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 TAs up to 50% time (20 hours/week) during the academic year.
  • TAs of 25% time or more, are provided with tuition, fees, and health insurance in addition to a monthly salary.
  • New graduate students admitted with financial support are usually appointed as TAs for the first academic year. After the first year, students are encouraged to affiliate with a research group and receive support as GSRs.
  • The department will guarantee up to 15 quarters of TA support within a student’s first 5 years in the program. Students may receive TAships past the 15 quarters, but please note the University of California will not allow students to receive more that 18 quarters of TA support.
  • TAs perform various duties, including preparing and conducting discussion or laboratory sections, proctoring exams, grading, holding office hours, and more.

If you have questions about the number of quarters you have left for TA eligibility, please contact Dawn Love.

  • GSR positions are available to students affiliated with a research group. Students must be in good academic standing and enrolled full-time (12 or more units).
  • Students should ask the faculty member with whom they wish to work about support arrangements well in advance. The source of funds for research assistantships are federal contracts and grants and appointments are subject to the availability of such funds each year.
  • GSRs of 25% time or more, provide students with tuition and fees, health insurance, and a monthly salary.
  • GSR duties are assigned by the faculty member in charge of the funded research project.
  • Summer GSR positions are available after the first year of graduate work and can be arranged directly with the professor in charge of a research project.
  • TAs may also have opportunities during the university's two five-week Summer Sessions, but these positions are not guaranteed. Summer TAships do not count towards the quarterly TA count limits.
  • International students with non-English Bachelor's degrees must demonstrate the required English language skills to TA by passing a UCSD-administered exam 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.



Please see the General Campus Grant Funding for information on academic funding opportunities.


The Physics Department also has a variety of awards and fellowships available to UCSD Physics students. To view more information, please see: Graduate Fellowships and Awards in Physics.


The Physics department encourages students to travel to scientific meetings and considers such meetings an important educational experience. However, travel can be supported only when adequate funding is available. In general, the Department's travel policy is graduate students can receive up to $300 for travel to conferences, or $500 for presenting at a conference.

For consideration, please complete application here. An application must be submitted and approved prior to travel date. Requests for funding after the trip has begun or been completed will not be considered.

If you have questions about the department procedures, please contact Jasmyn Wuerthwein. Please see our General Campus Grant Funding page for additional travel grant opportunities.

PhD Student Transitional Support Program

The School of Physical Sciences offers a program to support Ph.D. students who find themselves in an untenable relationship with their advisor transition to a new advisor in order to successfully continue and complete their degree. For more information on this program please visit their website.