Admissions: Funding Your Graduate Education

We automatically consider all applicants for both admission AND financial support. As a matter of departmental policy, admitted students are typically offered a multi-year funding package as part of their offer of admission.  The vast majority of our students are funded throughout their time in graduate school, with a mix of teaching positions, research assistantships, and fellowships.  If you have already secured outside financial support to support your graduate studies (i.e. an NSF or Fulbright Fellowship), please let us know. 

The primary form of departmental funding is a teaching assistantship.  Advanced students with appropriate backgrounds may be invited to teach their own courses.  Some research positions are also available through the department, and many more are available elsewhere on campus.  In addition, our students have been successful at securing fellowship support from both UW and other sources. 

Please note that applicants who are non-native English Speakers must meet certain criteria to be eligible for Teaching Assistantships.  Since departmental funding involves teaching, in order to be eligible for this funding, you must meet minimum English Proficiency requirements. The minimum English test scores to receive departmental funding are a TOEFL Overall Score of 92 and a Speaking score of 26.  We are required by the university to meet the standard listed in both Graduate School Memo 8, and also Graduate School Memo 15 for all our Teaching Assistants.  If you  have questions regarding this matter, please contact

Types of Funding


Teaching Assistantships:

The Department of Sociology typically awards between thirty and forty teaching assistantships per year. Ordinarily, about one-fourth to one-third of these are open to first year students. Teaching assistants aid faculty in teaching one or more courses. Duties vary somewhat, but frequently entail leading discussion sections in undergraduate courses.  TAs work about twenty hours a week and receive a tuition waiver and a stipend for the nine-month academic year.  Students are responsible for a student service fee per quarter.

Student Instructors:

After completion of their M.A. and a special course on teaching Sociology (SOC 502), graduate students become eligible to act as instructors for small sociology classes. These classes are primarily taught over the summer.  They represent a source of funding as well as an opportunity to develop one's teaching portfolio which many graduate students in the department take advantage of.

Research Assistantships

Faculty research projects supported by external funding sometimes employ graduate student assistants to perform essential research functions. The number of these awards varies greatly from one year to the next, and many RA positions are available with faculty members in allied departments. Since faculty typically prefer to work with students whose skills are familiar to them, research assistantships are not ordinarily awarded to first year students. Like teaching assistants, research assistants work about twenty hours per week, are granted a tuition waiver, and receive a stipend for the nine-month academic year. Students are responsible for a student service fee per quarter.


Department Fellowships and Awards

The Department of Sociology offers several awards and fellowships which are associated with varying amounts of financial support.  Most departmental fellowships are awarded to incoming students and do not require an application.  Departmental awards are given to current students in recognition of their accomplishments within the program.  To learn more about the departmental awards, and to find out about past recipients and application processes, visit the Departmental Awards page.

National Graduate Fellowships

Applicants with unusually strong academic records are encouraged to apply for fellowships and scholarships awarded by various federal agencies and private foundations.  In particular, the National Science Foundation's Graduate Fellowship is a program to which many students consider applying, and with which many of our students have had great success. Information on this program can be gotten from the Graduate School's Office of Fellowships and Awards, and also directly from the National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation has a few different types of awards, so it is worth checking through all their information thoroughly.

Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS)

The Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS) works with current and admitted UW graduate students. GFIS helps students identify and use different resources to locate funding opportunities for graduate school-related expenses including tuition, research, and conference and research travel. In conjunction with the University of Washington's Graduate School, GFIS hosts a series of workshops throughout the year. Students can also seek answers to their questions during drop-in advising hours, can schedule individual appointments, or can request information by email. In addition, GFIS maintains a subject guide that lists different funding resources by category and a blog that informs students about fellowships, grants, employment opportunities, and upcoming GFIS events.  The GFIS blog is located here:

UW Fellowships

The Graduate School maintains an Office of Fellowships and Awards that provides information on finding and applying to many other sources of funding both within and outside of the university.  Some UW fellowships held recently by our graduate students include:

Minority Fellowships: The Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GOMAP) in the Graduate School reviews eligible students university-wide for specially designated fellowships and makes these awards on a competitive basis. The Department's Admissions Committee will automatically recommend prospective and continuing students in our program for one of these awards if the student's record merits such a recommendation.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships:  The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies offers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to graduate students in support of their acquiring foreign language and area studies competencies.  Sociology students whose research requires such training frequently apply for and receive FLAS fellowships.

Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) Fellowships and Traineeships:  The Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) offers a CSDE Fellows program as well as CSDE traineeships. The requirements of these programs are very compatible with the standard course of study that Sociology students focused on demography undergo.

Collaborative Researchers for Educational Sciences Training (CREST) Program:  The CREST program mission is to prepare scholars who are fully equipped for interdisciplinary research and evaluation of K-20 policy interventions and associated programs. CREST scholars are supported to produce policy research informing the K-20 educational enterprises. CREST Fellows complete core and elective coursework in specified areas, engage in research apprenticeships and mentoring, partcipate in an integrative proseminar throughout their training, and receive ongoing advising and progress monitoring from the faculty, and contribute to national scholarly conversations through conference participation, journal reviewing and other activities. Our Sociology students have had success applying to this program.

Funding Information Summarized by Aimée Dechter:  Aimée Dechter has started maintaining a web site that includes information on funding opportunities (early stage fellowships, dissertation fellowships and improvement grants, postdoctoral fellowships, and early career funding), as well as some information on managing data and protection of human subjects.


Reader/Graders are classified as Academic Student Employees covered by the UAW/UW collective bargaining agreement. Reader/graders in the Department of Sociology will be paid from the departmental allocation at the rate of $32.21 per hour.

Office of Student Financial Aid

Some graduate students opt for low interest loans with provisions for deferred repayment.  The university's Office of Student Financial Aid may be contacted for information on guaranteed students loans.