There are three major categories of financial support available for graduate students: assistantships, fellowships, and financial aid. Assistantships and fellowships are awarded on the basis of merit. Financial aid is awarded on the basis of need. The Department of Urban and Regional Planning only makes offers of assistantships (teaching or research) and fellowships. Students interested in locating sources of financial aid can find additional information on the Graduate College website (see below for links).
Departmental assistantships and fellowships are made on a competitive basis, based on consideration of an applicant's professional background, academic record, and particular skills, as well as the needs of the department. Assistantships generally include a stipend and a partial or full waiver of tuition and selected fees. About one-third of our entering class receive merit-based assistantships upon entry into the program. Many others find that once they arrive on campus they are able to secure research assistantships or other assignments from faculty in DURP or other units. In most semesters, about 50 percent of MUP students have research or teaching assistantships. Each year several students also obtain jobs with planning agencies in the area.
All applicants are automatically considered for departmentally-awarded merit-based assistantships and fellowships in the admissions review process. To be seriously considered for these competitive awards, applicants should submit their application materials by December 15.
Research & Teaching Assistantships
Those students receiving departmental assistantship offers upon admission are given specific appointments by the Department Head, in consultation with the MUP and Bachelor's program directors and the rest of the faculty. Enrollment in a minimum of 12 hours of graduate level credit per semester and a minimum of 3.00 GPA while in the program are required to hold an assistantship. Most MUP assistantships are "25 percent" appointments, which means that they require ten hours of work per week.
Highly competitive applicants are considered for several fellowships offered by the Department itself (e.g., the Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship) and the Graduate College. Fellowships provide a partial or full waiver of tuition and most fees and a stipend similar to a 25 percent assistantship, but without a requirement for work.
Applicants from underrepresented minorities may be nominated for a fellowship from the Graduate College's Office of Educational Equity programs. If you wish to be considered for this award, which includes two years of funding, please be sure to fill out racial classification information in the Apply Yourself system.
There are additional resources to assist you in financing graduate study. The Graduate College website on Financial Assistance for Graduate Students provides information about a range of options. The Graduate College maintains a directory of fellowships for graduate study open for application by prospective students. Some students find assistantships outside DURP through the Assistantship Clearinghouse, which may include partial or full tuition and fee waivers in exchange for employment.