RAs + TAs + Fellowships


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

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 (TA). 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.

***TA appointments are handled through MechSE's Graduate Programs Office. Any inquiries regarding TA appointments should only be sent to
mechse-grad@illinois.edu.  Do not email faculty with TA inquiries. 

Priority for assignment is any eligible MechSE PhD applicant. Once all MechSE PhD applicants have been placed, we will consider eligible MechSE MS applicants. Students in any M.Eng. program are not eligible for TA apppointments.  MS and PhD students from other departments who wish to inquire about TA positions  should do so by emailing mechse-grad@illinois.edu.  ***Please note that MechSE fills TA positions with MechSE-enrolled PhD and MS students. Hiring from outside the department is done in very rare cases and should not be expected. 

English requirements for admission differ from English requirements for 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.


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. 

Students must complete the MechSE Fellowship Reporting Form to self-report their fellowship funding to the MechSE Graduate Programs Office each semester.

Please note that students must upload the fellowship/award offer letter, including the dates of the fellowship/award, directly into the MechSE Fellowship Reporting Form. If this is a renewal, please submit the renewal form received from the offering organization.

For assistance with fellowships or fellowship reporting, please contact mechse-grad@illinois.edu

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.