Adequate funding can be an important determinant of a student’s success in graduate school; therefore, SAFS requires funding packages for all incoming graduate students. These can include:

  • fellowships
  • research or teaching assistantships
  • employer support
  • other forms of aid (e.g., governmental sponsorship).

You do not need to have a funding package secured before submitting your application for admission. Funding is determined prior to an admission offer being made, depending upon faculty grants, external fellowship awards, or other factors. The faculty member who sponsors admission will assemble a funding package that includes any research and teaching assistantships if you have no eligible external funding (e.g., fellowships, employer support, etc.). Applicants to SAFS cannot apply to research or teaching assistantships prior to admission, but they can apply directly for external fellowships (e.g., NSF). Funding packages typically provide a monthly stipend for living expenses, health insurance, and payment for most tuition costs.

Student loans, personal funds/savings, or other forms of “self-funding” are not factored into funding considerations for admissions purposes in the SAFS graduate program. Students can use personal funds and student loans after being admitted; however, primary funding for admissions purposes must come from eligible sources (e.g., research or teaching assistantships, fellowships, employer support, etc.) for at least six to eight quarters of guaranteed support.

The majority of SAFS graduate students are funded by half-time (50%) research assistantships (RA-ships) paid from faculty research grants. An advisor can also fund students using half-time (50%) teaching assistantships (TA-ships) for courses they teach, but this is usually in conjunction with RA-ships for quarters in which TA-ships are not available. For example, a graduate student might TA for 2 quarters and then be funded as an RA for 6 quarters.

A limited number of SAFS fellowships for outstanding entering students are available and normally are awarded in the form of up to eight quarters of fellowship support equivalent to a 50% research assistantship. All applicants are automatically evaluated for SAFS fellowships by the Recruitment, Admissions, and Scholarship Committee (RASC), but only top applicants in the overall pool are eligible (usually around the 90th percentile).

No additional application materials are needed to be considered for fellowship or assistantship funding within SAFS. RASC reviews all regular application materials for fellowship eligibility, and faculty advisors automatically consider applicants for any available teaching assistantships and grant-funded research assistantships, before sponsoring an applicant’s admission.

Salary and Benefits for Research and Teaching Assistantships

Visit the UW Graduate School site to view monthly salary/stipend for incoming master’s and doctoral students.

  • Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) (i.e., health insurance) premiums are paid by the UW in full for students who hold an eligible research or teaching assistantship or fellowship, as detailed on the GAIP website.
  • A tuition waiver pays for the Operating Fee, Technology Fee, and Non-resident portions of tuition (most of the overall tuition cost). Students are responsible for paying their student fees. This amount increases each year in conjunction with tuition related fees; the current tuition rates are posted online and are usually updated each August.

The UW Financial Aid Office publishes a cost of attendance estimate for the nine-month academic year. Please keep in mind that out-of-state (i.e., non-resident) tuition is waived each quarter a student holds an eligible research, teaching assistantship, or fellowship.

Some students may also receive financial support from their agency (i.e., employer) or they may be international students with scholarships from their home countries. In these cases, applicable external funding is normally used before any internal SAFS funding.

The UW Graduate School provides additional information about fellowships, assistantships and other funding opportunities. is a resource for Federal funding opportunities. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for non-SAFS grants, fellowships, and scholarships before and during their time at SAFS because external funding may increase their chance of securing a faculty sponsor for admission to SAFS by satisfying our funding requirement, and it often creates some flexibility in their research when funding is not tied to their advisor’s research grant(s).

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