Funding Information

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PhD Students

Enrolled PhD students in good standing receive financial support in the form of research assistantships (RAs), teaching assistantships (TAs), project assistantships (PAs) and fellowships.  When the EP Department admits a student to one of its PhD programs, the admission is coupled with an offer of financial support, unless the student chooses to provide her or his own support.  While many of the admissions/funding decisions will be made by the middle of March, the process will continue until all assistantship positions are filled.  Because admission and financial support are linked, a prospective PhD student may not be admitted until the Department has made the respective funding decision or the student has provided evidence of external fellowship support or a guarantee of self-funding.

Students who receive RAs are paid by their faculty advisors for research work.  The funding for RAs comes from research grants obtained by the individual faculty members, and it is important for prospective students to contact the ones with whom they would like to work.  Each professor controls his or her own research budget, and hence decides on the RA appointments that he or she will fund.

Many new EM graduate students are funded through TAs before transitioning to RA support.  TAs often lead discussion or lab sections in freshman and sophomore mechanics courses or in senior design courses, and they grade homework, exams, project reports, and lab reports.  PA positions support specific projects over limited periods of time.

Although academic activities including coursework and research are expected to be a full-time effort, RA, TA, PA, or combined appointments are for 33-50% time.  Starting RA positions typically pay at least $27,333 in salary for 50% time over 12 months, and starting TA positions pay $20,500 in salary for 50% time over 9 months.  With appointments of at least 33% at UW-Madison, support includes payment of tuition and makes one eligible for comprehensive health insurance coverage at a nominal monthly fee.  These benefits and other incentives add, considerably, to the actual value of an appointment at UW-Madison.

For PhD students in our Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics and in our Engineering Mechanics programs who matriculate in the 2021-2022 academic year, the following policies apply to assistantships and internal fellowships.

  • There is a period of guaranteed support of 5 years for PhD students entering with a bachelor’s degree and 3 years for PhD students starting with an MS degree.
  • If the Department extends an offer and the prospective PhD student accepts, the intention is to fund the student through degree completion, even if a student requires more time than the guaranteed period.
  • A student must maintain satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree, according to the NEEP and EM program policies and the Graduate School’s policies

http://guide.wisc.edu/graduate/engineering-physics/nuclear-engineering-engineering-physics-phd/#policiestext

http://guide.wisc.edu/graduate/engineering-physics/engineering-mechanics-phd/#policiestext

https://grad.wisc.edu/documents/satisfactory-progress/

to continue to receive financial support.  It should be noted that research progress is required, regardless of the funding mechanism or funding level in order to maintain satisfactory progress toward the PhD degree.

  • Qualified students may be admitted without financial support if they guarantee their own funding.
  • A student’s appointment type (RA, TA, PA) may change. PhD students initially serving in TA positions typically move to RA positions when focusing on research.  However, changes in research funding from federal agencies may also require a student to take a TA or PA position, at least temporarily, after holding an RA or fellowship.  Students interested in gaining teaching experience may also request a TA position.

A student’s total assistantship support may be increased to no more than 50% time or reduced to no less than 33% time.  Reductions are atypical, and the student’s workload would be adjusted, accordingly.

NEEP MS and EM-Research MS Students

Enrolled NEEP MS and EM-Research MS students in good standing may receive financial support in the form of research assistantships (RAs), teaching assistantships (TAs), project assistantships (PAs) and fellowships.  Students who receive RAs are paid by their faculty advisors for research work.  The funding for RAs comes from research grants obtained by the individual faculty members, and it is important for prospective students to contact the ones with whom they would like to work.  Each professor controls his or her own research budget, and hence decides on the RA appointments that he or she will fund.

Many EM-Research MS graduate students are funded through teaching appointments.  TAs often lead discussion or lab sections in freshman and sophomore mechanics courses or in senior design courses, and they grade homework, exams, project reports, and lab reports.  PA positions support specific projects over limited periods of time.

Although academic activities including coursework and research are expected to be a full-time effort, RA, TA, PA, or combined appointments are for 33-50% time.  Starting RA positions typically pay at least $27,333 in salary for 50% time over 12 months, and starting TA positions pay $20,500 in salary for 50% time over 9 months.  With appointments of at least 33% at UW-Madison, support includes payment of tuition and makes one eligible for comprehensive health insurance coverage at a nominal monthly fee.  These benefits and other incentives add, considerably, to the actual value of an appointment at UW-Madison

EM-Fundamentals of Applied Mechanics and EM-Aerospace Engineering MS Students

The Department of Engineering Physics does not offer assistantship positions to students in these accelerated MS programs.  The coursework schedule is sufficiently challenging that students are not expected to accommodate time for assistantship work.  However, in special circumstances, the Department may provide students with partial scholarship support.

Fellowships

Fellowships are the most flexible and prestigious form of support.  Federal agencies and philanthropic organizations support national fellowship programs, and the University, the Department, and the College of Engineering offer a few special-purpose internal fellowships.  Many national fellowship applications are submitted directly by the student to the awarding agency and are often due in the fall, so hopefully your undergraduate institution or department has helped you with fellowship applications.  Most fellowship programs also provide an opportunity to apply after you have begun your graduate study.

The following are at least some of the national fellowship opportunities that are relevant to the graduate programs in EP.  See the appropriate websites for applications materials and deadlines.