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Financial Support

Ways to help finance your graduate education

The University provides a variety of opportunities to help graduate students pay for their education. In fact, the majority of doctoral students at Rochester receive significant financial support—often enough to fully cover tuition and living expenses.

Learn more about financial aid, funding, and award opportunities below.


Financial aid overview

Financial aid is typically awarded to graduate students by individual departments, schools, and colleges. This is done on the basis of academic promise. We encourage you to consult the website for your academic department of interest to better understand your options.

In addition, some financial aid options are included as part of the admissions process. Applications for a variety of applicable scholarships, assistantships, and traineeships are made available to you as you apply.

For more information, reference the Financial Aid and Bursar websites below.

A student raises his hand in a lecture hall

additional resources

PhD student financial support

The University of Rochester has introduced two new programs designed to help support our full-time PhD student community:

Explore our PhD Students page for additional details and other PhD student-specific resources.

Other financial support options

Outside of a financial aid package, there are other ways to help finance your education. The Types of Aid section of this website has a helpful overview. Get more specific details in the drop-downs below.

These pay full room, partial board, and a stipend in exchange for working with residence hall staff and students. Learn more.

For award information, please reach out to the graduate school that hosts the academic program you’re interested in. Websites for more information are listed below.

Industry, government, and the University fund several loan programs for graduate students. Qualified students may obtain federally guaranteed student loans.

Contact the financial aid office of your school to learn more. Websites are listed below.

The WSAP program offer various graduate employment opportunities, including:

  • Teaching positions
  • Tutoring positions
  • Mentor positions
  • Summer positions

Employment opportunities vary throughout the year, so please check this page for the latest updates.


A large number of fellowship programs help support hundreds of graduate students throughout the University. Applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships from private foundations, from New York State, and from the federal government.

You can search this database for a variety of fellowship opportunities. Information on a few specific fellowship opportunities is below. These fellowships require students to be nominated by their school or department.

The Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull University fellowship is the most prestigious fellowship awarded by the University of Rochester.

Robert L. Sproull (1918-2014) was a distinguished physicist and the University’s seventh president. While in office, he oversaw significant growth of degree programs, faculty size, laboratories, hospital facilities, and other campus structures. The fellowship program named in his honor reflects his commitment to intellectual excellence.

The careers of Sproull Fellows testify to the program’s success. Many have careers at highly ranked universities and notable organizations, including Yale, Duke, Cornell, Microsoft, and the NASA Ames Research Center.

Each year there is a University-wide competition for the ten to twelve Sproull Fellowships awarded to incoming students who pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Rochester. All PhD programs may select nominees for the Sproull Fellowship from among those who have applied for admission. A committee of faculty members evaluates those nominated, and the final selection is made by the University Dean of Graduate Studies.

The Provost’s Fellowship is intended to bring to Rochester talented individuals who will broaden the diversity of those pursuing PhD degrees at the University. First awarded in 1990, it has provided stipend support to students in 30 different doctoral programs.

After earning their PhD degrees, Provost’s Fellows have pursued a wide variety of careers. Many now have positions in educational institutions (from universities and colleges to public and private K-12 schools). However, a substantial number are working in government and private research settings.

Each year there is a University-wide competition for Provost’s Fellowships. All PhD programs may nominate students from among those who have applied for admission. Nominees for the Fellowship must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents. Specific criteria for determining diversity can vary by discipline, but might include an applicant’s ethnicity, gender, cultural background or other life experiences. A committee of faculty members evaluates those nominated and the final decisions are made by the University Dean of Graduate Studies

The Provost Promise Fellowship recognizes exceptionally worthy PhD applicants who come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in higher education, who are intellectually curious and fiercely persistent, possess attributes which may fall outside of more traditional admissions criteria, and who may be perfectly situated to contribute to the rich learning environments we wish to cultivate and sustain at the University of Rochester. As such, these fellows possess immense promise with respect to contributions to scholarship and research during graduate training and as future members of the academy. In addition, admitting departments and programs promise to provide fellows individualized support, guidance, and training in order to maximize their individual and professional development.

A competitive one-year dissertation fellowship for students from various fields of science whose work is primarily and clearly concerned with chemistry.

See past winners.

A one-year dissertation fellowship in the humanities, economics or business administration. It was established in memory of Raymond N. Ball, a Rochester alumnus who also served as Treasurer, Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

See past winners.

A competitive one-year fellowship for students in in the pre-clinical departments of the school of Medicine and Dentistry or Biology, Chemistry, Optics or Physics in the school of Arts, Sciences & Engineering.

Candidates are full-time students who have passed their qualifying exams and are engaged in full-time research toward the dissertation.

See past winners.

A competitive one-year fellowship for students in in the biological or physical sciences.

Candidates are full-time students who have passed their qualifying exams and are engaged in full-time research toward the dissertation.

See past winners.


Awards are another way to earn funding towards your education. You can search this database to explore award opportunities. More information on a few specific awards is below.

The Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellent in Teaching by a Graduate Student recognizes graduate students who advance the teaching mission of the University by providing highly skilled and innovative undergraduate instruction. We welcome one nomination from each department. Each nomination, whether originating from student organizations or a department, must include a letter of support from the department chair/program director and at least one other faculty member.

Please post copies where it will be seen by your graduate and undergraduate students and forward this email to anyone you wish in order to get it distributed as widely as possible.

We would like to emphasize that the undergraduate academic mission includes classroom and research teaching.  Therefore, ‘teaching’ by a graduate student can be in service of these areas of instruction.  The strongest nomination packets include substantial evidence of both the quality of the nominee’s teaching and the outcomes of that teaching, in students’ learning outcomes measured quantitatively or their reports of their own learning under the tutelage of the graduate student nominee. Teaching evaluations, syllabi that graduate students have developed, letters from undergraduates, and others are appropriate. A statement from the nominee on their teaching philosophy or approach may be included.

As in past years, we will reserve at least one of the awards for students who are truly “assistants” (as opposed to individuals who taught courses on their own as instructors).

Please note that the deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, March 1, 2022. Nomination packets should be sent to Dean Melissa Sturge-Apple will decide on the winners and personally present each award at a ceremony/event of your choosing. If your nominee wins, we will work with you to determine a mutually convenient date/time and place for the presentation.

The annual William H. Riker University Award for graduate Teaching Recognized a faculty member who has excelled in graduate instruction and supervision and mentoring of doctoral students. The Riker University award is presented at the Doctoral Commencement ceremony in May.

See past winners.

A University of Rochester student in a laboratory tinkering with metal equipment

Help support University fellowships

The University of Rochester’s schools and departments invest scarce operating funds to support our PhD students—funds that are already stretched thin by faculty and staff salaries. Because resources are constrained, programs must limit the number of PhD students they can accept.

Your help can make a significant difference, as our ability to attract the best and brightest students depends significantly on the financial packages we can provide them.

Make a gift

To learn more about giving to University of Rochester fellowships, contact:

Jack Kreckel
Senior Associate Vice President
University Advancement
(585) 273-5904

You can also download our PhD fellowships brochure for more information.

Ready to donate? Make a gift now

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