Graduate Student Resources

Academic Student Employment Positions (go)
Travel Funding (go)
Residency Requirements (go)
Direct Deposit (go)





All graduate students at UC San Diego are responsible for tuition and fees each quarter in order to utilize University resources.  Students can receive financial support to help cover these costs in the forms of fellowships, scholarships, and academic student employment positions.  To be eligible for financial support, graduate students must be registered full-time (12 units) and be in good academic standing.

Departmental fellowships are provided to the most oustanding applicants to the Ph.D. program though the generous support of the Jacobs School of Engineering.  These awards are very competitive and not all applicants who are offered admission are offered departmental fellowships.  Throughout the year, other fellowships and awards are available to all graduate students.  Students are encouraged to follow this link for a list of annual fellowships and awards.

Currently, there is no funding provided by the department for MS students. For more information on financial support, please see "Additional Resources" below.


Academic Student Employment Positions

Both Ph.D. and M.S. students are eligible for the appointments listed below, but priority is given to Ph.D. students.  Appointments are quantified by a percentage based on a 40-hour work week (i.e., 100% = 40 hours per week; 50% = 20 hours per week; 25% = 10 hours per week).  Graduate students cannot work more than 50% during the academic year, or 100% during the summer.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)

Paid research positions are available via grants awarded to faculty members.  Students employed as GSRs at 25% or above qualify for GSR Tuition and Fee Remission which covers all tuition, fees, and nonresident student tuition (if applicable).  Students should talk to their faculty advisor for availability.

Approximate monthly salary rates (2018-2019):

  • 49.99%: $2,417 (for students pre-Senate Exam); $2,610 (for students post-Senate Exam)
  • 25%: $1,209 (for students pre-Senate Exam); $1,305
Teaching Assistant (TA) / Reader

Teaching Assistants and Readers are hired on a quarterly basis to support teaching instruction.  Appointment percentages are assigned based on course enrollment.  Students in the MAE and MATS Departments will be notified when quarterly applications are open.  Students can also apply for positions in other departments on the UCSD Open Positions website.  Offers are typically extended one month prior to the start of the quarter.  Students employed as TAs or Readers 25% and above are eligible for TA Fee Remission which covers the majority of resident tuition and fees.  The Teaching + Learning Commons offers training opportunities for TAs and future faculty members.  

Before they can be appointed as a teaching assistants, all international graduate students at UCSD are required to deomonstrate a high level of oral and aural competence in the English language.  International students must contact MAE Grad Admin ( to schedule an English Language Certification Examination (ELCE) as soon as they are offered their first TA position.  The ELCE must be taken during finals week or the week after to be eligible to work as a TA the following quarter.  Students can follow this link for more information on the ELCE.

Approximate monthly salary rates (2018-2019):

Teaching Assistant (TA)

  • 50%: $2,363/month
  • 25%: $1,181/month

Reader: $16.26/hour

All new Associates In, Teaching Assistants, Readers and Tutors must attend the New Academic Student Employee (ASE) Orientation.

  • Fall 2018 ASE Orientation: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 | Price Center West Theater | 8:30a - 10:15a
  • Winter 2019 ASE Orientation: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 | Price Center East Ballroom | 8:00a - 9:45a
Fee Remission

Graduate Students hired as Instructional Assistants at 25% or above are eligible for Fee Remission which covers the majority of Resident Tuition and Fees.  The MATS Program does not cover the balance of fees.  The TA Fee Deferment Program allows graduate students appointed at a minimum of 25% for the entire quarter to pay the balance of their registration fees (excluding nonresident supplemental tuition) through payroll deduction.


Travel Funding

The MATS Department provides travel grants of up to $1,000 per fiscal year (July - June) to Ph.D. students presenting their work at conferences. Applicants must be in good academic standing and must be registered for the quarter during which the conference takes place. Students applying for grants during the summer must have been registered during the preceding spring quarter.

To apply for travel funding, Ph.D. students must submit an MATS Ph.D. Student Travel Grant Form prior to booking travel arrangements. If approved, the student will receive a confirmation email from the MATS Student Affairs Office with the award amount. Payment of funds will be processed as a reimbursement.

The GSA also has funds available for graduate and professional students; follow this link for more information.


Residency Requirements

Non-residents of the state of California must establish residency immediately upon entering the State. If students do not establish residency by the end of their first year of study, out of state tuition WILL NOT BE COVERED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. This means that even if a student holds a TA or Graduate Student Researcher position, the out of state tuition will not be covered under these jobs.

Establishing residency can be a lengthy and frustrating experience. Students are encouraged to start with this residency information and read it thoroughly from beginning to end. Departments can't answer questions about residency because it involves laws of the State of California. All questions must be sent to the Residence Deputy.


Direct Deposit

In order to avoid payment delays, it is highly recommended that students enroll in direct deposit.  There are three forms of direct deposit for graduate students:

  1. Student Business Services: Stipend payments for domestic students 
  2. Payroll: TA, Reader and GSR employment checks.  Students will be unable to enroll in this form of direct deposit until they have completed hiring paperwork and an employee number has been generated.  Students may opt to enroll in the Aline ADP Pay Card.
  3. Disbursements: Travel and other personal reimbursements


Additional Resources


The International Student & Programs Office (ISPO) is a multi-purpose facility created to foster cross-cultural exchange and international education for the UC San Diego campus community. The International Student & Programs Office provides services and programs for UC San Diego's 4,000+ international students and scholars and for approximately 500 study abroad participants. Services include orientation, visa and immigration regulation advising, personal academic advising, and travel document issuance. Please contact ISPO for all questions and concerns regarding the student visa process.

Here are some helpful pages on the ISPO website:

(Student Health Services)

The Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (GSHIP) is a comprehensive health insurance plan. Enrollment in SHIP is mandatory for graduate, medical, and foreign students at UCSD. The health insurance premium is assessed and paid with registration fees. Spring SHIP coverage continues automatically through the summer. Waiver of SHIP enrollment requires approval of the SHS Insurance Representative after review of proof of existing comparable insurance. Waiver of SHIP also waives GSLIP.

Eligibility for health insurance service:

A UCSD student paying full registration fees is entitled to use all the services of Student Health during each quarter for which he or she has been issued a valid student ID card. Since SHS is supported by a portion of the university registration fee, most health care services are available at no additional cost. Moderate fees are charged for certain services such as prescriptions and contraceptives, travel immunizations, dental and optometric care, and certain laboratory tests. A registered student may use SHS throughout the academic quarter as well as during breaks between academic sessions. During the summer, upon payment of a one-time summer fee health care is available to all continuing undergraduates, graduates and medical students who paid the previous spring quarter registration fee and are enrolled for fall quarter.


In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to identifying the core skills needed in order to be a successful graduate student and scientist in the highly competitive environment that today's research students and junior scientists face. The UC San Diego faculty are also involved in this process and at the time of writing, the Office of Graduate Studies and Research is compiling resource material for students and faculty.

Some important skills that have been identified include:

  • Study and work skills
  • General technical writing and presentation skills
  • How to write a scientific paper and respond to reviews
  • Making posters and slide presentations
  • Answering questions in public
  • Accurate data recording
  • The appropriate use of statistical analysis
  • Identifying an advisor and a research project
  • Searching the literature. Using the library effectively
  • Handling problems in the workplace
  • Relationships with faculty, students and staff
  • Writing grant applications. Getting financial support
  • Obtaining permission to use animal and human subjects
  • Creativity, management of time and stress
  • Teaching skills
  • Preparing for life after graduate school. Career management. Negotiation.
  • Preparing a CV
  • Social responsibility of research
  • Communicating with the public

Of course this list is incomplete but it gives you an idea of the many new skills that you will need to develop as a successful graduate student.

While most of these skills are acquired informally in the process of obtaining a graduate degree, there are many advocates, especially students themselves, of some optional formal training in these areas. At present UCSD does not have a program or course that covers all these areas, but some courses cover some of the areas mentioned above.

UCSD Career Services offers a plethora of resources for students to improve their skills and thrive at UCSD:

UCSD Materials Science and Engineering Program Career Network