Funding Graduate School

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Photo by Katherine B. Turner

Graduate students in geography receive financial assistance from a variety of sources. The majority of these involve a work commitment, most commonly as a Teaching Assistant (TA). Many students find opportunities in other units at the University of Washington, and many succeed in securing funds from such outside agencies as the National Science Foundation. Tuition fees are waived for students with Teaching Assistant positions, most Research Assistant positions and other forms of on-campus employment, and many outside funding opportunities. The Department of Geography also employs hourly academic student employees. The information on this page is not all-encompassing, but is meant to be a starting point for helping you find graduate school funding.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Several students each quarter work as a TA in department courses. Many students also work as a TA in other departments and programs, including:

Teaching Assistantships are usually allocated in May for the following academic year beginning in autumn quarter. No additional applications for funding are necessary for applicants to the graduate program because all are automatically considered for funding. Current students must write an annual statement of academic progress and indicate a desire for future funding.

Research Assistantships (RA)

Some students each year are invited to work with faculty in the Department of Geography as a Research Assistant. In addition, our students have secured RA appointments or fellowships in several UW programs, including:

Each summer quarter, additional instructional opportunities may arise for A-Term, B-Term, or Full-Term. These positions usually carry with them full teaching responsibilities as a Predoctoral Instructor, and are available only to graduate students with Ph.C. status. The department’s limited summer offerings are based on projections of which courses are likely to achieve high enrollment levels. Due to there being so few summer teaching opportunities, this is not a funding opportunity that should be expected or relied upon.

Research Funding

More than a dozen of our students have been funded over the past 10 years by the Department of Family Medicine, and two have received fellowships from the Department of Health Services in their prestigious Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Predoctoral Fellowship Program. Several other students have also been in the Department of Health Services selective Doctoral Opportunities Program. In addition, our students have earned prestigious national level awards such as National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, NSF Doctoral Dissertation Fieldwork Grants, Fulbright Awards, Social Science Research Council Awards, InterAmerican Foundation Grants and Luce Fellowships. The Graduate School also administers a wide range of fellowships. Click the link below for more details about fellowships and grants that geography graduate students often apply for:

Graduate Fellowships & Grants

Conference Funding

Departmental AAG Funding

The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers is the largest gathering in the discipline, and is, therefore, an important component of graduate students’ professional development. The department provides support for current Ph.D. students to attend the annual meeting twice during the course of their program. The amount of support varies by year. The department chair announces the amount of support and the deadline to apply in early fall quarter of each academic year.

GPSS Travel Grants

Graduate students are eligible to apply for travel grants from the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS). This grant is typically only given to students with high financial need. There are deadlines throughout the year, depending on when the conference is taking place. 

Graduate Student Conference Travel Awards

This award is hosted by the UW Graduate School. Individual awards are limited to one per every other year. Maximum award amounts are $300 for national travel and $500 for international travel. There are different deadlines depending on the month of travel and requests for this funding should go through the Director of Academic Services on a quarterly basis.

Funding Resources