Financial Support for Graduate Students

The Department of Biomolecular Engineering offers graduate students a range of financial assistance options that help with tuition and living expenses while they complete their advanced degrees. Graduate students may receive financial support through academic student employment (such as teaching assistantships, graduate student instructor positions, and graduate student researcher positions), fellowships, training grants, and/or traditional financial aid.

PhD students receive support throughout their graduate career.  PhDs are strongly encouraged to apply for graduate fellowships in their first and second years.  The financial support for PhDs provides full tuition remission, payment of student health insurance, and a monthly stipend for living expenses.  Continuing support beyond the first year is contingent on maintaining the academic standards required by the program. 

MS students are typically self-supported and should assume they will not receive any form of financial support from the department.

Please review the following for detailed information regarding types of funding:

University Fellowships

University fellowships and funds are awarded on the basis of merit and promise of productive scholarship. Types of awards and funding sources include centrally administered fellowships and departmental block grants. Fellowship funds can provide for any of the following: payment of fees and/or non-resident tuition or provision of a living stipend. A fellowship is any payment to a student that is not salary or direct reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs. University fellowships are normally processed and disbursed by the Graduate Division.

Students must be registered in the appropriate quarter to receive any financial support funds from the Graduate Division or the department. New students may not receive any University funds until they are registered in courses and Fall quarter begins.

Non-University Fellowships >>

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)

A GSR is a full-time registered UCSC graduate student appointed to assist in performing research under the direction of a ladder-rank faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator. GSRs are hired on a quarterly basis. The general and individual quarterly GSR calls are sent by the BSOE Payroll Analysts, approximately 8 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Responses to hire GSRs are due from faculty approximately 4 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Once funding has been approved for a GSR hire, the student will be contacted by BSOE Payroll to complete paperwork.

GSRs in BME are hired at step 8, and receive a quarterly stipend of $8,458.50. GSRs qualify for full fee and tuition remission if they are appointed for at least 25% (10 hours per week), in all GSR appointments combined, over the three months of the quarter. Full fee and tuition remission includes the payment of fees, health insurance for all eligible students, and non-resident tuition if applicable.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

A Teaching Assistant (TA) is a registered graduate student in full-time residence, chosen for excellent scholarship and for promise as a teacher, and serving an apprenticeship under the active tutelage and supervision of a regular faculty member. TAs are hired on a quarterly basis beginning approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. 

TAs hired at 50% time (20 hours per week) receive a quarterly stipend of $7,091. TAs who work 25% time (10 hours per week or more) are also eligible for remissions on their in-state fees. TAs receive a full remission of CA tuition, the student services fee, health insurance if applicable, as well as a $100 remission on campus fees. TA fee remissions do not cover out-of-state non-resident tuition unless guaranteed in an admission funding package.

After fee remissions, students employed as Teaching Assistants are only required to pay $302.36 per quarter. Departments will cover this amount if guaranteed in an admission funding package, and others as a courtesy if funds are available.

Graduate Student Instructor (GSI)

BME hires GSIs during the summer quarter. A GSI is a full-time registered UCSC graduate student that has been appointed to have primary and full responsibility for the teaching of a course under the supervision of a ladder-rank faculty member. GSIs in BSOE are hired under the Associate In title. Minimum qualifications for this position require the possession of a master’s degree or equivalent training and at least one year of teaching experience. All GSI appointments require the review and approval of the Graduate Dean.

BSOE GSIs qualify for full fee and tuition remission if they are appointed for at least 25% time (10 hours per week). Full fee and tuition remission includes the payment of fees and health insurance for all eligible students. Non-resident tuition is not covered.

Training Grant

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognized the quality of the BME training program and its students by awarding the program an NIH T-32 Training Grant in Genomic Sciences. Trainees receive a quarterly stipend of $8,458.50, as well as full tuition and fee remission. This includes payment of fees, CA resident tuition, and health insurance for eligible students.

Cost of Attendance

Information regarding the estimated cost of attendance/living in Santa Cruz can be found on the UCSC Financial Aid Office website.


A detailed breakdown of tuition expenses can be found on the Registrar's website. Note - tuition includes health insurance fees.