University of California graduate admissions


UC can help you fund your graduate education. Our students are among the top recipients of prestigious extramural awards, and our campuses provide a wide range of university and departmental support.
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Funding your graduate education is different from paying for college. Learn more about the different funding sources that help graduate students afford school and thrive as members of the UC community.


Like undergraduate scholarships, many fellowships are based on academic merit. Fellowships usually cover tuition and fees, and provide a stipend toward living expenses. Fellowships do not have to be repaid. Of course, you’ll be expected to maintain a specific level of academic achievement in your graduate studies. Generally, fellowships fall into two categories: extramural and university fellowships. Apply for both.

School employment

Many UC campus programs and offices reserve positions for graduate students. Opportunities range from administrative intern to residence hall counselor to undergraduate tutor. Make sure to contact your institution’s financial services/financial aid office to understand the eligibility for certain types of funding.

University fellowships and awards

University fellowships typically offer a stipend and additional financial support covering tuition, fees and health benefits. Most institutions, including UC campuses, offer various university fellowships, which support a diverse academic community. It is important to submit the institution’s fellowship application when you apply for admission to each campus, if applicable. Some UC programs nominate students for fellowships directly; be sure to ask the program/s you are applying to or the graduate division for their funding processes. Be sure to note the deadline to be considered for admissions and fellowships; some programs have admission-only deadlines and these applications are not considered for university funding.

Extramural fellowships

Extramural fellowships are among the best places to look for funding. Most extramural fellowships are portable, meaning they can be used at any university or program; they provide you with the most flexibility when it’s time to select your institution. Receiving one is a significant achievement that will strengthen your résumé or CV. Extramural funding opportunities include prestigious national fellowships, such as those from the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Don’t miss the application deadlines—most extramural fellowship applications are due before university applications.

Teaching and research assistantships

You may be funded as a UC departmental teaching assistant (TA) or research assistant (RA), working for a professor to gain valuable experience. As a TA, you will assist with a course during the academic year. You may lead discussion sections and hold office hours to help undergraduate students with course material. RAs conduct lab, studio or field research.

Need-based aid

Most graduate students also qualify for need-based aid, including work-study employment and loans. To be eligible for need-based aid, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In California, the deadline is March 2 to qualify for funding the following academic year. You can submit your FAFSA online at Or, if you qualify for the California Dream Act, submit your online application at through the California Student Aid Commission.

“This degree is not only for me but also for my parents and to elevate the voices of Latinos in spaces that have historically excluded us. Although that may generate pressure, it also gives me purpose.”
Estéfani Marín Sociology, UC Irvine The eldest of nine siblings, her research looks at how Latino and Asian American families generate and share educational resources.
photograph of estafania marin