Financial Aid

University Fellowships and Scholarships 

Fellowships are merit-based awards that usually provide a stipend for living expenses, plus tuition and fees. In assigning awards, the Committee of Fellowships and Graduate Scholarships and our department will consider the extent and quality of your previous academic work, evidence of your ability in research or other creative accomplishments, your intellectual capacity, and promise of productive scholarship. For 2020-21, fellowships for new graduate students were approximately $40,000, plus tuition and fees. An application for fellowships is included in the application for admission. Competition for University fellowships is held only once a year; awards are made for the academic year beginning with the fall semester only. Awards are normally announced by early March.

Need-based Financial Aid 

Loans, grants, and work-study awards are made through the Financial Aid Office. The programs are based entirely on demonstrated financial need and require a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), independent of the fellowship application. The FAFSA form is available here. For more information, see the application for admission. If you have questions about need-based programs, consult the Financial Aid Web Site. Only U.S. citizens and those with permanent resident status may apply for funds administered by the Financial Aid Office.

International Student Financial Resources 

Financial resources at the University are extremely limited. International applicants must provide proof of adequate funding to pay all required fees and expenses for your entire graduate program before a visa to enter the United States can be issued. A minimum of $32,000 per year was required for Fall 2016, with increases averaging 7-10 percent each year. Because of rising costs, the number of available fellowships is decreasing. International students should also note that they may not work outside the University except in exceptional circumstances. Contact the Berkeley International Office, or for more information.

Graduate Student Instructorships (GSI) 

The Department of Earth and Planetary Science offers several Graduate Student Instructorships (teaching assistantships) each semester. Graduate Student Instructors are eligible for remission of the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (GSHIP) and partial fee remission. The GSI's functions include grading exams and conducting section meetings. University policy requires that international students applying for GSI positions for the first time on the UC Berkeley campus are required to take either the TOEFL, administered in your country, or the Oral Proficiency Test (OPT), administered on the Berkeley campus by the Graduate Student Instructor Teaching and Resource Center. A result of 26 on the speaking section of the TOELF, or a 3- on the OPT, is required for appointment to a GSI position. 

Graduate Student Research Assistantship (GSR) 

The Department of Earth and Planetary Science has several Graduate Student Research Assistantships available each semester. Such assistantships are awarded by individual faculty holding research grants. Graduate Student Research Assistantships are eligible for full fee remission.