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Graduate Funding Opportunities

Financing graduate education is an important topic for all students. There are numerous sources of support from inside the University and from external agencies that afford funding for graduate students. The most likely source of support is through an assistantship, fellowship, or scholarship offered by the college or department.

The Penn State Graduate School also offers several funding programs coordinated by the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration. Government agencies, foundations, professional associations, and other private entities also offer support of graduate education.

Advancing Master's Program

The Advancing Master’s Program (AMP) provides assistance for the successful completion of a two-year master’s degree with a thesis for talented students with demonstrated financial need for selected majors in the Penn State College of Engineering. The AMP Scholars program offers scholarship funding up to $10,000 for each of two years and a mentoring and professional development program. 

To learn more, visit the AMP web page or email Professor Julio Urbina at


There are two main types of graduate assistantships at Penn State, Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA), and they are the most common forms of graduate support.

The financial support for RAs is usually provided by external grants made to individual faculty members; support for TAs is controlled by the individual department. Teaching and research assistantships include a stipend, tuition remission, and a subsidy for medical insurance. Recipients are assigned to a faculty adviser who supervises the experience. Graduate assistants support undergraduate instruction or undertake research projects.

Half-time teaching and research assistantships are available within the department on a competitive basis, carrying a stipend plus paid tuition, and are available only to graduate students who are registered for courses and enrolled in degree programs. The student on a half-time assistantship normally schedules 12 credits per semester and performs tasks that, on average, occupy approximately 20 hours per week.

For master of science degree candidates working as teaching assistants, the duration of this support is typically two years, without tuition in the fourth semester. Most research assistantships are also available during the summer, offering an additional stipend. Nearly all assistantships are half-time; however, quarter-time or three-quarter-time assistantships may be arranged for special needs.

For more details on assistantships, please refer to the Graduate Studies Guide.

Graduate Fellowships

Fellowships are highly prestigious financial support packages that typically include a stipend, tuition remission, and a subsidy for medical insurance. They derive from University or external awards. Unlike assistantships, they do not have a required work commitment; they are duty-free. Recipients must be enrolled in degree programs and be registered full time. Fellowship recipients are not permitted to accept employment without obtaining approval from the unit and/or agency supporting the fellowship.

Undergraduate students who are considering graduate school should start looking for fellowship opportunities during their third year. The University Fellowships Office has a list of some of the more prominent external graduate fellowships.


Scholarships are financial awards that support graduate study. Most are awarded by colleges, graduate programs, or outside funding agencies and are based on academic merit. Some awards factor in financial need or other grantee-specified criteria.

Internal Scholarships

Current students do not need to apply for most internal scholarships. All aerospace engineering 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 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to be eligible for need-based scholarships.

External Scholarships

External scholarships are funded by other organizations than Penn State, which include foundations, associations, international non-government and government organizations, agencies, etc. The University Fellowships Office maintains a list of some of the more prominent general scholarships.

Funding through the Graduate School

The Graduate School at Penn State offers resources for various types of funding, including external funding sources, on their website.

Financial Aid



The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569