By Emilija Sarma

Applying for Graduate School is a huge decision that will impact the course of your career in major ways. Getting a graduate degree is definitely a test of endurance–it takes a lot of time, patience, grit, and resources. While you may feel like you’re on your own as you start down this path, know that the University of Arkansas has got your back! Learn more about how to fund your graduate degree below.

Jeff Lewis, assistant professor of biological sciences, Rebecca Sides, graduate student, biological sciences.

Graduate Assistantships

Although there are generally no scholarships offered for incoming graduate students, you can fund your degree by applying to work as a graduate assistant with your program of interest, a related department, or in other positions at the University of Arkansas.

A graduate assistant generally works up to 20 hours per week for the department (in teaching positions, doing research, performing administrative duties, or other areas) in exchange for payment of tuition plus a cost of living stipend paid directly to the student. Some assistantships are enough to cover all costs of attendance, and some may cover only partial costs. Students have to pay for the student fees, like the library fee, technology fee, and others, as well as their own living expenses. The stipend amount varies from one department to another, but the typical stipend range is between $1100-$1200 per month.

Several graduate programs have a set number of assistantships that they can offer to prospective students each academic year. Graduate students are encouraged to start their application to the university well in advance so that they can meet the departmental deadlines for assistantships, which are often several months before classes begin. Departments and programs will usually list the assistantship application deadline on their website. The websites will also typically list special requirements for their assistantship positions and some of these may include a Teaching Statement that outlines the students previous experience with teaching or a CV/Resume that must be attached to the assistantship application.

Assistantship applications can be accessed through the general application online (or you can download Application for Graduate Assistantship here and attach it to your application). Some programs will ask students to email the application to the program directly.

Graduate Fellowships

The Graduate School offers two levels of competitive merit-based fellowships to provide financial support to outstanding incoming doctoral students. Qualified graduate students must be nominated for these doctoral fellowships by the academic unit or department that has also agreed to sponsor the accompanying graduate assistantship.

Nominations are accepted in both fall (for students beginning a doctoral program the following spring) and spring (for students beginning a doctoral program the following fall). Nominees cannot already be enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Arkansas.Graduate students who are interested in being nominated for a doctoral fellowship should contact the department that houses their degree program to determine what criteria they use to select nominees. There are minimum GRE/GMAT score requirements and minimum GPA requirements that vary by college and degree program, so you should find out what these criteria are by speaking to the program coordinator.


Travel Grants

We are always excited about students presenting their research to other specialists in their field! We are proud to have you represent the University of Arkansas in conferences, so you can rely on the U of A to help you fund attending these events. The University of Arkansas offers travel grants to graduate students traveling to a conference or professional meeting to present research conducted at the U of A.

Graduate students receive one travel grant per fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). All grants are subject to the availability of funds and they are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply right away when you know you’ll be traveling to a conference!

Some of the travel costs will also be covered by your department. It’s important that you find out how much funding your department has for your travel expenses to conferences, so be sure to talk to your program coordinator to find out what kind of support is available to you!

Summer Research Fellowships

If you are a Doctoral or MFA student on a 9-month assistantship with no other funding sources available, you may apply for a Summer Research Fellowship. The funding level is at the minimum monthly stipend set by the Graduate School. Note that the funding for these scholarships is limited and will be competitive. You must register for 3 credit hours for the summer and tuition cost for this will be covered in the award. More information on this and other funding resources can be found on the Supplemental Funding Opportunities web page.

Bridge Funding

In case your funding has run out as you’re about to begin your final year of study (writing your final project or dissertation), as a Doctoral or MFA student you can apply for Bridge Funding. It is expected that students who receive this funding would use the final year to focus on finishing their dissertation or MFA thesis. Usually, five scholarships are available on an annual basis.

International Student Catastrophic Funds

If you are a current international student in need of support because of an unforeseen financial emergency beyond your control, the University of Arkansas has resources to help you! Students may apply for a maximum of $500 in support. Note that the funding is limited and once funds are exhausted, no further awards will be made. You can always find out more by emailing for more information.