Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Salaries for Grad Students and Post Docs

 FSP just posted a poll asking about the salaries of her faculty readers- I thought I would do the same for graduate students and and post docs who are feeling left out.  I'm doing 12 month salaries instead of 9 month as it seems to me that most grad students and post docs are paid 12 month salaries.  Here's the poll:

What is your annual salary in US $?
less than $10,000
$100,000 and up
pollcode.com free polls


  1. hmm... our department does 9-month... but i'll extrapolate.
    and this doesn't include tuition for grad students, right?

  2. I was going to suggest separate polls for grad students and post docs, but it looks like the distribution has 2 peaks, so it's kind of obvious. Thanks for posting the poll!

  3. Good point about the tuition. I'm thinking gross salary for students, so that would not include tuition.

  4. Not to be a pain, but I only get paid via my TA for nine-months and have to find another job for the summer because my advisor doesn't have funding. So should I just include my TA pay and not the other job?

  5. mareserinitatis- I'd say only TA pay as that's what you're getting paid to be a grad student each year.

    Samantha- I thought about doing two polls but I hoped it would be more or less obvious. Although if anyone is getting $80K as a grad student, please tell me your field and school!

  6. UK grad student here in Psychology. Make the equivalent of $21,500, tax free though.

  7. You should clarify whether the pre-tax or post-tax salary is intended. And does this include benefits? At my (European) institution, some students have contracts, with benefits, and pay taxes, while other students receive "fellowship"-type stipends, which have a higher net amount and are not taxed, but don't include health insurance (or accident insurance, any sort of retirement fund, etc.). Due to all sorts of possible complications, a stipend can be worth more or less than a contract to any individual student, depending on their personal situation.

  8. Anon- I was thinking pre-tax, not including benefits.

  9. OK, for serious, there are people making $80k as academic post-docs? For heaven's sake, where?? Or is this an industry post-doc? Because if so, I feel like you should have a different poll.

  10. I like how no one wants to share their poll with anyone else.

    I am however intensely curious about the $80K+ answer. Industry post-doc? Academic post-doc? Insanely well-paid grad student? Someone just messing with us? We may never know.

  11. Just a hunch, but are most of your readers in engineering? (Don't know why that would be, but...) It seems like the pay is higher than I would have anticipated among grad students in general, and I was wondering if that was causing the skew.

  12. One hypothesis for the $80K+ answer: some companies and government labs continue to pay their employees a portion (75%-90% is typical, I’ve heard) of their full-time salaries + benefits while they are full-time grad students during the academic year. Full tuition is included and paid directly to the school.

    At my school (near major city in northeast), 12-mo support for regular grad student funded as TA or RA is just under $25K.

  13. I'm a graduate student at a national lab, and I make $62k. (I was entertained to learn that a professor on my committee told my advisor that students should never make more than $25k, on principle.) My employer will pay tuition, up to a certain amount - my university is expensive, so it doesn't cover the entire price, but most of the graduate students I know get their full tuition paid.

    I will say that the only negative effect of getting paid such a large salary is that it's very difficult to contemplate accepting a postdoc anywhere else, especially in academia. I think your salary is meant to go up after graduating, not down.

  14. mareserinitatis- I think most of the responders are coming from FSP's blog, so I'd expect a mix of scientists and engineers. It could possibly be a mix of highly paid grad students and underpaid post docs.

    Hope- thanks for mentioning your hypothesis- I forgot about people who work before or during their grad degree.

    Anon who is well paid- if I knew you I would give you a high five! Your salary is as much (or more) than salaries for other jobs for technically educated people. Hopefully your history of a high salary will help with any post doc salary negotiations.

  15. I make $70K as a postdoc. I was was in industry R&D but got laid off during the recession so I'm actually a lot older and have more years of working experience than your average postdoc. Not being able to relocate geographically due to family reasons, the only science/research based employment I could find after my layoff was at the local university. But, not being qualified to apply for any tenure-track faculty positions (because I've not done any teaching nor am I even interested in teaching undergrad classes at all either), the only job category in the university system for me was "postdoc." I tried to negotiate to be research faculty but they are dragging their feet on considering my case.