Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Graduate School Funding

Do you wonder how you’re going to pay your way through a graduate program?

Funding is a very important factor when considering graduate studies. Most students are not aware of the full cost of a graduate program, or about the extensive resources available to help financially support you.

Did You Know...

  • Many university departments will fund your studies throughout your program.
  • Many scholarships and fellowships are designed specifically for graduate studies.
  • Financial aid is available for graduate studies.
  • According to, the average cost of a master's degree for students is between $30,000 and $120,000. The cost varies depending on the university and the master's program itself.
  • Master's degree programs are much less likely to offer department financial support than doctorate programs.

Department Funding

Did you know that many programs will pay your graduate study costs? Department funding is used to entice highly competitive candidates to accept the university’s invitation to enroll thereby strengthening their program. In turn, the funding provides students the freedom to focus the next five or so years on their studies, research and departmental responsibilities without the distraction of work outside the department. Department support may include:

  • tuition assistance/reimbursement
  • residential tuition entitlement (in-state tuition rates)
  • insurance
  • teaching/research assistantships
  • instructorships
  • summer research funding
  • travel and conference grants

Many doctorate programs make a great effort to financially support their students throughout the PhD program. Master’s degree students, on the other hand, may receive little or no departmental financial assistance and thus depend more heavily on part-time or full-time jobs, government grants and student loans.

The following are general descriptions of typical department roles provided to graduate students for funding and gaining teaching/research experience, which in turn help the department with the teaching responsibilities at the undergraduate level. For an example of compensation rates at UT Austin, visit the UT Graduate School.

Teaching Assistantships (TA): Teaching Assistants teach discussion sections, hold office hours to meet with undergraduate students and grade exams or papers for professors and instructors who teach courses with large enrollments. The amount of TA stipends differ widely, even across departments at the same university. As an example of TA stipends, TAs in the UT Government Department earned between $11,800-13,000 for a nine-month appointment in addition to tuition assistance in the 2005-2006 academic year.

Graduate Research Assistants (GRA): Graduate Research Assistants are generally junior graduate students who work with faculty on academic research projects

Assistant Instructors (AI): Assistant Instructors may serve as the instructor of record for assigned instructional duties. In addition, AIs may be assigned to hold office hours, to evaluate student work and to perform other academic duties. AI positions are generally less available than TA positions; AI positions may be more competitive and are awarded to senior graduate students.

Financial Aid

So, what financial aid options will you have as a graduate student to help pay for your degree when department funding is not available? The most common forms of graduate student aid are grants, loans, scholarships, fellowships, work-study and financial aid.

Search for Funding

You can begin using your research skills before you begin graduate school by researching funding options online. The largest, free funding search engine is FastWEB, which provides information on scholarships and loans. CollegeBoard also provides a free scholarship search and financial aid planning tools to help you plan for graduate school. CollegeNET MACH25 also provides a scholarship finder database.

In addition, you can connect with a variety of funding resources at the following sites: Peterson’, and College Scholarships.


Universities partner with organizations, government agencies and work independently to offer students a variety of fellowships for graduate study. You can review the fellowships offered by the university of interest to you at the university or department’s website. Check out UT fellowship opportunities or your department for more information.

The following are examples of fellowships offered at UT Austin.

Recruitment Fellowships

Graduate School Recruitment Fellowship
Donald D. Harington Endowment Fellowship

Diversity Recruitment Fellowships

Graduate School Diversity Recruitment Fellowship Program
McNair Scholars Graduate School Fellowship Program
South Texas Graduate School Fellowship Program
West Texas Graduate School Fellowship Program
Graduate School Diversity Mentoring Fellowship Program

Fellowship Support for Current Students

University Continuing Fellowship
Graduate School Fellowship
David Bruton, Jr. Graduate School Fellowship
Cullen Trust Student Endowment Fellowship
Bess Heflin Fellowship
Hemphill-Gilmore Fellowship
Houston Endowment President’s Excellence Scholarships
D. Hutchison Student Endowment Fellowship
William S. Livingston Graduate Fellowship
W. Gordon Whaley Fellowship


The College of Liberal Arts partners with organizations and government agencies to help students apply for a variety of scholarships to fund graduate study. Contact the Office of Distinguished & Postgraduate Scholarships if you are interested in applying to one of the programs below.

The Rhodes Scholarship & Marshall Scholarship: The Rhodes and British Marshall scholarships fund two full years of graduate study leading to a degree in Great Britain. In the past these awards have taken UT students to Oxford, Cambridge and other British universities. A university committee interviews candidates for both scholarships; you must have university endorsement to apply for these scholarships.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship: The Gates Program offers a substantial number of scholarships for postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge. Students must apply to Cambridge while simultaneously applying to the Gates Foundation.

The Churchill Scholarship: The Winston Churchill Foundation offers up to twelve scholarships nationwide for students in the sciences to study one year at Cambridge University's Churchill College. UT may nominate two students for this competition. If you plan to study a liberal arts degree, this scholarship would be applicable to the Masters in Philosophy degree in geography.

The George J. Mitchell Scholarship: The Mitchell Scholarship enables students to attend institutions of higher learning in Ireland, including the seven universities in the Republic of Ireland and the two universities in Northern Ireland, for one academic year of graduate study.

The Schwarzman Scholarship: The Schwarzman Scholarship is a new program for a one-year Master’s in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, to prepare the next generation of global leaders with familiarity of Chinese geopolitical and cultural contexts.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship: The Knight-Hennessy is a full-ride scholarship to any graduate program (including medical and law school) offered at Stanford University. Students apply simultaneously to the graduate program and the Knight-Hennessy.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans: The Soros Fellowships offers immigrants and children of immigrants funding for graduate school, investing in future leaders of their chosen fields and calling attention to the positive and substantive contributions that immigrants make to American society.

The Beinecke Scholarship: The University may submit one candidate a year for this scholarship, which provides a $32,000 stipend for students pursuing graduate work in the humanities and fine arts. Students apply as juniors.

The Truman Scholarship: The Truman Scholarship is a $30,000 merit-based grant awarded to undergraduate students who wish to attend graduate or professional school in preparation for careers in government, the nonprofit sector or elsewhere in public service. Students apply as juniors.

Visit us here for more information on these and other opportunities.

Financial Aid (FAFSA)

If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, you can apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid programs to help fund your graduate study. For UT information, please visit the Office of Student Financial Services.

Funding for Your Research

Once you are in graduate school, are you curious about how you will fund your research and studies? Check out the Finding Funding - A Brief Guide for funding resources used by faculty and current graduate students for a glimpse into resources you too will be able to use.

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