University funding

American universities have funding available for many international students.
There are three types of funding available through the universities themselves: a fellowship, a teaching assistantship, and a research assistantship. There are usually more funding opportunities for PhD students than for Master’s students.


These scholarships are awarded on conditions of merit to students following a PhD program. They will cover the cost of the program and offer a monthly financial contribution.


Teaching assistantship

A teaching assistantship is a job of 20 hours a week, during which you will assist a professor, teach first year students, or correct exams. This is the most common type of funding offered to students of humanities, languages or social sciences.


Research assistantship

On a research assistantship, you will assist with the individual research projects or faculty-wide research projects at the university. These assistantships will cover tuition and other costs related to your studies. Many of these assistantships also cover cost of living.

The department, or faculty you apply to, decides who receives the assistantships. The requirements differ for all universities. Teaching assistantships are generally awarded to students who excel in teaching.

Keep in mind that the deadlines for these assistantships may be much earlier than university deadlines.

Did you know…
  • Next to the financial support, assistantships can also be a good opportunity to form academic connections that may be useful later on in your career.
  • A graduate student’s work week is based on the American standard of 40 hours a week. Assistantships are commonly divided up into blocks of 10 hours each: institutions assume that a research assistant works 10 hours a week while a teaching assistant works 20 hours. These estimates are not always realistic: you usually end up working longer than that.

Applying for financial aid

Remember that deadlines close early, often before the university deadlines themselves. You can find up to date information about financial opportunities at your universities on the website of the institutions themselves. Make sure to look at the financial aid opportunities of the graduate school as well as the specific department you’re applying to.