Graduate Student Financial Support
97% 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.
UC Merced is very proud to provide extensive financial support for graduate education towards doctoral degrees. In addition to academic year funding, the large majority of our Ph.D. students also receive summer support that can be used for research, educational, and living costs during the summer. Further, many of our programs 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 master's students in some cases.
Teaching Assistants 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 Researchers
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.
Announcement about receiving/accepting fellowship award:
Beginning Nov. 4, 2021 there will be a change in the way you receive fellowship awards and how you accept them. If you are awarded a fellowship, you will be notified through OnBase, the document management system used by Graduate Division. Please be sure to review these emails and accept or decline your awards in a timely manner. We know this is a new process for you and, so have prepared a helpful handout that will guide you through it.
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.