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Bascom Hall with tulips in foreground
November 8, 2023

PhD Funding and Financial Information

Written By: Kate Fanis

The vast majority of admitted graduate students receive a 5-year financial guarantee. The guarantee is usually provided through a Research Assistantship, which may also be supplemented with a Teaching Assistantship. This financial support will continue as long as the student maintains satisfactory progress toward their degree. Financial support includes:

  • Payment of all tuition costs (referred to as tuition remission).
  • Payment of an annual stipend of $35,000 (pre-tax and as of Fall 2023) for standard Research Assistant appointments.
  • Subsidized health insurance coverage.
  • A one-time Welcome Check payment of $1,000 at the start of the first semester for new students to use as needed (e.g., for moving expenses).

The same stipend is paid to all current PhD students and is periodically raised to account for cost-of-living increases. All increases are also applied to all current PhD students. Stipend payments may be larger for students funded by external fellowships, although the stipend is competitive compared to national fellowships (e.g., the 2021 stipend for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is $34,000). The cost of living in Madison is comparable to or cheaper (sometimes substantially so) than other major cities based on cost-of-living calculators so that the stipend is sufficient to ensure students can live comfortably. Students are also required to pay segregated fees each semester which provide access to bus passes, University Health Services, the Wisconsin Union, and recreation services (including on-campus athletics facilities). Segregated fees decrease once a student reaches dissertator status.


The largest cost born by most students is associated with housing. Most students live in University Housing or in off-campus apartments. University Housing provides a variety of apartments close to campus and accessible by bus lines and shuttles. Monthly rates range from $962 to $1435 depending on the number of bedrooms. Off-campus apartments are located all over Madison. Additional information on graduate student housing is available from the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student association.

Child Care

Students with children can benefit from several programs. Students can apply for financial assistance for childcare through the child care tuition assistance program. Students are also eligible to enroll children in on-campus childcare services, including the Eagle‚Äôs Wing which provides reduced rates for residents of the Eagle Heights housing community. Students also can utilize the Kids Kare  backup childcare service.

Funding Sources

Because of the national and international reputation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the type of training available in our department, some students are able to arrange support from their governments, industrial employers or foundations. The department is grateful for generous financial support from many sources to assist first year research funding. Support at this critical stage assists the department in the recruitment and retention of top students to the graduate program. In addition to many individual contributors, industrial supporters of the graduate program include these corporations:

  • 3M
  • Air Products Foundation
  • CITGO Petroleum Corporation
  • Dow Chemical Company Foundation
  • Grainger
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Union Pacific Corporation

Outstanding U.S. students are encouraged to apply for national fellowships such as the NSF Graduate Research FellowshipHertz Foundation FellowshipNational Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program, U.S. DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, and Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship.