Financial Aid

There are many sources of financial assistance available through the University and the Earth and Planetary Sciences department. Below is a list of the most common sources of financial assistance offered throughout each academic year.


All graduate applicants who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or immigrants are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Although the FAFSA can be filed at any time, it is strongly suggested that you file by the priority processing date of March 1. This form, submitted directly to the Federal Student Aid Program Office, Iowa City, Iowa, is used to determine financial need only. Financial need is a component of the eligibility criteria for many fellowships, including Geology Graduate Program Fellowships, and for all forms of federal financial aid. The FAFSA may be obtained from any US institution of higher education. http://www.FAFSA.ed.gov


Earth and Planetary Sciences department

Typically, all graduate students are guaranteed funding in the form of a Teaching Assistant position or a Graduate Student Researcher position. Master’s students are guaranteed two years of support while PhD students are guaranteed five years of support, pending successful admission and satisfactory academic progress.

  • Teaching Assistantships. Teaching Assistant (TA) positions are assigned quarterly by the Graduate Chair for Educational Policy and Fellowships. The Department takes into account students’ requests as well as requests from the instructors of each course and departmental teaching needs when assigning graduate students to TA positions. Teaching Assistants work a maximum of half time (20 hours a week).
  • Graduate Student Researcher. Throughout the year, professors working on research projects may have research grant money to hire students to work with them. Professors tend to employ graduate students who are specializing in their own areas of research, or who are interested in learning more about the area the research project encompasses, and who have the skills needed by the professor to complete the work on their specific project. Students should become familiar with the types of research projects which are currently being funded in the department and should apply directly to the professor. Graduate Student Researchers have varying durations of employment, and work a maximum of half time (20 hours per week).
  • Support for Thesis or Dissertation Research. Students in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department are encouraged to apply to extramural sources for funding to support their research. Our students commonly have been awarded grants from NASA, the Geological Society of America, Sigma Xi, and American Association of Petroleum Geologists, among others.
  • Cordell Durrell Geology Field Fund. This fund is administered by the geology department, and was set up to support field-oriented research. Students may apply annually in the winter for funds to use for the following year.

Office of Graduate Studies

  • Fellowships and Scholarships. Graduate Studies has a limited number of fellowships and scholarships available including the UCD and Humanities Graduate Research Award. Students must file applications by January 2nd for the following academic year. Awards are based on outstanding academic achievement and high promise. Detailed information concerning requirements, criteria and application procedures are included in the Application for Prospective Students (Graduate Admission and Fellowship). 
  • Non-University Financial Support. Support from outside the University (e.g., the National Science Foundation) is also available to students.

Financial Aid Office