Costs & Financial Support

Graduate Fees & Costs

Financial Support

The following is information about graduate student fellowships, research positions, teaching assistantships, financial aid, tuition and fees, and cost of housing.


University fellowships are also available and awarded on a competitive basis, and are usually supplemented by the Department with a partial teaching or GSR appointment. Students are also encouraged to apply for extramural fellowships including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and the National Physical Science Consortium Fellowship. Take a look at our current list of fellowship awardees.

Sample Fellowship Applications (1st Floor in Student Resource Building, Room 1215)

The Graduate Student Resource Center hosts a library of successful fellowship proposals. Stop by or schedule an appointment with one of our peer advisors to view the proposals. You cannot make copies or take them with you, but you are welcome to take notes and view them as many times as you like.

Samples Include:

  • Department of Energy(DOE) Graduate Fellowship
  • Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
  • Fulbright Program and Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Abroad applications 
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate(NDSEG) Fellowship


Students admitted to the Materials Department are appointed as Graduate Student Researchers (GSR) and are generally supported by funds from research grants and contracts obtained by Department faculty. The research performed is guided by the student's advisor(s) and generally becomes the student's dissertation. Currently, the GSR appointments include an annual pre-candidacy base salary of $36,541.64. Once students advance to candidacy, typically in Fall Quarter of the third year of study, the base stipend increases to $39,153.75. Registration, tuition, and health insurance fees are covered independently of the stipend. 

Summer Quarter 7.5% Mandatory Pre-Tax Deductions (Safe Harbor)

Non-exempt students who are not eligible for the Retirement Choice Program or membership in UCRP make mandatory contributions of 7.5 percent to the Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) Pretax Account. This pre-tax deduction is automatically placed into a Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) called Safe Harbor.  When you leave UC employment permanently, you need to provide the Plan with instructions on what to do with the money in your account to avoid an automatic payout that may be subject to early distribution penalties. A summary description of the plan may be found here. Money accumulated in the Pretax Account remains in the Plan until the participant leaves employment and takes a distribution (see “Distributions: Former Employees,” on page 11). For current balances in the DCP program, contact Fidelity Retirement Services at 1-866-682-7787 or



Teaching Assistants are employed and are paid monthly. This employment includes health insurance and nonresident tuition (if applicable). Ph.D. students are required to TA at least one quarter while in residence at UCSB (usually during the first or second year). Assignments are made by the Department. By accepting for employment for this position, the applicant authorizes the hiring department to access their academic record for the purpose of confirming enrollment status and related eligibility for student employment.

Need-based Financial Aid

Need-based aid is only available for domestic students. To apply for aid, a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) must be submitted separately. More information is available through the UCSB Graduate Division office, financial support unit. 

Fees Information

Consult the Graduate Division website for more information on Graduate Student Fees and Fee Remission. The UCSB Office of the Registrar lists a summary of quarterly fees and expenses.  Citizens and U.S. permanent residents are eligible for California residency after one year and are expected to take the necessary steps to become state residents for tuition purposes. Information on requirements and procedures for establishing legal California residency can be found here.

Cost of Housing

A range of housing options are available to UCSB students: university owned single-student and family apartments, off-campus privately owned apartments, duplexes, rooms and houses. However, many graduate students live in shared housing arrangements (room in a house or apartment). University owned family student apartments are also available, priority is given to families with children. Eligible family members include your child(ren), your spouse, or your domestic partner. See the UCSB Housing and Residential Services webpage for further information on both university owned and community housing. Early application is necessary for University owned housing.