Funding Your Graduate Education

There are many resources available to help defray the costs of your graduate education. 90% of UC Davis graduate students receive some form of financial support. Many of our graduate students fund their graduate education through a combination of the funding sources below. 

To help you feel more prepared in funding your graduate education, we suggest exploring the different types of funding sources available to graduate students and understanding their requirements.

Explore the University of California's What's Next UC Graduate Studies brochure for more helpful information on funding your graduate education and financial assistance resources. 

Types of Funding

Graduate students at UC Davis are supported by four main types of funding: financial aid, fellowships, academic employment, and student loans. Keep reading to learn more about each type.

  • Academic Employment
  • An academic appointment is student employment at UC Davis. Many graduate students receive academic employment at UC Davis. The most common academic appointments are Teaching Assistant (TA) positions or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions, though there are various other appointments as well.

    Academic appointments pay a salary, not a stipend, and there are minimum qualifications to be employed at UC Davis, such as staying enrolled full-time and remaining in good academic standing.

    Learn more about academic employment at UC Davis.

  • Fellowships
  • Fellowships are free monetary awards given to graduate students, similar to scholarships given to undergraduates. There are two types of fellowships:

    Internal Fellowships (UC Davis Fellowships)

    Internal fellowships are administered through Graduate Studies. They can provide financial support in the form of a stipend or "living allowance,” tuition and fees, Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST), research, travel or any combination of these. Graduate Studies administers approximately $6.6 million dollars in internal fellowships annually.

    Graduate Studies offers an extremely limited number of external scholarships to international students. Most international students do not receive internal fellowships. 

    Learn more about Internal Fellowships at UC Davis.

    External Fellowships 
    External fellowships are funds from organizations outside UC Davis. You may have heard of some of the sponsors already—the National Science Foundation, Fulbright, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are all examples of sponsors who give external fellowships to graduate students, but there are hundreds of sponsors out there with funding. The External Fellowships advisors in Graduate Studies can help graduate students through the process of applying for these fellowships.


    Final Notes About Fellowships
    Sometimes fellowships have research or reporting requirements attached to them. Fellowships typically pay a stipend and not a salary. To be eligible for fellowships, you have to be sure to fulfill obligations such as maintaining full time enrollment and a minimum GPA.

    When it comes to applying for fellowships, pay particular attention to deadlines:
    - At UC Davis, the internal fellowship deadline is your
    program's priority deadline.
    - Most external fellowship applications are due before university applications.

  • Financial Aid and Student Loans
  • In graduate school, financial aid typically refers to various types of student educational loans. We recommend you submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) if you plan on applying for financial aid, including student loans.

    Student Educational Loans
    Student loans are funds borrowed from an external source with the expectation that they will be paid back. UC Davis Financial Aid administers federal and state loans for graduate and professional students, and also administers various short-term loan programs for graduate students with unexpected need. Only 2% of graduate students at UC Davis rely on loans to fully fund their education. You must complete a FAFSA application each year (ideally in March) to calculate your Financial Need to determine your eligibility for educational loans.

    Visit the UC Davis Financial Aid Office to learn more about student loans.