Financial Support

Graduate School Official Information on financing and support.

Although there is no guarantee of continuous financial support for Ph.D. students, the majority of engineering Ph.D. students do receive financial support from a variety of sources, such as external (industrial, government and foundation) fellowships and scholarships, Brown University Fellowships, and either full or part-time research assistantships (RAs) and teaching assistantships (TAs).

Many of our engineering Sc.M. students receive financial support from their employers, including being sponsored in our programs, or receiving tuition reimbursement by their employers. In addition, a variety of student loans are generally available. At this time, there is no financial scholarships for master's students within engineering.

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The Office of Financial Aid handles loan applications for graduate students. Eligible students can apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan. Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms which determine eligibility for federal funds are available at

Graduate students are encouraged to apply for external funding whenever possible. The Graduate School maintains a database of opportunities, and students are welcome to use files both electronically and in hard copy. The most generally applicable opportunities are published three times a year. The Office of Research Administration provides access to a much larger database (SPIN).

Research Assistantships (RAs) represent a common form of graduate student support, and competition for these awards is keen. Students therefore should seek Faculty Advisors with well-established and adequately-funded research programs to enhance their chances of continuing support. Because externally funded research usually is provided on an annual basis, RA support normally is guaranteed for only one year at a time. Full RA appointments within the School of Engineering cover complete tuition costs for three courses/semester, and pay a stipend approximately equal to that provided by a Brown University Fellowship. Such appointments require that the student spend an average of twenty hours/week working on an advisor-approved research project. Fractional RA appointments, which are possible in the School of Engineering, pay proportional tuition costs and stipends.

Full summer RA appointments, when available, require full-time research during two of the three summer months and pay a stipend equal to one-third that provided during the academic year. Fractional summer RA appointments also are possible. Virtually all summer support comes through research grants. Graduate students who wish to be supported over the summer should complete the form sent to them in March by the Office of Student Affairs and then have the form signed by their advisors.

Brown's commitment to its undergraduate program makes it mandatory that teaching capability be the first consideration in the selection of Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Such assignments will consider the preferences and the expertise of the graduate student and the work load associated with each course. When possible, preference will be given to the more experienced graduate students without other means of financial support who have completed most of their course work and have demonstrated their ability to teach.

International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) whose first language is not English will be required to be evaluated and certified as Proficient in English before they will be allowed to assume any teaching duties, including supplementary TA appointments (see below). The International Teaching Assistant Program will assume the responsibility of certifying ITAs as proficient in English.

At the end of each semester, the supervising faculty member will evaluate graduate students holding teaching assignments. This evaluation will include suggestions for continued development as a teacher and, together with any undergraduate student evaluations, will become part of the graduate student's annual review.

Full TA appointments within the School of Engineering cover complete tuition costs for three courses/semester, and pay approximately the same stipend as RA appointments for the academic year. Such appointments require that the student spend approximately twenty hours/week on various "instructional duties,'' such as classroom and laboratory lectures, recitation and office hour discussions, one-on-one tutoring, and homework or laboratory grading. Fractional TA appointments, which are not uncommon in the School of Engineering, pay proportional tuition costs and stipends.

Supplementary Teaching Assistantships (STAs), which are very common in the School of Engineering, require five hours of instructional duties per week, often grading homework and conducting office hour discussions, and pay a stipend of approximately $2,500/semester.

The Office of Student Affairs sends a form to all graduate students prior to each semester, requesting that they indicate any desire for a TA or an STA appointment during the semester. Faculty members also are sent a complementary form for requesting graduate student teaching assistance in their courses. The Engineering TA Assignment Committee, which consists of the Dean, the Director of Engineering Graduate Programs, the Director of Finance and Operations, and the Manager of Student Affairs, then considers all of the written faculty and graduate student requests and, using the criteria delineated above, makes the appropriate teaching assignments for the semester.


Presenting papers in-person or virtually at professional conferences is important to graduate students' academic careers and growth as professionals, and is relevant experience for careers both inside and outside of academe. The knowledge gained from attending a conference, when shared with peers at Brown, contributes to the scholarly development of the entire campus. Graduate students who attend and present at academic conferences can apply to the Graduate School for up to $650 to cover registration, travel and other related expenses. Given funding limitations, an application does not guarantee support. Some programs have independent funds to support such travel; students should check with the Director of Graduate Study (DGS) for more information.

Eligible doctoral and master’s students will be approved and reimbursed through the Conference Travel Fund up to $650 per fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) as determined by the end date of the travel/conference; reimbursement will not be granted for merely attending a conference. There is not a limit on the number of times a student can apply for funding.

In order to ensure that the Graduate School's limited conference-travel funds are distributed as equitably as possible, only doctoral students in their first through fifth years of study and master’s students are automatically eligible to apply for conference travel funding. On a case-by-case basis, the Graduate School will consider applications from sixth-year doctoral students, which also require DGS approval through UFunds.

All applications must be submitted online using the UFUNDS online module. Please scan/save and upload conference description and appropriate documentation to UFUNDS. Applications must be received by the Graduate School 30 days prior to travel or the start of the conference. Questions should be submitted to via email.

Please note, given the current uncertainties about national and international travel as a result of COVID-19, the Graduate School is not currently accepting travel applications for 2020-2021. We will be monitoring the situation and will reopen this application once planning for Brown-sponsored research travel becomes possible. Students may currently apply for reimbursement for virtual conferences through the Virtual Conference Travel Application on UFunds.