Financial Support

Our graduate students are typically supported in one of three ways: (1) Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA positions), (2) Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA positions), or (3) graduate fellowships.

Our funding to support international students is limited; thus, the vast majority of our international students obtain their own fellowship funding.

(1) GTA positions. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) serve a critical role in delivering high-quality educational experiences to our undergraduate population. Our students serve as GTAs for all types of undergraduate courses — from introductory biology lab sections to upper-division, writing-intensive capstone courses. The majority of our graduate students serve as GTAs at some point during their graduate career, and we view the GTA experience as an important part of our students’ academic training. Our GTAs are trained and supervised by Donna Weedman, the Department of Biology laboratory coordinator. In addition, GTAs work closely with faculty course instructors.

We offer GTA positions in the fall and spring semesters as well as the summer session. Fall and spring appointments are 4.5 months in length. Stipends for Department of Biology graduate students serving as fall and spring GTAs are $1,800/month. In addition, a GTA appointment covers tuition expenses. For first-year graduate students, this includes out-of-state tuition costs for non-Colorado residents. For graduate students in their second year or beyond, a GTA appointment covers in-state tuition costs, as our students have established Colorado state residency by their second year. Our summer GTA positions are 4 or 8 weeks in length; the total number of contact hours is the same for both sessions, but these hours are distributed over either 4 or 8 weeks. Stipends for summer GTAs are $3,500/lab section, regardless of whether the section is taught during the 4- or 8-week session.

(2) GRA positions. Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) serve a critical role in the research projects conducted by Department of Biology faculty members. GRA positions are typically provided by students’ primary advisors; they are awarded in the fall and spring semesters, as well as the summer session, based on grant funding. Rates for GRAs are variable, based on individual PI grant budgets. GRA positions also typically cover tuition.

(3) Graduate fellowships. Our students are supported by a number of different fellowships from national, international, private, and internal sources. These fellowships are variable in their stipend rate, duration, and coverage of tuition. Here, we provide a few examples of such fellowships, as well as provide links to more exhaustive lists of funding sources. We encourage all of our applicants to pursue these prestigious funding opportunities.

National fellowships include:

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP), which provides an annual stipend of $32,000 as well as a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for a total of three years. Information on the NSF GRFP can be found here:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results fellowship (EPA STAR), which has historically provided an annual stipend of $25,000 as well as $12,000 for tuition and fees for a total of two (for master’s) or three (for PhD) students. Information on the EPA STAR can be found here:

The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, which provides an annual stipend of $20,000 as well as $2,000 for tuition and fees for a total of three years. Information on the Ford Foundation Fellowship can be found here:

International fellowships include:

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program, which brings citizens from other countries to the United States for graduate school. Information on the Fulbright Program can be found here:

Internal (CSU) fellowships include:

The Colorado State Graduate Fellowship and the Programs of Research and Scholarly Excellence (PRSE) Fellowships, both of which provide supplemental stipends to first-year graduate students serving as GTAs. Admitted students are nominated for these awards by their departments.  

The Native Women in Science Fellowship, which provides stipend and tuition support to women from U.S. Indian tribes or indigenous tribes in Canada, Mexico, or Central America. Information on the Native Women in Science Fellowship can be found here:

The Edward and Phyllis Reed Fellowship, which provides an annual stipend to an outstanding Department of Biology graduate student working on freshwater Copepoda. Information on the Edward and Phyllis Reed Fellowship can be found here:

The Graduate School at Colorado State University also maintains more extensive lists of fellowship and scholarship opportunities here: