Graduate Program Financial Aid

Types of Support

The Department currently has four primary types of support:

  1. Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)
  2. Internal/External Fellowships
  3. Departmental Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
  4. Departmental Fellowships

Philosophy of Support

The Department strives to support all full-time graduate students. The highest priority for Departmental support is given to full-time Ph.D. students. If resources permit, then our next priority is full-time M.S. students. However, the Department must also consider its educational mission when awarding Departmental support. GTAs must be qualified to successfully support their assigned course, and in some cases M.S. students have the proper background, and are given priority.

GRA support, from external, principal investigator (PI) driven funding, is given at the discretion of the PI (usually the student’s advisor). The Department’s philosophy regarding GRA support is that each individual advisor best knows how their research needs may be fulfilled, and therefore the PI has the freedom to award GRAs.

Fellowships are awarded to students based on competitive processes specified by each Fellowship. The Department philosophy is to find the most qualified students to support with Fellowships.  The UMBC Graduate School publishes a Graduate Assistant Handbook that can be very useful in understanding the responsibilities of these positions.

Graduate Research Assistantships

Graduate students may be supported by external research grants awarded to individual faculty members. Grants may be from state or federal agencies (e.g., NSF, NIH, DoD), industry, or private funding foundations (e.g., the Arthritis Foundation, Lockheed-Martin). GRAs are generally granted as full-time or half-time assistantships.

Internal/External Fellowships

The Department has been fortunate to have access to Fellowship funding for students that originates outside the Department, either from University programs (internal) or external programs. Internal programs include the Dissertation Fellowships provided by the graduate school. Three examples of external fellowships are the NSF Bridge-to-the-Doctorate (BD) Fellowship, the Graduate Meyerhoff Fellowship, and the GAANN Fellowships from the Department of Education. The Graduate Meyerhoff Fellowship is based on our highly successful Meyerhoff Scholars (undergraduate) program. The GAANN from the U.S. Department of Education provides fellowships to Ph.D. students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents and who have a demonstrated financial need.

Departmental Graduate Teaching Assistantships

A form of Departmental student support is by awarding Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA). GTAs are awarded, guided by the Department’s philosophy to support graduate student study, and also to support our teaching mission. GTAs assist Departmental instructors in delivering class material. In addition to a stipend, also are provided with tuition remission and University Health insurance.

Departmental Fellowships

At the discretion of the Department, Department funding can be used for Fellowships. Fellowships do not necessarily require a teaching commitment from the students, and may be given to support the student for pursuing their research as they progress in their studies, and are therefore distinguished from GTAs. Such Departmental Fellowships are rare, given the demands of our educational program and limited resources.