RAs + TAs + Fellowships


Read about the  Grainger Engineering Five-Year Funding Guarantee for PhD students.


MechSE offers prestigious fellowships to exceptional applicants. Additional merit-based fellowships are also awarded by the Grainger College of Engineering and the Graduate College at the University of Illinois. MechSE nominates outstanding applicants for all of these fellowships. PhD applicants are automatically considered for these awards; there is no separate application. Fellowships provide a monthly stipend. 

Research Assistantships

After you have received your offer of admission from MechSE, you should begin contacting faculty to inquire about research assistantships. It may be very helpful to inquire with the MechSE Graduate Admissions Staff about RA openings with specific faculty. Research assistantships of at least 25% (half-time equivalent for working hours and stipend) provide a monthly stipend (for the 9-month academic year, with the possibility of 3 summer months as well) and generate a full tuition and partial fees waiver.

Teaching Assistantships

Admitted students may receive an offer of financial support that includes a teaching assistantship. Teaching assistantships of at least 25% provide a monthly stipend (for the 9-month academic year) and generate a full tuition and partial fees waiver.

English requirements for admission differ from English requirements for teaching assistantship (TA) eligibility. In order to be eligible for a TA and any type of funding that includes a TA, all non-native English speakers, regardless of citizenship status or prior enrollment at Illinois, must have a minimum of 24 on the speaking portion of the TOEFL or at least an 8 on the speaking portion of the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores must be taken within 2 years of admission to the program. This policy is required by the State of Illinois. Please be aware that meeting these requirements does not guarantee a TA appointment.

External Fellowships

Applicants should also consider fellowships for which they apply directly. A few which might be considered are:

AAUW (American Association of University Women) Fellowships
Department of Energy Fellowships
Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowships
Ford Foundation Minority Fellowships
Gates Millennium Scholars
GEM Fellowships
National Defense Science and Engineering Grants (NDSEG)
National Science Foundation Fellowships (NSF)
Office of Naval Research Fellowships

Please check with the Graduate College Fellowships website for additional fellowships for which you may be eligible.