Funding Your Graduate Education

The Department of Mechanical Engineering has the goal of providing funding for all full-time graduate students who are making good progress towards their degrees. Funding primarily takes the form of:

External Fellowships

General fellowship information, including how to find external graduate fellowships, tax information for graduate fellows, health insurance, and tuition remission guidelines is provided here.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs
The Fellowship Programs, offered through the National Academy of Sciences, seeks to increase faculty diversity at U.S. colleges and universities. Fellowships are made at the predoctoral, dissertation and postdoctoral levels to students who demonstrate academic excellence, a commitment to pluralism and a strong interest in teaching and research. Only U.S. citizens or nationals in research-based fields are eligible. Online application competition is NOW OPEN. Proceed to the login page to register for the fellowship competition and complete your fellowship application.

Harold Giles Scholarships
Two $2500 scholarships—one for an undergraduate student and the second for a graduate student—are open to outstanding students who not only maintained a good grade point average but also served their community, had some experience in the composite area, and are backed by solid reference letters from former professors and employers.

Hertz Foundation's Graduate Fellowship
The Hertz Foundation's Graduate Fellowship award, which is based on merit (not need) consists of a cost-of-education allowance and a personal-support stipend. College seniors wishing to pursue the Ph.D. degree in any of the fields of particular interest to the Foundation, as well as graduate students already in the process of doing so, may apply.

Maryland State Delegate Scholarship
Current high school seniors and full-time or part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students. Students attending a private career school may also apply. See website for complete details and to apply.

National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM) Fellowship
GEM assists underrepresented minority students in obtaining M.S. degrees in engineering and Ph.D. degrees in engineering and the natural and physical sciences.

National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship
The NDSEG program is currently administered by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). ASEE and the DoD use guidelines to determine the eligibility of an applicant. These guidelines relate to the academic status of applicants and are designed to ensure that students at or near the beginning of their graduate studies receive fellowships. To be eligible, applicants must either:1) be enrolled in their final year of undergraduate studies, or 2) be either a first- or second-year graduate student (starting your second year in the summer/fall of 2007), or 3) have completed no more than the equivalent of one year of full-time graduate study as a part-time or full-time student.

National Physical Science Consortium Fellowship
NPSC welcomes applications from any qualified U.S. citizen who has the ability to pursue graduate work at an NPSC member institution. Applicants at any stage of their graduate program may apply, as long as they will be available to accept two summers of paid internship. Those who already possess a doctoral degree are ineligible.

Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP).
Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), NREIP is a 10 week summer research opportunity for undergraduate juniors and seniors, and graduate students, under the guidance of a mentor, at a participating Navy Laboratory. The stipend amounts for the program are $5,500 for undergraduate students and $6,500 for graduate students. U.S. citizenship is required; permanent residents accepted at certain labs.

National Science Foundation - Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science and engineering.  The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering.

LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation) Program
NSF sponsored graduate fellowship program to support LSAMP students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines. The 2 year fellowship provides an annual stipend of $30,000 in addition to a cost-of-education allowance up to $10,500 for tuition, health insurance and student fees.

The LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship Program has the goal of increasing the quantity and quality of students pursuing degrees in STEM fields. More specifically, this program aims to support students underrepresented in these disciplines. Through this grant, the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering in the Clark School of Engineering administers the Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) fellowship program that supports a cohort of 12 graduate (master’s and doctoral) STEM students.  

The Bridge to the Doctorate fellowship is awarded for a 24-month term. The Fellowship provides a 12-month stipend of $30,000 per year ($60,000 total for the 24 months) in addition to a cost-of-education allowance up to $10,500 per year for tuition, health insurance and student fees. Applications for Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 are now being accepted.  Fellowships will be awarded on a rolling basis until all 12 slots are filled.

For additional information on the LSAMP prgram, please visit their website: http://cmse.umd.edu/bridgetothedoctorate

Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship
for Service Program. The SMART Scholarship for Service Program is open only to U.S. citizens, and students must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible.

Society for Women in Engineering (SWE) Fellowships & Scholarships
SWE Scholarships support women pursuing ABET-accredited baccalaureate or graduate programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science in the United States and Mexico. In 2013, SWE disbursed over 200 new and renewed scholarships valued at $550,000. Applicants complete one application and are considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible. See website and individual awards for eligibility requirements.

Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowships in Aerospace-related Sciences and Engineering

Zonta International invites applications for Amelia Earhart Fellowships in Aerospace-related Sciences and Engineering to help women pursue advanced studies in the fields of aerospace-related sciences and engineering. Up to 35 awards of $10,000 each may be made. Eligibility is restricted to female Ph.D./doctoral candidates in the field of aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering. Applications are due Nov 15. More information is available at: http://zonta-ak.org/scholarships/amelia-earhart-fellowship/

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University of Maryland Fellowships

The University of Maryland Graduate School fellowships are merit-based awards for current University of Maryland graduate students that enable the recipient to focus on graduate study, that do not have to be repaid, and that generally include both a stipend and tuition remission. Graduate School Fellowships differ from Graduate Assistantships, which carry an obligation to teach classes, to work on a research project, or to perform administrative tasks.

Flagship Fellowships
Flagship Fellowships are intended to help graduate programs to recruit and retain truly exceptional students. Flagship Fellowships are multi-year enhancement awards to be added to fellowship/assistantship offers made by graduate programs. Flagship Fellowship enhancements may total $40,000 per student over the duration of the award. The goal is to award ten Flagship Fellowships per year, reaching a steady state of approximately forty Flagship Fellows.

McNair Graduate Fellowships
In the Spring 2012 recruitment cycle, the Graduate School will award up to five Ronald E. McNair Graduate Fellowships. The new McNair Fellowship program will enhance opportunities for our campus doctoral programs to recruit and retain outstanding alumni or alumnae of McNair undergraduate programs from institutions across the country. The McNair Graduate Fellowships will provide entering graduate students with a first-year support package that includes a fellowship stipend of $18,000, plus tuition remission, fees, and health insurance. Programs admitting McNair Fellows must commit to providing an additional three-year package of at least comparable annual GA and/or fellowship support.

Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowships
Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowships provide support to outstanding doctoral students at “mid-career,” that is, in the period approximately before, during, or after achievement of candidacy, and are intended to enable students to prepare for or complete a key benchmark in their program’s requirements. Summer Research Fellowships carry stipends of $5,000.

Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships
Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships are one-semester awards intended to support outstanding doctoral students who are in the final stages of writing their dissertation and whose primary source of support is unrelated to their dissertation. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships carry a stipend of $10,000 plus candidacy tuition remission and $800 toward the cost of health insurance. The Graduate School awards approximately 40 Wylie Dissertation Fellowships per year.

Other Internal Fellowships, Prizes and Awards
The Graduate School also administers competitions for four endowed awards: The Mabel S. Spencer Award for Excellence in Graduate Education, The James W. Longest Memorial Award for Social Science Research, The Michael J. Pelczar Award for Excellence in Graduate Study, and The Phi Delta Gamma Graduate Fellowship. Last year, the Graduate School inaugurated our annual University of Maryland Distinguished Dissertation Award. This year will be our second competition and will be for PhD dissertations defended and submitted to the Graduate School in calendar year 2011. The selection process for the second annual Distinguished Dissertation will occur in Spring 2012.

More information on endowed awards and the dissertation award

Additionally, the Graduate School administers the Jacob K. Goldhaber Travel Grants, which provide funding for graduate students presenting academic work at conferences and professional meetings.

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Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TA's) are generally awarded for the first semester or two, with the expectation that all TA's will become RA's by the end of their first year in the program.  Students who have advanced to candidacy may also be appointed as TA's to enable them to hone their teaching skills as they complete their research.

Teaching Assistants usually assist professors and other experienced instructors in a classroom setting by preparing or conducting lectures and discussion sections, assisting students, or grading exams, lab reports, papers, or other assignments. These assistants are hired by the department, and are assigned a faculty mentor. In some cases, the Teaching Assistant will assume responsibility, under faculty supervision, for teaching a course on his or her own.

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Research Assistantships

Research Assistants (RA's) work primarily with faculty or other investigators on some facet of a research project. These assistants are selected by the faculty with whom they will be working. At times, RA's are paid from grant funds.

Finding Graduate Assistantships

  • Finding an assistantship is, in many ways, equivalent to finding a job. Assistants are hired, paid, and supervised by the program or office that offers the appointment.
  • Start looking for your assistantship during the application process. The Mechanical Engineering Department encourages prospective students to make direct contact with faculty members whose work interests them and with which their own knowledge and experience may be a good match.  Once your application is complete or nearly complete it is time to open a conversation.
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Graduate Fellowships

All applicants and current students in the department are automatically considered for these awards.  Fellowships are merit-based awards designed to enable the recipient to focus full-time on graduate study, do not have to be repaid, and in many cases include both the remission of tuition and a stipend for living expenses.

Fellowships are different from assistantships, which require graduate students to teach classes, work on a research project, or perform administrative tasks to earn their stipend and tuition remission.

Most fellowship awards are part of a recruitment package; others are made to current students through a competitive awards process. Both applicants and current students should contact the graduate program for more information on available fellowships.

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