Graduate School Money VI: A Comparison

July 19, 2007 at 4:31 pm | | grad life, stipends

Speaks for itself



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  1. How are you getting this data? I’m a physics graduate student at Yale and I *do not* get $32,000 a year. It’s $27,000 and even if you count health insurance (worth $1000), there’s no way it adds up to $32,000.

    Comment by Terri Yu — July 19, 2007 #

  2. Source:


    Was a comparison made in 2007 for the 9 month stipends at every ivy league institution but Brown.


    I used this to extrapolate a 12 month salary. The reported Yale salary was $23700 for a 9 month salary, or $2,633.33/month. The extrapolated salary for 12 months is $31,600.


    According to Yale’s reported income, you would be making only $3,300 for a 3 month period in the summer if you made a 12-month $27,000 stipend. That would be only $1,100 a month for 3 months. Perhaps Yale over-reported their 9 month salary for some reason.


    The reason I normalized everything to 12 months is because the universities I was most interested in comparing to (Caltech and MIT) report only 12 month salary and my Stanford salary is the minimum 12 month salary.

    Comment by charles — July 19, 2007 #

  3. I checked with our department registrar and for this coming year (Sep ’07 – Aug ’08), we are getting paid about $2220 per month (the same during the academic year as during the summer). I believe biology graduate students get the most money, but it can’t be more than $2000/year more. Maybe it’s possible that the Yale figure includes some kind of overhead? (All the numbers I’m quoting are pre-tax of course)

    Comment by Terri Yu — July 20, 2007 #

  4. How do you actually get MORE money for considering cost of living? I want to live in one of these states that actually boost your income to compensate for living costs, lol.

    Also, why do you extrapolate 9 month salaries to 12 month? This makes it seem like you’re getting money that you’re not. It would be better to take 9 month salaries and divide them by 12 because you’d have to make 9 months of work last you a year, which represents a better monthly income.

    Comment by Chemistry Show — July 24, 2007 #

  5. charles is at a gordon conference, so i doubt he’ll answer this week.
    he normalized cost of living to stanford’s somehow—anyway, it’s simply a comparison.
    he extrapolated the 9 month stipend because he assumed that most students are actually paid in the summer.

    Comment by sam — July 24, 2007 #

  6. 1) I get paid a 12 month salary, not a 9 month. The 12 month salary is $26,600. I extrapolated the other salaries so that we were all on the same scale. MIT also reported it’s salary as 12 month, not 9. The Ivy’s reported 9 months. It’s not seemign like getting more money – we get more in total money than the humanities because we work more months at Stanford – we get paid for 12 months, they get paid for 9 unless they are working for more than 9 months.


    2) I divided the cost of living index in Palo Alto by the cost of living index at the other university, then multiplied that by the other school’s salary. That gave me a measure of “purchasing power” so to speak. It’s clearly a comparison measurement – If you make 32,000 a year in Dartmouth it’s LIKE you’re making 53,000 in Palo Alto in terms of purchasing power. It’s not like this is a new concept I came up with – measuring salaries in adjusted dollars for cost-of-living and/or inflation is a very common estimate of real purchasing power.

    Comment by charles — July 25, 2007 #

  7. I wrote the report cited above (

    The table you are referring to contains yearly stipends. They are in some cases paid out across 9 months and in others across 12 months. This is explained in footnote 10 of the report. So I’m afraid it’s not appropriate to extrapolate these stipends to 12 months in the way that was done above.

    Comment by Lucas Champollion — November 26, 2007 #

  8. Lucas, do those people who get paid out across 9 months not get paid for 3 months while they’re working? That would suck.

    Comment by sam — November 27, 2007 #

  9. No, those people who get pait out across 9 months are not required to work during the 3 summer months that they don’t get paid. Many of them will take up a paid summer job or apply for a summer fellowship that will finance their research.

    Comment by Lucas Champollion — January 19, 2008 #

  10. well, then i think that’s why charles extrapolated…

    Comment by sam — January 20, 2008 #

  11. I’m an engineering grad student here at Yale. We get paid ~$26600 paid over the entire year, pre-tax 2007-08. We are required to work summers. The 32k is a highly suspect number, but yea, sucks to live in Palo Alto (not really… New Haven sure aint the Yay Area!)

    Comment by LTT — July 23, 2008 #

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