Department Financial Support
Physics Department Financial Support Information
- The Department of Physics at the University of California,
San Diego provides financial support for all graduate students in good academic
standing. Graduate students are normally supported by a combination of teaching
assistantships and research assistantships.
- Graduate students in good academic standing who are enrolled full-time
(12 or more units) may be employed as Teaching Assistants (TAs) or as Graduate Student
Researchers (GSRs) up to 50% time (20 hours/week) during the academic year.
New graduate students who are admitted with financial support are usually appointed
as Teaching Assistants for one academic year from the beginning of the fall quarter
in September to the end of the spring quarter in June. After completing the first year
in the graduate program, students are encouraged to affiliate themselves with a research
group and receive support as a GSR. Students should ask the faculty member with whom
they wish to work about support arrangements well in advance. Since the source of funds
for research assistantships are federal contracts and grants, appointments are subject to
the availability of such funds each year. Some TA positions may also be available for
advanced graduate students, but priority is given to first year students. Students who
receive a fellowship from any source may be able to receive supplementation as part-time
TAs or GSRs.
- Both TA and GSR positions of 25% time or more provide students with tuition and
fees, health insurance, and a monthly salary.
- TAs typically perform a combination of the following duties: preparing and
conducting discussion or laboratory sections, proctoring exams, grading student work,
holding office hours, overseeing the work of other graders and proctors, assisting the
instructor with course support and administration, and working in the Physics Tutorial
Center. The faculty member in charge of the funded research project assigns GSR duties.
- Summer GSRs are often available within the Physics Department for graduate
students after they have completed their first year of graduate work. Students arrange
summer positions directly with the professor in charge of a research project. There are
also opportunities for graduate students to be employed as TAs during the two five-week Summer
Sessions offered by the university.
- International students whose Bachelor's degrees are not from an English-speaking
college or university may not serve as Teaching Assistants until they demonstrate the required
English language skills by passing a UCSD-administered test of spoken English. Failure to pass
the exam will limit employment opportunities to lower-paying jobs such as graders and proctors.
We recommend that students take the Test of Spoken English to help assess their fluency before
arriving at UCSD.
- The Physics Department also has a variety of awards and fellowships available to
UCSD Physics students. To view more information, please see the Graduate Fellowships and Awards in Physics page.