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Financial Support

The School of Natural Sciences is proud to provide extensive financial support for graduate education toward doctoral degrees. Most of our Ph.D. students receive full financial support each semester in the form of teaching assistant positions, graduate student research positions and fellowships. Also, the large majority of our Ph.D. students receive financial support used for research, educational and living costs during the summers.

Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistants (TAs) help provide instructional assistance which include leading labs and discussion sections, help prepare instructional materials, and grade homework and exams. TA positions also provide valuable experience for graduate students, preparing them for careers as faculty members at all institutions of higher education.

Graduate Student Research

Graduate Student Research (GSR) positions are typically supported through external funding agencies for specific research projects. Graduate students may assist with research in a wide variety of ways, and some projects may provide opportunities for advanced students to lead certain efforts, with guidance and oversight of the principal investigator. GSRs are especially valuable for graduate students pursuing research careers.


Fellowships are awards made directly to graduate students, to support advancement in their academic programs, research and careers. Fellowships may be funded by the University of California or an external agency, foundation or institution. Most fellowships are awarded primarily based on the merits of the student and the proposed scholarly activity, although other factors will often play roles. UC Merced has different opportunites for both Internal Fellowships and External Fellowships.