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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Funding and Financial Information

AOS Handbook: Funding

There is no formal application process for assistantships. Students who submit their complete application by January 15th for the upcoming Fall semseter have the best chance for consideration. All applicants will be considered for any available assistantships or fellowships.

We follow the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution which allows students until April 15th to make a decision on any assistantship or fellowship offer.

We are not able to provide assistantships for all admitted students. We generally offer 8-10 research assistantships a year to our 30-40 admitted students. It is in your interest to directly contact faculty and researchers about joining labs. A research assistantship appointment entails conducting research with a supervisor, that is usually, but necessarily tied to your thesis research. Assistantships include a stipend, tuition remission if greater than 33% appointment (see below for information), health, dental, and vision benefits.

Teaching assistantships in AOS are limited in number and are generally reserved for senior graduate students in our program. Several other departments, such as Math, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, and Biology often have a need for TAs where AOS students might be a good fit. To get information on applying for available positions in other departments, you should visit the department websites. Positions usually open up in summer. AOS opens up our applications for TA positions by sending an email out around the mid-point of each semester.

If you are interested in coming to Wisconsin self-supported, the Office of Financial Aid is a good resource for funding options. We highly discourage PhD students from coming unfunded.

Fellowship and scholarship opportunities outside of the UW are available with the American Meteorological Society and the National Science Foundation.

There are UW fellowships available and all applicants are automatically considered for any available fellowships. There is no special application process. Our department nominates students for these fellowships.

TA and PA Positions

Students that have teaching and project assistant positions can find policies related to: grievance procedures; appointments; orientation, training, and evaluation; non-discrimination; termination; health and safety; and benefits, including sick leave, vacation, and leave of absence in the TAA website at:

Current rates for TAs, PAs, and RAs can be found on the website of the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources:

Graduate assistants are paid on a monthly basis and stipends are usually deposited directly into student’s bank accounts.  You can authorize direct deposit by filling out the Authorization for Direct Deposit of Payroll form and returning it to the Graduate Coordinator.

Tuition Remission and Payment of Segregated Fees

TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers (Students Assistants) with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hrs/week) receive remission of their full tuition (in- and out-of-state, as applicable). Students with these appointments are still responsible for paying segregated fees.

Health Insurance Benefits

TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers (Student Assistants) with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hrs/week) for at least the length of a semester are eligible to enroll in a health insurance program. Information about health insurance options can be found here.

Current monthly premiums can be found here.

Questions about health insurance can be directed to insert name/contact info of departmental benefits coordinator.

Maximum Appointment Levels

The Graduate School sets the maximum levels of graduate assistantship appointments.  International students should be especially aware of maximum levels of employment. For more information on these policies, please visit this page.

Enrollment Requirements for Graduate Assistants

Students with graduate assistantships must be enrolled appropriately.  Detailed information about enrollment requirements can be found in the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures: Enrollment Requirements.

Campus Fellowships

There are many different kinds of fellowships on campus. Some are awarded by the program, some are awarded by the school/college, and still others are awarded by the Graduate School. In addition, a number of students have applied for and won fellowships from federal agencies, professional organizations, and private foundations.  The terms and conditions of fellowships across campus vary widely. If you have a fellowship, make sure you understand the obligations and benefits of that fellowship, including stipend, health insurance eligibility, eligibility for tuition remission, pay schedule, etc. Graduate School Fellowships.

The Graduate School administers a number of different fellowships on campus, including the: the University Fellowship, Chancellor’s Fellowship, Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowship, the Dickie Fellowship, and a variety of external fellowships. If you have questions about these fellowships, please refer to the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources.

External Fellowships

We encourage all students to seek out and apply for funding from sources external to the university (e.g., federal agencies, professional organizations, private foundations).  The Graduate School supports selected federal/private fellowships through the provision of tuition support and health insurance, list at the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources.

The Graduate School also provides remission of the non-resident portion of students’ tuition (if applicable) to students who win external fellowships that are payrolled through the university and provide an academic year (9-month) stipend an annual year (12-month) stipend.

Students should be aware that fellowships and awards from external sources each have unique terms and conditions that you should take time to understand. Questions on external fellowships can be directed to the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources.

Additional source of information on external funding:

The GIC is a great collection of print and on-line resources to help students find external fellowships and scholarships.  You can learn how to set up a personalized profile on several on-line funding databases, and get regular notices of relevant funding opportunities. PLEASE REMEMBER: the timetable for identifying, applying for and receiving such external funding is generally quite long; plan on 9-12 months between the time you start your search and the time you may receive funding.

Once you find a fellowship, scholarship, or award to which you want to apply, consider contacting the Writing Center. The Writing Center staff can provide valuable advice on crafting your application. Also list, if any, program support/resources provided to students seeking external fellowships.

Fellows with Concurrent Appointments

Students with fellowships payrolled through the university may hold concurrent graduate assistantships and/or student hourly appointments up to a total maximum combined annual stipend of $44,162 (in 2016-2017). If you have any questions about concurrent work along with your fellowship, please feel free to contact the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources.

Funding for Study Abroad The International Fellowships Office provides information about opportunities for international research, grants, scholarships and other funding.

Funding for Conference/Research Travel

The Graduate School provides a limited amount of funding for dissertators and final year MFA students whose research has been accepted for presentation at a conference.  For more information about this funding, visit the Vilas Conference Presentation Funds website.

In addition, the Graduate School runs a competition twice/year for funds to support travel related to your dissertation/thesis research. Students must be dissertators or final-year MFA students.  For more information about this funding, visit the <a href=””target=”_new”>Vilas Research Travel Grant website</a>.

The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences has limited funds available to award to current M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences for travel to present at national and international conferences or to participate in field projects, summer schools, lab exchanges, collaboration visits, and other activities that enhance graduate scholarship. Details can be found here.


The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) assists graduate students whose personal and family resources are not adequate to cover the expenses involved in attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The office also provides counseling to help students manage their money effectively, information on other potential sources of financial assistance (such as employment), debt management counseling, and small short-term loans for emergency situations.