Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Departmental Financial Assistance

Entering and second year students traditionally have Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions and tuition and fee fellowships from the Department. Domestic students are required to apply for California residency during the first year which eliminates non-resident tuition effective year two. Starting Fall 2015, international students making satisfactory academic progress are eligible for the International Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship (IDRF) is automatically awarded to all new international doctoral students, which pays for a significant portion of the non-resident supplemental tuition (NRST) that international doctoral students are charged. Students are also encouraged to apply for industrial fellowships and fellowships from Federal agencies. Select departmental and campus-wide fellowships are awarded to incoming and current students demonstrating exceptional undergraduate and graduate academic achievement.

Advanced students are supported by graduate student researcher positions, or occasionally, by fellowships or TA positions.

For continuing students, ongoing financial support from the Department is contingent upon:

  • satisfactory performance as a T.A. (in the case of renewal of T.A. support)
  • satisfactory academic performance and progress toward the degree
  • meeting written and oral English language requirements during the first year (foreign students)
  • availability of funds
  • all domestic students are required to complete the FAFSA by the March 2nd deadline (see FAFSA memo)

A student is considered to be making normal progress toward the degree if she or he:

  • maintains a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • completes course requirements within the first two years
  • completes English language requirements during year one (foreign students)
  • advances to candidacy no later than winter quarter of the third year
  • passes the courses and exams required by her or his academic advisory committee

Departmental Fellowships and Awards: The Department of Physics considers applicants to the graduate program for the following departmental fellowships and student awards:

  • Ahlers Graduate Fellowship 
  • Ferrando-Fithian Fellowship
  • Horowitz Graduate Fellowship
  • Polchinski Graduate Fellowship 

The Department of Physics guarantees continuing financial support for five years provided students remain in good academic standing and are making normal progress toward the Ph.D. degree. This support is in the form of a Teaching Assistant or Graduate Student Research positions.

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Graduate Student Researchers


Graduate Student Researchers work under the direct guidance of a faculty member, usually for 20 hours per week. In addition to a salary, graduate student researchers who are employed more than 35% time receive the payment of full fees, tuition and health insurance.

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Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistantships provide students with the chance to gain valuable teaching experience while receiving financial support. Currently, these positions offer a salary for 20 hours per week for the academic year, plus the payment of mandatory in-state tuition and health insurance. Teaching assistants conduct laboratory or discussion sections in undergraduate courses, and grade homework and exams in undergraduate and graduate level classes.

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Other Employment

Graduate Readers are employed by the department to grade homework and exams at an hourly rate for up to 10 hours per week.

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Additional Financial Aid Sources

Please see the UCSB Financial Aid Office for details on the types of financial aid available to UCSB students.

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We strongly encourage current and prospective graduate students to apply for financial support from both internal and extramural sources. The advantages include not only the potential for a significant source of income while pursuing your studies and research, but experience in the process of applying for and securing extramural funding that will be an essential part of your life in academia.

The following links include some of the more closely matched internal and extramural funding opportunities for graduate students in physics, as well as links for assistance with preparing your funding application.

For a complete listing of UCSB Fellowship, Employment, and Financial Aid Opportunities, please review the financial section of the UCSB Graduate Division website.

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UCSB Central Fellowship Opportunities for Continuing Students

The Graduate Division awards a select number of university, campus, and regents fellowships based upon each departments' nominations. These fellowships range in duration and amount depending upon the specific award. Further information on campus-wide fellowships for continuing graduate students may be found on the Graduate Division website.

There are two types of UCSB fellowship awards: by departmental nomination and by student application:

  • Awards by Student Application: More information for continuing student awards is available here.
  • Awards by Departmental Nomination: The deadline for departmental nomination awards is generally the last week of February. Any member of our faculty may make a recommendation to the Department for a student's nomination. If you are interested in applying for a UCSB Central Fellowship that require departmental nomination, please discuss your interest with any of our faculty and/or with the staff graduate advisor. More information can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook.

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Extramural Funding Resources for Continuing and Prospective Students

UCSB's Graduate Division also offers several public e-mail electronic mailing lists for graduate student funding opportunities, as well as a search feature.

We also recommend joining the Science, Engineering and Math electronic mailing lists for graduate student funding opportunities. Upcoming deadlines for grants/fellowships/awards relevant to graduate students in the sciences will automatically be emailed to you each month.

UCSB also subscribes to the Illinois Researcher and Information Service and Community of Science Funding Opportunities (COS) which are extramural funding source databases with search capabilities along with instructions on how to conduct a search.

Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students: UC Office of Research has provided links designed for both prospective and continuing UC graduate students who wish to explore the research opportunities that UC has to offer.

Resources to help with writing your proposal are available from the UCSB Office of Research

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Some Federal and Private Extramural Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students in the Sciences

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program
Three-year award for students in science and engineering disciplines

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Three-year award for students in science and engineering disciplines

Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowships
Up to 5-year award for students in the applied physical sciences

Bell Labs Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Graduate fellowship renewable up to four years for minorities and women in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology

Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships
The Fellowship Office of The National Academies administers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowship programs in research-based fields of study

National Physical Science Consortium
Graduate fellowships for minority and women students in the physical sciences

Amelia Earhart Fellowship Award Program
Awarded to outstanding women pursuing graduate degrees in aerospace-related sciences and engineering for the upcoming academic year

National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science Inc.
Provides graduate fellowships in engineering and science to "highly qualified individuals from communities where human capital is virtually untapped"

AT&T Laboratories Fellowship Program
Fellowships are available to outstanding under-represented minority and women students who are pursuing PhD studies in computer and communications-related fields

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Providing opportunities for continuing generations of able and accomplished New Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen fields

University of California, in compliance with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or age in any of its policies, procedures, or practices; nor does the University discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access to, treatment, and employment in University programs and activities,including but not limited to, academic admissions, financial aid, educational services, and student employment. Inquiries regarding the University's equal opportunity policies may be directed to: Affirmative Action Office, Cheadle Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 Phone: (805) 893-2089.

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