Financial Support

Students accepted into the MS&E Ph.D. program receive financial support from the department, the university, or outside sources. Support comes in any of several forms: fellowships, graduate research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. Students may also apply for merit-based financial aid as part of the application process.


Graduate fellowships are awarded on the basis of scholastic ability and promise of achievement. They cover tuition and include a stipend for living expenses. Fellowships may vary in length and are awarded by Cornell’s Graduate Fellowship Board, the College of Engineering, and the Field of Materials Science and Engineering.

MS&E Ph.D. students are also strongly encouraged to seek externally funded fellowships such as those funded by the National Science Foundation and other institutions. A useful resource for tracking fellowship opportunities can be found at the Cornell Graduate School’s fellowship database.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

MS&E Ph.D. students typically serve as graduate research assistants for all but one semester of the program (that semester is spent as a teaching assistant). The GRA is the most common of all types of financial support and allows students to conduct research. This research often constitutes the student’s dissertation work and the preparation leading up to it. Students on a GRA receive full tuition and stipend for the academic year. Summer support appointments are made separately.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

All MS&E Ph.D. students serve as a teaching assistant for at least one semester – typically sometime in the second year. It is a very important component of the educational experience at Cornell. All TAs receive full tuition and stipend.