Graduate Financial Support

Financial support is available in the form of fellowships, traineeships, teaching assistantships (TAships), and research assistantships (GSRs). The Department supports most full-time graduate students at the Ph.D. level. Sources of funding include university fellowships and traineeships from National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grants. Awarding of financial support is competitive, and stipends average $34,000.00 for the academic year in addition to the coverage of tuition, fees, and health insurance.

U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents in the Ph.D. program must establish California Residency by the start of the second year as Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) will only be paid in the first year. More information about establishing California Residency for tuition purposes can be found on the Registrars’ Office website at This does not apply to international students

The Department does not offer financial support to students at the M.S. or M.Eng. level. Masters students are encouraged to seek information on how to fund their education from the sources listed in the “Financial Support Links” section below.

Principles: Ph.D. Support Policies and Eligibility

The Department of Bioengineering expects that all students admitted to the Ph.D. program who maintain good academic standing and satisfactory progress towards completion of the degree will receive financial support from a departmental, faculty advisor, or extramural source. This support will consist of tuition/ fee remission and a stipend at a nominal minimum level set each year and offered to all newly admitted students.

Good Academic Performance 


Good academic standing and satisfactory progress in the department will be established by: 

  1. Maintaining a GPA of at least 3.4
  2. Satisfying all departmental teaching obligations on time
  3. Passing departmental and qualifying exams within the prescribed schedule
  4. eceiving satisfactory annual progress reports 

Failure to meet one of these standards will not, however, mean the automatic loss of financial support. These cases will be reviewed individually by the department chair in consultation with the faculty advisor, the Graduate Students Committee, and Bioengineering Student Affairs. 


Additional Support Eligibility Requirements


To be eligible for UC San Diego support (campus appointments, fellowships, traineeships, tuition/fee scholarships, etc.), graduate students must meet the following basic eligibility requirements: 

  1. Full-time enrollment (12 units or more per quarter)
  2. Good academic standing, including meeting departmental standards, having a satisfactory spring evaluation, and NOT having accumulated more than a total of eight units of "F" and/or "U" grades overall
  3. Be within departmental support time limit. Refer to the time limit information under the Ph.D. section on our “Degree Programs” page.


Department Support 


The department will provide one year of financial support to eligible first year doctoral students who do not have other sources of support. 


Student Support 


Student support in subsequent years is expected to come from faculty research grants or individual fellowships awarded to the student. Students are urged to consult early with their faculty advisor and to apply for fellowships and grants for which they are eligible.


International Students


International doctoral students are eligible for first-year departmental support and subsequent faculty advisor funding just like domestic students. 


Supplementary Awards


In cases where students receive fellowships that do not cover the full amount of tuition/ fees or the nominal stipend level, the department or faculty advisor will supplement the student to make up for any shortfall. If the department supplements a fellowship, the amount supplemented is considered part of the departmental support. Supplementary awards by the department above the nominal level are not generally made, except in special circumstances such as when supplementation is a condition of the awarding agency. The department will not generally support Ph.D. students in their 6th or later years, except in extenuating circumstances; however, faculty advisor supplementation of 6th-year students will be considered.


Outside Employment

Departmental Policy


Graduate students who receive financial support for their graduate studies whether from a research grant, departmental sources including GSR positions, or an extramural fellowship in an amount equal to or exceeding the departmental guidelines for full-time graduate study (see "Principles" section above), are expected to devote full-time effort to graduate studies and research. Therefore, paid employment outside the Department of Bioengineering is not generally permitted for supported graduate students and must be approved by both the student's faculty advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee.

This policy does not strictly apply to "unsupported" students, and exceptions will generally be considered for students receiving less than the amount indicated in the departmental guideline for full-time study. Exceptions will be considered favorably in those instances where the outside employment is clearly related to the graduate research or study goals of the student and is approved by the advisor, unless such employment clearly reduces the availability of paid positions (such as TAships in other departments) open to unsupported bioengineering graduate students.


University Policy


The Graduate Council in the Academic Senate has approved the following policy regarding a graduate student's employment outside UC San Diego in a company in which their research advisor has an interest: 

If a graduate student is employed by a company outside UC San Diego in which a faculty member has a fiduciary interest (e.g. owns, consults), then that faculty member may not serve as the thesis/dissertation advisor of the graduate student. However, such a faculty member may participate on the student's thesis/dissertation committee. Further, if the faculty member is on the thesis/dissertation committee, then he/she must inform the University, through the appropriate offices, of the situation and any possible conflict of interest. Upon review, exceptions may be granted by the Dean of the Graduate Division. 

Questions regarding this policy may be referred to the Dean of the Graduate Division and/ or the Assistant Dean, Graduate Academic Affairs, in the Graduate Division. Their contact information can be found on the Graduate Division’s website at 



Financial Support Links

Below is a list of helpful links to find more information about financial support opportunities.

UC San Diego Financial Aid & Scholarships Office 

UC San Diego Graduate Division  

UC San Diego Career Services Center

National Institutes of Health

National Science Foundation