Our outstanding applicants are considered for support in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and various fellowships from the Department and the College of Engineering.
Appointments vary from 10, 20, or 30 hours per week. The pay rates may vary depending on the nature of the job and the student’s experience. Students with half-time appointments pay no tuition and must take from 9 to 12 credits per semester or 4 to 6 credits in the summer during the period of employment. All appointments automatically terminate at the end of the spring semester, if not before, and appointments carry no guarantee of renewal. Students who have had appointments for both the preceding fall and spring semesters are eligible to apply for summer tuition assistance if they need to register for summer.
Appointments may be for a variety of duties generally classified as research (RA) or teaching (TA). Teaching appointments will be supported by internal funds. Research appointments may be supported by either internal funds or externally funded research. The latter is more common. Some appointments may be supported by two sources of funds in which case the service is to be split in proportion to the funds from each source.
A graduate assistant is not eligible for other forms of employment such as part-time hourly wage payroll, either within or outside of Penn State, unless approval is obtained from those supplying the assistantship, the graduate program coordinator, and the college dean. However, a graduate assistant is allowed to receive fellowship funds in addition to the assistantship.
A graduate assistant may deviate from the prescribed course loads (if given permission from the source of funds, the graduate program coordinator, and the dean of The Graduate School) only to the extent that one heavy semester is balanced by another that is light.
Current students do not need to apply for most internal scholarships. All EE students are automatically considered. A committee selects scholarship recipients based on academic performance (merit-based scholarships) and, in some cases, financial need (need-based scholarships). Students must fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to be eligible for need-based scholarships.
There are numerous ways to find out about the numerous external scholarships available to students. The College of Engineering keeps a list of Engineering-related scholarships. This list is constantly updated, so check it often. In addition, the University Fellowship Office has a list of some of the more prominent general scholarships.
Undergraduates who are considering graduate school should start looking for fellowship opportunities during the junior year. As with undergraduate scholarships, the graduate fellowships are divided between internal and external fellowships. Contact the schools to which you are applying for information about internal fellowships and other funding opportunities. The University Fellowship Office has a list of some of the more prominent external graduate fellowships.
Visit the Penn State Financial Aid office in 314 Shields Building or go to their website for information about the various types of loans and grants available to students.
Visit the Job Announcements page for information about part-time jobs and other funding opportunities.