Graduate Financial Aid

There are several ways for well-qualified graduate students to obtain financial support with which to pursue their advanced degrees. This support, in the form of pre-doctoral fellowships, graduate assistantships (Research and teaching) and other part-time employment at the University, is available on a competitive basis. The following paragraphs describe some of the important aspects of financial aid. Awards are normally made in March; therefore, students desiring financial aid are encouraged to submit their applications early. Additional information is available from the Student Financial Aid Office.

Support Categories

Financial aid available to students falls into one or more of the following categories.

  1. Full-time Graduate Assistantships: These require twenty (20) hours of work per week. The assigned duties may involve either Research or teaching, depending on the source of funds. International students are usually not considered for a teaching position until they have been on campus for a year, and demonstrate their command of the English language by passing the SPEAK test given by the university. The 2013 stipends for nine months of service (approximately August 23-May 22) are as follows (and increase by approximately 3%/year):
    • $19,383 for Graduate Assistants with at least the bachelor’s degree.
    • $20,396 for experienced Graduate Assistants with at least the master’s degree or its equivalent.
    • $22,676 for experienced Graduate Assistants who have passed the General Examination for the Ph.D.

    Tuition (but not the general university fee) is waived for all graduate assistants. In addition, medical and dental benefits are provided.

  2. Half-time Graduate Assistantships: These are similar to the full time positions described above but require half of the work. This appointment carries half the stipend given above; but tuition is waived in full. Often two half-time assistantships (half teaching, half Research) are combined to form one full-time appointment.
  3. Lecturerships: These require ten (10) or twenty (20) hours per week. This appointment carries a stipend equivalent to the half and full-time assistantships, respectively; however, it does not carry tuition, medical and dental benefits.
  4. A Full University Pre-doctoral Fellowship: These provide up to $4,000 per academic year ($2,000 per semester). They are intended for students who show interest in eventually pursuing Ph.D. studies, and are generally offered to first-year students (including international students). There are no specific duties required of a fellowship recipient. Tuition is not waived with the receipt of a fellowship. (See #5).
  5. A Partial University Pre-doctoral Fellowship: Fellowship stipends are sometimes combined with assistantships to cover extraordinary student needs and/or to decrease the assistantship duties during the academic year.
  6. Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships: These provide up to $2,000 for a semester or during the summer. They are available (generally once) to Ph.D. candidates upon completion of the general examination and approval of their thesis prospectus.
  7. Work Study: These awards are available to U.S. Citizens or permanent residents, based solely on student need. They provide a stipend of up to $1,500/semester in return for various assigned duties not to exceed twenty (20) hours/week. Further information may be obtained from the Student Financial Aid Office, U-116.
  8. Student Labor: Various Research projects utilize graduate students on a part-time basis for a specific service such as: software development, data analysis, hardware design, etc. Student Labor requests are advertised through the department.
  9. Industrial Fellowships: Financial aid is sometimes available in the form of fellowships from industrial firms for students who are interested in teaching as a career.
  10. Cooperative Education: Under the Cooperative Education Program, students can be employed, for one or two semester periods, by industries who are participating in this program at the University of Connecticut.

For latest information please refer to: http://payroll.uconn.edu/PY/for_departments/graduate.html

Availability of Support

As a large number of applications for financial aid are received each year, it is not possible to offer aid to all new students who apply. Incoming students who have received aid in the past have usually met the following minimal requirements.

  1. A strong undergraduate academic record having at least an overall B+ average (GPA 3.3/4.0).
  2. A well-rounded undergraduate program covering basic science, mathematics, engineering and computer technology.
  3. Strong recommendations from faculty members and/or supervisors who are aware of the background and capabilities of the applicant.
  4. Familiarity and experience with electrical engineering course work and/or laboratories in order to be considered for a teaching assistantship position.

While it is sometimes not possible to offer a graduate student financial aid during the first year on campus, the likelihood of receiving aid for the second and continuing years is very high. Generally, over 90% of continuing graduate students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program who request financial aid are granted some support.

Continuation and Renewal

Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships are normally awarded by semester or by academic year. Reappointment in succeeding years is contingent upon the availability of funds, and upon the performance of the student both academically and in his or her assigned work.

In the past years, students who have performed well have not had difficulty in obtaining continued support. Normally an M.S. student will only receive support for two years unless very special circumstances warrant a third year of support. It is expected that a student will not accept any other employment during the period of the assistantship or fellowship.

Summer Support

A large Research program, maintained by the ECE faculty, provides a substantial source of funds for the on-campus employment of students during the summer months. By working with faculty members on a project, a student may earn up to an additional 1/4 of a graduate assistant annual salary. Work study and student labor positions are also available during the summer. Off-campus summer employment is often available through the local industry, or with firms in Connecticut, New York and Boston areas.

Employment for Spouses

To inquire about employment opportunities for spouses, please contact the Department of Human Resources at the following address:

Department of Human Resources
University of Connecticut
9 Walters Avenue, U-75
Storrs, CT 06269-5075
Phone: (860) 486-3034

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