I am a Masters' student and I have been working with a Professor and one of his students for about three months now, and just recently I asked him about a possibility of funding me. He said he would be able to do it, but expects me to submit a proposal for the semester with other expectations, that I would discuss when I meet with him. He also added that the expectations would be slightly different now that he's ready to fund me. That certainly makes sense. But I can imagine on some days, particularly when I have my coursework exams I cannot contribute much to the Research work, and I'm not sure if I'd meet his expectations then. Should I explicitly talk to him about this or is it understood? Also, the pay will be on an hourly basis and is it a good idea to:

  1. negotiate pay per hour / number of hours per week if it's less than my expectation, say 17-20 hours; ( I used to work (unpaid) on an average for about 25 hours a week, but university restricts only up to 20 hours)

  2. ask him what he'd essentially do during those weeks of exams etc?

  • I've made some edits aimed at clarifying and focusing your question; please feel free to revert if you don't like them.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 6:36
  • I've removed the last paragraph because of this: Write one question per post
    – ff524
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 4:33

1 Answer 1


If this is the U.S., then you wouldn't talk about number of hours or pay scale in the proposal. (I don't know about other countries.) I imagine that what he has in mind is a brief description of a topic, or some topics, that you are interested in working on.

In my experience, professors are very understanding about the ebb and flow of the student's time commitments. It could be helpful, however, to let the professor know in advance which weeks are the ones where you know you'll be tied up with exams, etc.

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