UC Merced is very proud to provide extensive financial support for graduate education towards doctoral degrees. Over 80% of our Ph.D. students receive full financial support each semester in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TA), Graduate Student Research (GSR) assistantships, and/or fellowships. Also, the large majority of our Ph.D. students receive support used for research, educational, and living costs during the summer. Many of our programs also provide support for graduate student travel to conferences, summer schools, and other professional meetings. While doctoral support is prioritized, the same funding is also available to Masters’ students in some cases.
Teaching Assistants (TA) help provide instruction in courses with relatively larger numbers of enrolled students. Assistance takes a variety of forms, which include leading lab and discussion sections, helping to prepare instructional materials, and grading of exams and papers. TAships also provide valuable training for graduate students as future faculty members at all institutions of higher education.
Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions are typically supported through external funding agencies for specific research projects. Graduate students may assist with research work in a wide variety of ways, and some projects may provide opportunities for advanced students to lead certain efforts, with guidance and oversight of the principal investigator. GSRs are especially valuable for graduate students pursuing research careers.
Fellowships are awards made directly to graduate students, to support advancement in their academic programs and careers. Fellowships may be funded by the University of California, or an external agency, foundation, or institution. Most fellowships are awarded primarily based on the merits of the student and the proposed scholarly activity, although other factors will often play a role as well.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships administers student loans that offer the opportunity to defer the cost of your educational expenses by borrowing now and repaying later. Only about 15% of our graduate student population chose this option to help finance their education.