Funding Your Graduate Studies

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Sources of Funding

Research and teaching assistantships and university, corporate, or national fellowships fund many of Rensselaer’s full-time graduate students.

Rensselaer Graduate Fellowship Awards. Outstanding students may qualify for university-supported Rensselaer Graduate Fellowship Awards, which carry a minimum stipend of $24,450 for the 2022-2023 academic year and a full-tuition and fees scholarship. All fellowship awards are calendar year awards for full-time graduate students. The calendar year minimum is $32,600.

Teaching Assistantships. TAs are appointed by their departments to assist in classrooms and labs, for which they receive an academic-year stipend and tuition waiver. All new TAs are required to attend TA Training.

Research Assistantships. RAs are appointed by their departments to conduct research, for which they receive an academic-year stipend and tuition waiver. RA funding may also be available during the summer term.

External FellowshipsRensselaer encourages you to pursue external fellowships during your graduate studies. In addition to financial benefits, such opportunities will likely afford you greater research flexibility and carry valuable prestige as you build your career.


Tuition and Payment

Graduate Tuition and Student Support Policy


  • TA = Full funding on a slot (tuition scholarship)
  • IRA/SRA = Tuition funding from slot and stipend from either slot or start-up fund
  • FEL = Tuition funding can be from a slot or gift/endowed but stipend must be from gift/endowed or some other external source
  • ERA = Tuition and stipend funding from external research funding

Overall Policy Guidelines

  1. Tuition for all graduate programs, full-time and part-time, is set each year by the Board of Trustees upon recommendation by the President.
  2. Full-time graduate academic year tuition will be set at the same level as the undergraduate rate. All full-time students will pay this tuition.
  3. To receive a degree from Rensselaer, a student must be enrolled in an approved degree program, (i.e., matriculated).
  4. Full-time graduate tuition will be paid the entire time a student is matriculated and in residence, except for special cohort programs.
  5. Full-time status for all students, except teaching assistants, requires registration of at least 12 credits per semester.
  6. TA’s must register for at least 9 credits per semester.
  7. Payment of full-time graduate tuition allows a student to register for 12 to 16 credit hours in each of the fall and spring semesters. TA’s may register for 9 to 16 credits.
  8. Only full-time students will be eligible for financial support in the form of a tuition waiver, stipend, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship.
  9. All assistantships and internal fellowships are indivisible and a student cannot be both a TA and RA within the same semester.
  10. All graduate students receiving stipends from the Institute, from contracts/grants, and from Institute administered external sources, must be paid the minimum stipend as established by the Institute. For AY22-23 the stipend for the academic year is $24,450. With summer 2023 support, the total is $32,600.
  11. Students must finish all degree requirements for the PhD within a continuous seven-year time period, and for a Masters degree within a continuous two and one-half year time period. Students entering with a Masters degree in their field of study must finish all degree requirements for the PhD within a continuous five-year time period. Approved Leaves of Absence for medical, military or maternity reasons allow up to an additional two years to complete the graduate degree.
  12. Students enrolling for more than 15 credits during the Fall or Spring terms will be charged the academic year tuition rate plus an incremental per credit hour rate, for each credit hour exceeding 15 credits. Master of Architecture students may register for up to 18 credits per semester at the academic year tuition rate. Any credits taken in the summer sessions will be charged the incremental per credit hour rate, for each credit hour.
  13. A student pursuing graduate studies may not be employed by his/her Thesis/Dissertation advisor in any capacity except as a Research Assistant on thesis related research.
  14. Students who complete all of the degree requirements and whose Thesis/Dissertation has been certified by the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) prior to the end of the seventh week of classes may request a prorated reimbursement of their tuition. The pro-ration is based on the term withdrawal schedule set by the Office of the Bursar.
  15. All new contract/grant proposals and all contract/grant renewals must incorporate the current tuition policy. Specifically, the budget will include student support of full tuition less the current tuition cost share (35%), the current minimum calendar year stipend, and the current overhead on the Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC), including the student stipend.

TA and Institutionally Supported RA Policy Guidelines

A number of institutionally supported positions which include TAs, IRAs and SRAs, will be assigned to each school in order to assist them in attracting the very highest quality students. In the selection of these students, strong consideration should be given to the research potential and interest of the student. For each of these positions, Rensselaer will provide tuition waivers and stipends from a centralized pool administered by the Dean of the Graduate Education. These positions are indivisible within a semester. It is expected that, once the student is no longer supported institutionally, faculty will support the student from externally funded research programs for the remainder of the students degree program, in accordance with graduate tuition policy.

  1. A graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) is expected to work under faculty supervision for course-related responsibilities (i.e., no TA will be the primary  instructor for a course) of the assigned course(s) TA positions are not assigned to individual faculty, nor are they assigned  for research work, but rather are to support the teaching function in an assigned course or courses. As such, during the time a student is supported as a TA, he/she is expected to work towards the completion of his/her non-research related degree requirements, while at the same time attempting to identify a thesis advisor.
  2. A graduate Internal Research Assistant (IRA) or Start-up Research Assistant (SRA) receives support from internal funding and performs research duties under the supervision of a faculty member responsible for that research.
  3. A student may be institutionally supported up to two years for PhD students and one year for Masters students (except for March students for which a different policy pertains). After this period, it is expected that his/her thesis advisor will support the student.
  4. In the special case of two years of SRA where external support is not yet available, the SRA may be followed by one year of TA thus permitting three years of internal support, with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate Education.

Externally Supported RA Policy Guidelines

The significant increases in the research portfolio outlined in the Rensselaer Plan will require that faculty undertake new and sustained efforts in the research arena. These efforts will require an increase in the rate of proposal submission; improvement in the quality of the proposals submitted, which will thereby enhance the success rate; and an increase in the number of large interdisciplinary, multi-investigator proposals developed and submitted. It will further require that a greater percentage of faculty members participate in sponsored research programs. One way to strongly encourage and motivate these types of activities while at the same time ensuring that proposals remain competitive from a total cost to contract perspective, is through the implementation of a tuition cost-sharing program. In such a program, a portion of the cost of the tuition for Graduate Research Assistants (RA's) will be provided as cost sharing on the contract by Rensselaer for students supported on externally funded, sponsored research projects. The implementation of this type of program, will result in a number of benefits, including:

  • Ensuring that proposals are competitive on a total cost-to-contract basis when compared to peer institutions.
  • Providing appropriate institutional cost sharing on research proposals, thereby demonstrating the institutional commitment to research.
  1. The current tuition rate, as set each year bt the Board of Trustees (upon recommendation by the President), will be incorporated in all new contract/grant proposals and all contract/grant renewals.
  2. The tuition cost share rate for all competitive, externally-funded, sponsored research proposals paying the full indirect cost rate, is 35% of the required tuition for each graduate research assistant included in the proposal.
  3. Tuition cost sharing for proposals paying less than full indirect costs will be prorated accordingly.
  4. Externally supported RA positions are indivisible, i.e., may not be apportioned among multiple students.
  5. Any student supported on a contract/grant must have a full calendar year stipend and full tuition support less the institutional cost share.
  6. Therefore, the total cost to contract for each student will be the full tuition, less the university cost share amount, plus the minimum calendar year stipend and overhead on that stipend, unless otherwise restricted by the sponsor.
  7. In the event of tuition caps set by the sponsoring agency, the institute will determine how to treat the difference between the cap and the tuition on a case by case basis.

Fellowship Student Policy Guidelines

In order to attract the best students to Rensselaer, fellowship offers must be competitive.

  1. Only full-time students will be eligible for institute-provided fellowships.
  2. Fellowships will consist of the minimum calendar year stipend, and tuition support to be determined by the Fellowship Review Committee, chaired by the Dean of Graduate Education for Institutional Fellowships, or the Academic Dean for School-administered fellowships.
  3. Fellowships for GEM students and McNair Scholars consist of the minimum calendar year stipend and full-time tuition remission, with the duration of the fellowship being set so as to remain competitive with other research universities. The stipend funding is provided through the agency and the academic department, and the tuition funding can draw from institutional tuition funds to the extent necessary to make the award whole. The Office of Graduate Education handles the accounting and agency billings for these programs.

Part-Time Student Policy Guidelines

Although the principal focus on the Troy campus is on full-time students that support the research mission of the Institute, part-time graduate students are also encouraged. The principal focus of the Hartford Campus is on working professionals and part-time students.

  1. With the exception of students enrolled in special cohort programs and those taking classes via distance learning, all Troy-based, non-matriculated students, wishing to enroll for less than 12 hours/semester, will be considered part-time and will be charged the part-time tuition.
  2. Students wishing to take 12 or more credits per semester will be considered full-time, must pay the full-time tuition, and must have been admitted to an approved degree program, (i.e., must be matriculated).
  3. Part-time students enrolled in the core (general studies) programs at Rensselaer at Hartford will pay the part-time tuition.
  4. The tuition for students enrolled in cohort and other special programs will be determined separately.
  5. Part-time students are not eligible for financial support from Rensselaer.

Graduate Tuition

Full-time graduate tuition is $58,600 per academic year for FY22-23. Payment of this tuition allows a student to register for 12 to 16 credit hours in each of the fall and spring semesters. A student paying tuition and taking between 12 and 16 credits in the fall and spring is considered a full-time student throughout that calendar year. Students must register for at least 12 credits per semester to maintain full-time status. The only exception to this requirement is for those students serving as teaching assistants. These students may register for a minimum of 9 credits to maintain their full-time status. Students enrolling for more than 16 credits, with prior approval, during the fall or spring terms will be charged the academic year tuition rate plus a per-credit-hour rate of $2,440.00 for each credit hour exceeding 16 credits or for each credit taken in the summer sessions.

Part-time graduate tuition is paid on a per-credit-hour basis of $2,440.00 per credit hour.

Summer Administrative Registration

Summer Administrative Registration (SAR) is a no charge registration requirement for graduate students who will be receiving a stipend over the summer or graduating in the summer semester. Students taking credit-bearing course or research credits should not register for SAR. Eligibility for SAR requires that the student has been registered in both the previous fall and spring semesters.

All students who are working should be registered at all times.

Cooperative Education

Graduate students may participate in the Co-op Program (Co-op) on a “permission only” basis. While on assignment, Co-op employees are considered full-time students, and no tuition is assessed. Students who are on a Co-op in the local area are still required to pay the activity and health service fees.

Graduate students may apply for Co-op positions that take place during the summer and/or semester (up to a maximum of one year). However, there must be compelling academic reasons for the student to participate in the program, and all jobs must be reviewed and approved by the academic advisor, Graduate Program Director, and the Dean of Graduate Education. In addition, international students must also have the position approved by International Student Services prior to commencing work.

Procedure for departments with students who have exhausted their internal funding limits and have no external funding options available

  1. Assess the student in question to be sure that they are making the required academic progress towards their degree (this can be accomplished during the Doctoral Review process as well).
  2. Check the student record and try to determine the date of graduation. This will allow the department/school and OGE to have a better idea of the amount of time that the student will still need to be funded in order to obtain the degree.
  3. If the Graduate Program Director for your school is not able to solve the issue using school funding, they will appeal, in writing, to the Dean of Graduate Education for an exception to the rule. They must clearly outline the entire student situation and the steps they have taken to try to fund the student. The Dean of Graduate Education will then make an assessment of the situation and recommend a solution.
  4. The final decision will be sent to the school Graduate Program Director and the Business Manager for the Office of Graduate Education, who will consult with the department on the decision.