Funding Opportunities

The Department of Biomolecular Engineering offers graduate students a range of financial assistance options that help with tuition and living expenses while they complete their advanced degrees. Graduate students may receive financial support through academic student employment (such as teaching assistantships, graduate student instructor positions, and graduate student researcher positions), fellowships, training grants, and/or traditional financial aid.

Our department generally guarantees 5 year financial support to each incoming PhD student as part of the admission process. Continuing support beyond the first year is contingent on maintaining the academic standards required by the program.

MS students are typically self-supported and should assume they will not receive any form of financial support from the department.

University Fellowships

University fellowships and funds are awarded on the basis of merit and promise of productive scholarship. Types of awards and funding sources include centrally administered fellowships and departmental block grants. Fellowship funds can provide for any of the following: payment of fees and/or non-resident tuition or provision of a living stipend. A fellowship is any payment to a student that is not salary or direct reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs. University fellowships are normally processed and disbursed by the Graduate Division.

Students must be registered in the appropriate quarter to receive any financial support funds from the Graduate Division or the department. New students may not receive any University funds until they are registered in courses and Fall quarter begins.

Training Grants

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognized the quality of the BME training program and its students by awarding the program an NIH T-32 Training Grant in Genomic Sciences. Trainees receive a quarterly stipend equivalent to a GSR Step 8, paid monthly, as well as tuition and fee remission. This includes payment of fees, CA resident tuition, and university health insurance.

External Fellowships

We encourage all graduate students and prospective graduate students to apply for fellowships. You can apply for fellowships even before you are admitted to a graduate program. A detailed list of fellowships can be found in the Graduate Division website. Please note that some of the fellowships have citizenship requirements. Make sure that you carefully read the eligibility criteria before applying, and contact the program officer if you have any questions.

In the past, students in BME have been successful at securing NSF Graduate Research (GRFP) Fellowships and Ford Foundation Fellowships. The program faculty and the Baskin School of Engineering can support you in building a highly competitive application for these and other fellowships. Please contact the PhD Graduate Director if you intend to apply for an external fellowship either during the application process or after you have been admitted to UCSC.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)

A GSR is a full-time registered UCSC graduate student appointed to assist in performing research under the direction of a ladder-rank faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator. GSRs are hired on a quarterly basis. The general and individual quarterly GSR calls are sent by the BSOE Payroll Analysts, approximately 8 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Responses to hire GSRs are due from faculty approximately 4 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Once funding has been approved for a GSR hire, the student will be contacted by BSOE Payroll to complete paperwork.

GSRs in BME are hired at the Step 8 payscale, with paychecks issued monthly. GSRs qualify for fee and tuition remission if they are appointed for at least 25% (10 hours per week), in all GSR appointments combined, over the three months of the quarter. Full fee and tuition remission includes the payment of tuition, fees, university health insurance, and non-resident tuition (if applicable).

Teaching Assistant (TA)

A Teaching Assistant (TA) is a registered graduate student in full-time residence, chosen for excellent scholarship and for promise as a teacher, and serving an apprenticeship under the active tutelage and supervision of a regular faculty member. TAs are hired on a quarterly basis beginning approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. 

TAs receive a monthly salary, with salary scales determined by the UCOP-ASE/UAW contract. TAs who work at least 25% time (10 hours per week or more) are also eligible for partial fee remissions. TAs receive a full remission of CA tuition, the student services fee, university health insurance, as well as a $100 remission on campus fees. TA fee remissions do not cover non-resident tuition unless guaranteed in an admission funding package.

After fee remissions, students employed as Teaching Assistants are only required to pay the campus fee (minus $100). Departments will cover the remainder of this campus fee if guaranteed in an admission funding package, and for others as a courtesy as funds are available.

Graduate Student Instructor (GSI)

BME at times hires GSIs during the summer quarter. A GSI is a full-time registered UCSC graduate student that has been appointed to have primary and full responsibility for the teaching of a course under the supervision of a ladder-rank faculty member. GSIs in BSOE are hired under the Associate In title. Minimum qualifications for this position require the possession of a master’s degree or equivalent training and at least one year of teaching experience. All GSI appointments require the review and approval of the Graduate Dean.

BSOE GSIs qualify for fee and tuition remission if they are appointed for at least 25% time (10 hours per week). This includes the payment of tuition, fees, and university health insurance. Non-resident tuition is not covered.