar Rocky Mountain Climate Conservation Award: One Environmental Studies grad student can receive a grant to support an internship/conservation work supporting conservation in the Rocky Mountains with a focus on climate change adaptation.Amounts vary.
  • Grants: Through their work with faculty, or as a result of their independent research, some students secure funding from a variety of foundations and other sources.