Funding for Graduate School

[Narrator: Lisa Gagnon] Hello and welcome to the University at Buffalo Fellowships and Scholarships 101 series. The topic of this video is funding for graduate school.

When applying for graduate school funding, ask questions about funding while applying for programs—don’t wait until you are admitted. Master’s level funding is extremely limited at UB and elsewhere. Keep this in mind when making decisions about graduate school and what programs to apply to. Be sure to use your academic department as a resource. When applying, contact departments directly for more information about funding. PhD students are typically funded through their academic departments. For master’s students, departments potentially have scholarships or funds for research or conferences. Finally, talk to faculty members. They can give you recommendations and help you make decisions about programs and research opportunities.

When it comes to institutional funding, most funding from UB comes in the form of a job with responsibilities. Teaching assistants (TAs) teach labs, recitations, or courses for 20 hours per week. Research assistants (RAs) are typically funded by faculty grants to do specific research. TAs and RAs are usually offered by your academic department. Graduate assistants (GAs) can be in any department on campus doing administrative work. Search for positions on Bullseye powered by Handshake or inquire within departments.

There are several types of internal UB awards. Presidential fellowships are PhD student enhancement awards. Schomburg SUNY Diversity Fellowships are offered to high-achieving doctoral and professional students that enhance the diversity of graduate education at UB. If you are interested in either of these awards, apply to your graduate program early for consideration, and for more information, look at your school’s website. Presidential and Schomburg fellows are selected by each department. Some departments have application processes for Presidential and Schomburg awards, while others automatically consider students upon application to a graduate program. Presidential and Schomburg awards are awarded on top of a fully-funded TA, RA or GA. UB’s PhD Excellence Initiative mandates that stipend levels start at $20,000.

Another internal UB award is the Graduate Opportunity Program (GOP). This program provides tuition coverage for graduates of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Search for Education Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) program or Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). Applicants must be full-time students pursuing a graduate or first professional degree, excluding medical (MD), dental (DDS), pharmacy (PharmD) and law (JD) degrees. The priority deadline to apply for GOP funding is March 1. Funds are highly limited, so apply early. You do not need to wait until you are accepted into graduate school to apply. Unfortunately, not all eligible students will receive funding, but students who don’t receive funding during year one can reapply in future years. Learn more and apply for the GOP on the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships’ website.

Finally, we’ll talk about the Graduate Student Association (GSA) Mark Diamond Fund. The GSA provides grants to graduate students for research expenses related to their thesis or dissertation. PhD students may apply for up to $3,000, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) students may apply for up to $2,000, and master’s students may apply for up to $1,500. We advise interested students to sit on a panel to see what makes a competitive application. There are deadlines for the Mark Diamond Fund in the fall, spring and summer. For more information, email

Now that we have talked a little bit about funding for graduate school, here is how you can connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships for more information and support during your scholarship journey. Connect with us via phone at 716-645-9100 or via email at Our on-campus office is located in 24 Capen Hall. Let’s get social! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter @UBFellowships, LinkedIn or YouTube. Or, find us on the web. You can also make an appointment with one of our advisors on our website. On the bottom of this slide, you can see Office of Fellowships and Scholarships Director Elizabeth Colucci, who works with students on general graduate awards and STEM awards. Assistant Director Megan Stewart works with students on general undergraduate awards and international study awards.

Thank you for watching this video. Check out the other Fellowships and Scholarships 101 videos on searching for awards, major external awards, and becoming a more competitive applicant.