Financial Support

Generally, students are supported for their careers at UW through a mixture of research assistantships (RAs), teaching assistantships (TAs), and fellowships. We are all but certain to have assistantships for all entering and continuing graduate students. These positions all provide a stipend and a tuition waver.

RAs are funded through the research grants held by members of the faculty. Students holding such positions participate in specified research projects; the total time commitment is 20 hours a week.

TAs are employed by the University to assist faculty in their teaching activities. TAs teach undergraduate labs for four hours per week. They also grade homework and exams, design learning exercises, and meet with students during office hours; the total time commitment is 20 hours a week.

Although all our students usually have access to TAs and RAs administered directly by our Department, there are also a variety of very attractive optional fellowship programs that may be of interest to students enrolled in the Department. Some of our graduate students have held or currently hold a variety of fellowships, including the Astronaut Fellowship, the Dorothy Danforth Compton Fellowship, the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Fellowship, Space Grant Fellowship, the Harriett G Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship, and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. We pursue such support with vigor for all entering students.

In addition, the Theodor Jacobsen Fund, named after a department Chair and member of the department from 1928 to 1971, was set up to support the research activities of UW graduate students. Applicants can request small grants from the Jacobsen Fund in order to subsidize professional travel, training, or publication costs. The departmental front office will accept completed applications until the first Friday of every quarter. Applications are available in pdf format.

Financial support cannot be guaranteed, since the funding is partially based on research grants. However, support has been continuously available to all students making satisfactory progress toward their degrees during the normal academic calendar for as long as we can remember. Summer support is more limited, but has been available as needed in the recent past. Graduate students in the early years of the program are also encouraged to take summer positions at other institutions, in order to round out their education and make outside research contacts.

Multi-Year Fellowships

Fellowship Target Deadline Comments
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Offers three-year graduate research fellowships in science, mathematics, and engineering, including Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science awards. Typically November
Reference letters typically due in December
Fellowships are intended for individuals in the early stages of their graduate study. In most cases, an individual has three opportunities to apply: prior to or during the senior year of college, the first year of graduate school, and the beginning of the second year of graduate school.
See here for helpful information.
Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST). Individuals pursuing Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in Earth and space sciences, or related disciplines, at accredited U.S. Universities. Typically February The purpose of FINESST is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s scientific goals. Awards resulting from the competitive selection will be made in the form of training grants to the respective universities with the advisor serving as the principal investigator.
The National Physical Science Consortium Fellowship NPSC welcomes all qualified students with emphasis towards the recruitment of minorities and females. Typically November Must be: (1) a U. S. citizen and have the ability to pursue graduate work at an NPSC member institution; (2) in your senior year with at least a 3.0/4.0 GPA, OR in your first year of a grad program pursuing a Ph.D., OR in a terminal master’s program (no Ph.D. in your discipline at your university) OR returning from the workforce with no more than a master’s degree.
The Graduate Fellowships of the Hertz Foundation. We are a private foundation which provides fellowships tenable at three dozen of the nation’s finest universities for graduate work leading to award of the Ph.D. degree in applications of the physical sciences. Typically November for both Application and Reference Reports. Eligible applicants for Hertz Fellowships must be students of the applied physical sciences who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States of America, and who are willing to morally commit to make their skills available to the United States in time of national emergency (see our Moral Commitment section).
The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship 3-year fellowship, open only to applicants who are citizens or nationals of the United States. Applications are encouraged from women, persons with disabilities, and members of ethnic and racial minority groups. Typically January Intended to increase the number of U.S. citizens and nationals trained in science and engineering disciplines of military importance. Applicants must meet one of the following conditions for eligibility: 1) be enrolled in their final year of undergraduate studies, or 2) have completed no more than the equivalent of one academic year of full-time graduate study as a part-time or full-time student. NDSEG Fellows do not incur any military or other service obligation.
The Harriett G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program Women, minorities, and disabled persons participating in the math, science, engineering, and technology disciplines in the workforce. Typically January Applicants must be a member of an underrepresented group that includes women, minorities, and disabled persons. Students who have completed school and departmental requirements for doctoral candidacy including but not limited to Doctoral Qualification Examination(s), Cumulative Examination(s), or Comprehensive Examination(s) are ineligible. [Note: This means you must apply before passing your general exam!]
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans The fellowships provide grants for up to two years of graduate study in the United States. The fellow receives an annual maintenance grant of $20,000 and a tuition grant of one-half the tuition cost of the U.S. graduate program attended by the fellow. Thirty fellowships will be awarded each year. Typically November For the purposes of this program, a “new American” is an individual who (1) is a resident alien, i.e., holds a Green Card; or (2) has been naturalized as a U.S. citizen; or (3) is the child of two parents who are both naturalized citizens.
The Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Dissertation Fellowships for Minorities The Ford Foundation offers predoctoral and dissertation completion fellowships to members of six minority groups whose underrepresentation in the professoriate has been severe and long-standing. Typically November both Predoctoral Fellowship and Dissertation Fellowship. Eligibility to apply in the predoctoral/dissertation fellowship competitions is limited to:

+Alaska Natives (Eskimo or Aleut)
+Black/African Americans
+Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
+Native American Indians
+Native Pacific Islanders (Polynesian/Micronesian)
+Puerto Ricans

Furthermore, predoctoral fellowship applicants must demonstrate that they require at least three years of work toward the Ph.D./Sc.D. degree as of the fall 2004 semester, and that at least one of these years will be dedicated to completing course work.

The GEM Fellowship Applicant must be an engineering, physical science or natural science major and be from one of the following underrepresented minority groups: Native American, African American, Latino, Puerto Rican, or other Hispanic American. Typically November GEM fellows in the Ph.D. Science Fellowship Program are assigned a summer internship with a GEM Employer prior to beginning their fellowship at a GEM member University (UW is one).
Amelia Earhart Fellowship The Amelia Earhart Fellowship program awards 35 women of any nationality $10,000 for pursuits of a Ph.D degree in aerospace-related sciences. Fellows have gone on to become astronomers, astronauts, professors, business owners, heads of companies, etc. November 15, 2012 Women of any nationality pursuing a Ph.D./doctoral degree who demonstrate a superior academic record in the field of aerospace-related sciences and aerospace-related engineering are eligible.

One-time Grants and Internships


Fellowship Target Deadline Comments
East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students (EAPSI) U.S. Graduate Students in Science and Engineering. Typically December The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes provide U.S. graduate students in science and engineering: 1) first-hand research experience in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or Taiwan; 2) an introduction to the science and science policy infrastructure of the respective location; and 3) orientation to the society, culture and language. The institutes last approximately eight weeks from June to August.
The Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program of the National Academies The Policy Fellowship Program of the National Academies is designed to engage graduate and postdoctoral students in science and technology policy and to familiarize them with the interactions among science, technology, and government. Typically November, March, and June In 2008 the internship program will comprise three, 10-week sessions:
Winter: January – March
Summer: June – August
Fall: September – November
Candidates may apply to all three programs simultaneously.
NRAO Summer Student Resarch Assistantships First or second year graduate students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions or who are eligible for a Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) from an accredited U.S. Graduate Program. Typically January These programs are intended for graduate students whose faculty advisors want them to have a concentrated exposure to research in radio astronomy, its instrumentation, or computational methods, under the supervision of an NRAO staff astronomer or engineer. In addition to the summer program, applications for 1-6 month graduate internships are accepted at any time.
Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research Program Graduate students currently enrolled in degree seeking programs. There are no citizenship restrictions. International students and non-U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply. Typically March and October Astronomy grants are awarded up to a maximum of $5,000. Funding may be used for:
* Purchase of specific equipment necessary to undertake the proposed research project.
* Travel to and from a research site.
While membership in Sigma Xi is not a requirement for the program as a whole, the majority of the funds (75%) are designated for use by individuals whose primary advisors are Sigma Xi members or who are Sigma Xi student members themselves.
The Washington NASA Space Grant Fellowship Program The Washington NASA Space Grant Fellowship Program recruits to the University of Washington some of the most gifted graduate students in the country. Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium collects departmental nominations in March of each year. Fellows are selected on the basis of a nomination from their recruiting department, their Graduate Record Examination scores, current grade point average, faculty recommendations, and area of research.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Fellowship Scholarship candidates must be nominated by faculty or staff, and they must be a junior, senior, or graduate student at one of a select group of schools. Students may not apply directly for the scholarship. Spring Special consideration is not given to aeronautical/astronautical engineering students or those intending to pursue careers as astronauts. Special consideration is given to students who have shown initiative, creativity, excellence and/or resourcefulness in their field.

Travel Grants

Fellowship Target Deadline Comments
The Graduate School Graduate Student Travel Awards Awards are available to assist graduate students with travel fares to conferences or other professional meetings to present a paper or serve as an invited speaker. Jul 1 for travel between Jul 1 and Aug 30

Aug 1 for travel between Sep 1 and Oct 31

Sep 1 for travel between Oct 1 and Nov 30

Oct 1 for travel between Nov 1 and Dec 30

Nov 1 for travel between Dec 1 and Jan 31

Dec 1 for travel between Jan 1 and Feb 28/29

Jan 1 for travel between Feb 1 and Mar 31

Feb 1 for travel between Mar 1 and Apr 30

Mar 1 for travel between Apr 1 and May 31

Apr 1 for travel between May 1 and Jun 30

May 1 for travel between Jun 1 and Jun 30

Individual awards are limited to one every other year. Maximum award amounts are:
* $300 domestic,
* $500 international.
Funding will be approved on a first-come-first-served basis with adjustments to maintain equity in the process.
AAS International Travel Grants The AAS administers a National Science Foundation grant, which provides funding for airline travel to international science meetings. The program only funds round-trip, coach-class airfare to the meeting, it does not provide additional funds for living expenses or lodging. Typically January, 201X for meetings between 3/1/201X-1 and 8/31/201X-1.
Typically June, 201X for meetings between 9/1/201X-1 and 2/29/201X.
Amount: airfare
SDSS Astronomer Travel Assistance Fund
(See bottom of page for pdf document)
Grants are provided to enable younger astronomers (broadly interpreted) to attend SDSS collaboration meetings or to present SDSS data/results at AAS or APS meetings. Those eligible are younger astronomers employed by SDSS participating institutions who have made significant contributions to the SDSS and would not otherwise be able to attend the meeting. 30 days prior to the start of the meeting for which funding is requested. Amount: up to $500 for domestic travel or $1000 for foreign travel. No more than one award will be granted per institution per meeting.
GPSS Travel Grants University of Washington graduate or professional students. Typically August, November, February, and May Amount: up to $250. The funds can be used for traveling to an academic or professional conference that relates to a student’s area of study and will enhance professional development. Graduate and professional students can receive GPSS Travel Grants only once during their graduate career. Applications will be accepted and reviewed every three months by GPSS according to application deadlines. Your date of travel must be between deadlines.