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Tuition & Financial Aid


For information on the costs associated with attending the University of Minnesota, please see the University's Office of the Registrar main page.

Financial Aid

All graduate students who apply and have complete applications by the December 15th deadline are automatically considered for departmental financial aid awards first. Applications submitted after December 15th may be placed on a waiting list for financial aid. Application materials, including transcripts, statements of purpose, and letters of recommendation will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee when determining financial aid awards. Three types of finanical support are available to graduate students: teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (RAs), and fellowships. These awards include a regular stipend, waiver of all or part of tuition and fees, and a health insurance benefit package. The number of teaching and research assistantships fluctuates with enrollment and availability of funds. International students should also contact the office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for counseling, advising, financial aid, career and immigration status services. Please note: Individual faculty members are not authorized to make official or final offers of financial aid. An offer of financial aid is not considered official unless received from the Director of Graduate Studies, Prof. Demoz Gebre-Egziabher.

Graduate Assistantships:

Graduate assistantship appointments are either 50% (an average of 20 hours a week) or 25% (an average of 10 hours a week) and come in the form of research or teaching assistantship. A graduate assistant appointed 50% time (an average of 20 hours per week) for the full-semester payroll period (which begins before the start of classes and extends beyond finals week) typically receives a tuition benefit equivalent to the Graduate School's tuition band level (at resident rates). This benefit would cover 6-14 credits per semester. Graduate assistants appointed for less than 50% time or for less than the full semester payroll period will not receive the maximum tuition benefits. Their benefits are prorated according to the total number of hours worked over the 19.5 week payroll semester. Maximum benefits require appointments of at least 390 hours per semester (20 hours x 19.5 weeks). Appointments for fewer than 97.5 hours per semester (equivalent to a 12.5% appointment for the full term) do not qualify for any tuition benefit. Fees billed by the University are NOT convered by any type of assistantship. Support from the Department beyond the first year is contingent upon the availability of funds. Priority for departmental positions is given to students making timely progress towards their degrees. General policy and procedure information about graduate assistant appointments can be found online .

It is possible to hold simultaneous teaching and research assistantships within any academic semester. If simultaneous appointments are made, then each is typically a 25% appointment. Maximum appointments to teaching assistantship and/or research assistantship positions are 50%, except in unusual cases where graduate students who have qualified for doctoral candidacy may receive 75% appointments if a distinct service need exists. F-1 and J-1 visa holders cannot hold appointments greater than 50% time during the fall and spring terms.

Students must register in the semester in which they hold a graduate assistantship (except during summer sessions providing they were registered the preceding spring semester).

Teaching Assistants: (Primary means of support for first year students.) Teaching Assistants work under the supervision of faculty or academic staff, providing assistance to the faculty in teaching or advising students registered for specific courses. The assignments typically require demonstrated expertise in the course subject matter to which the student is assigned. Teaching Assistants may work under direct supervision of the faculty member responsible for a course or may be the instructor of record for an entire course.

Responsibilities: will vary according to the nature of the specific position assigned and according to the department's requirements:

  • Grading of examinations, reports, and/or assigning final grades
  • Preparation of examinations or class materials
  • Assistance provided to faculty in the teaching or advising of students registered in specific courses
  • Supervision or instruction of laboratory classes, recitation sections, or intern groups
  • Academic administrative duties directly related to administration of a course

English Proficiency for International Assistants: The University of Minnesota requires high standards of English proficiency for nonnative English speaking students who are appointed to teaching assistant and instructor positions. Spoken proficiency is assessed in one of three ways: Internet-based TOEFL (speaking subscore), SETTA (Spoken English Test for Teaching Assistants), or final exam taken after coursework in the International TA Program. Scores on these assessments are converted into numerical English Language Proficiency (ELP) ratings which correspond to eligibility for various teaching responsibilities (i.e., higher proficiency corresponds with more demanding instructional responsibilities.) For ELP ratings lower than 1, one to three semesters of ITA Program coursework is required. An explanation of the ELP ratings is available here. For SPEAK test registration information, please see

  • The AEM department requires all TAs have an ELP of 1 or 2.

Research Assistants: Research Assistants are appointments from faculty members who hold research contracts and grants. Once a student is admitted, a graduate research assistant appointment is possible through direct discussions with individual faculty. Please see individual faculty pages for more information on research topics. The faculty member providing support will serve as your academic adviser. Appointments vary, depending on the availability of funds and the academic progress of the student. Research appointments are made at any time in the calendar year depending on funding and other factors. It is expected that all students move to research appointments after their first year.

Responsibilities: Research assistants perform duties of a specialized nature connected with research assigned by the supporting department or principal research investigator. The research assistantship may provide the base for part or all of the student's thesis; it may provide technical skills specifically required by the degree program. May include collecting research material, performing experiments, doing taxonomic work, taking field notes, preparing bibliographies, abstracting, editing, etc.

More Information: Graduate Assistantship Information

Graduate Assistant Health Insurance Plan


Fellowships are awards based on academic merit and are available to new and currently enrolled graduate students.

The Graduate School Fellowship Office administers a variety of University of Minnesota and external fellowships and grants as well as providing other resources for funding opportunities.

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is awarded by the Graduate School. The department nominates its top Ph.D. candidates for this University-wide competition each spring. The nominees are selected by the GSC. Minimum requirements for consideration include a GPA greater than 3.8 and one or more peer-reviewed journal articles published. Students must have passed their preliminary oral exam and completed all their coursework to be eligible for this academic-year award. These fellowships include stipend, tuition, and health insurance benefits.

Departmental Fellowships: A select number of students are awarded departmental fellowships which may be combined with other fellowships and assistantships for incoming students on a competivie basis each fall. All students who apply by the December 15th deadline will be automatically be considered for these fellowships.

Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE)Fellowship

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Last Modified: 2017-12-29 at 09:50:50 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation