Financial Information

Graduate students in Mechanical Engineering receive financial support from several different sources including  assistantships, tuition waivers, scholarships and financial aid.


Assistantships are paid appointments awarded on a semester or annual basis to qualified graduate students. Assistantships are highly sought after because of the number of benefits it can provide such as relevant research/work experience, expansion of networks, flexible schedule, and financial assistance.

How to Apply

  1. You must be admitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program. Please visit the admissions page to view the application requirements and deadlines.
  2. All newly admitted students and current students may apply for Teaching Assistant positions through the department’s TA application. Please review a description of the TA responsibilities prior to applying.
  3. If hired, meet with Tiffany Benson to ensure your hiring/payroll information is in order.
  4. All hired International Students must register for the International Teaching Assistantship workshop by contacting the Graduate Advisor at with your name, student I.D., course you have been hired for and the name of the hiring faculty member.
Teaching Assistants (TA’s)

Teaching assistants work in various capacities, as lab TA’s, course TA’s and graders. TA’s work closely with faculty to make sure that the students are getting the most out of the lab or course.

  • Lab TA’s are typically responsible for all aspects of laboratory sections associated with certain undergraduate courses. Duties may include:
    • Setting up experiments
    • Conducting lectures to undergraduate students on particular experiments
    • Supervising undergraduate students during the data acquisition phase of experiments
    • Holding office hours
    • Grading lab reports.
  • Course TA’s typically assist with course instruction. Duties may include:
    • Conducting problem sessions
    • Occasional lecturing
    • Grading student homework and projects
  • Graders have limited interaction with undergraduate students and are primarily responsible for grading homework assignments.
Research Assistants (RA’s)

RA’s are paid from grant funds to do research under the direction of a professor. Availability of research funds varies from semester to semester and new graduate students are strongly encouraged to discuss potential research areas with members of the faculty involved in areas of the student’s interest.

Graduate Research Assistants (GR’s)

GR’s also work on research under the direction of a professor, but instead of being paid from a grant are paid from start-up funds. GR’s do the same work as RA’s and are paid the same amounts.

Graduate Fellows (GF’s)

GF’s are doctoral students conducting research under the direction of a professor (faculty advisor) of their choice, unless specified by the grant. Graduate fellows function similarly to graduate assistants with more flexibility to select a faculty advisor and research project.

Tuition Benefit Program

Students who are hired for an assistantship position (i.e., TA, RA, GR, GF) are eligible for a tuition waiver from the Graduate School. The tuition waiver is determined according to the stipend amount a student is offered for a semester (see the Graduate School’s Tuition Benefit Guidelines for rates). Students on tuition benefit receive resident tuition. Tuition benefit is not granted to students receiving less than $5,000 of support for the semester. The required minimum support level is annually indexed to general salary increases to prevent gradual erosion of established graduate student salaries and stipends. TBP does not cover differential tuition, audited classes, undergraduate classes or CR/NC classes. See the Graduate School’s Website for further details.

Fellowships & Scholarships

Selection Criteria is based on GRE scores, references, and academic achievement. Applicants must be U.S. citizens to be eligible for the following fellowships. Please complete your application for admission by January 1. Please check the deadlines for each fellowship, as some may have deadlines that are even earlier than the department deadline. Scholarship Bulletin

College of Engineering Fellowships

Each year the University of Utah College of Engineering distributes several 1-year scholarships or fellowships to the most highly qualified incoming PhD students in the college. Students do not apply for these scholarships themselves; rather, the chairs of the various engineering departments make recommendations to the college scholarship selection committee based on the quality of the student’s graduate school application. Recipients of these awards typically receive $15,000 during their first year, which is matched by $15,000 from the department. The cost of tuition is also waived for these individuals.

The University of Utah College of Engineering Fellowships Office is designed to help you find, compete for, and win national and international fellowships and scholarships.  (Note: For information on local / university scholarships, check out the COE scholarships website.) Within these pages, you will find a database of opportunities, guidance on how to build a winning application, as well as information on upcoming events and a list of previous winners.

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

Available to undergraduate, graduate, transfer, and incoming freshmen who have at least one parent who graduated from the University of Utah and whose parent or grandparent holds a current dues-paying membership in the Alumni Association. For more information visit the Alumni Association Scholarships page.

University of Utah Graduate Fellowships

Graduate Fellowship Opportunities

Smart Scholarship Program (DOD)

The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). It is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. students to gain technical skills in critical STEM fields and support the national security mission of DoD.

This is a highly competitive, national program, open to U.S. citizens only. The SMART program will pay all educational costs and a stipend while in school from as little as one (1) term up to 5 years. Specifically, the program pays for:

  • Full Tuition – to any accredited U.S. University
  • A very generous stipend while in school ranging from $25,000 – $38,000 per year
  • Supplies allowance – $1,000
  • Health insurance contribution
  • Paid Summer internships
  • Travel fees for internships
  • All required student fees

For more information, see the SMART Scholarship webpage at The application deadline is December 1.

Emergency Aid & Loans

Magdiel Student Financial Relief Fund

Available to: If you are a student nearing completion of your mechanical engineering program and experiencing a significant or unforeseen financial hardship, the Magdiel Financial Relief Fund may be able to help you with grants aimed at enabling you to complete your degree. GPA is not a factor to receive assistance from the fund, and grants may be renewable based on need and available funds.

Please complete and submit the Application. Preference is given to tuition and those nearest to graduating. Once submitted you will be contacted via email regarding the status of your application. Applications for financial relief are accepted year-round, however decisions are made the first week of class and funds are limited.

The application deadlines are August 6 and December 1.

Provided by: John and Barbara Magdiel
Duration: One academic year
Value: Amount Varies
Number of awards: Based on need and available funds

Ross-Dauncey Student Loan Endowment Fund

The Ross-Dauncey Student Loan has been put in place to help Mechanical Engineering Students by providing an interest free (up to ten years) loan to help pay for school. This loan is based loosely on need meaning applicants will need to have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Successful applicants will also need to complete a Truth and Lending Form (available in 105 SSB).
Apply online

Duration: One academic year (renewable)
Value: Starts at $3,000
Number of awards: Varies
Application Deadline is: August 6 & December 1

Likelihood of Support

Preference is given to PhD students, and then MS Thesis students. All other graduate students are then considered for funding. Most financial aid and fellowships are awarded for fall semesters and typically carry over to the spring semesters. Support Enrollment Form

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Eligible students who are not provided any funding are encouraged to submit a FAFSA application to be considered for federal loans.  Federal loans are student aid funds that you must repay with interest. For more information about the FAFSA process, please visit the U of U Financial Aid website. A student must meet the following criteria in order to be considered eligible for Federal Financial Aid:

  • Be admitted to the University of Utah as a degree-seeking student.
  • Be enrolled for the minimum number of credit hours indicated by the specific award.
  • Maintain the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen.
  • Be registered with Selective Service, if applicable.
  • Not owe a repayment of any Federal Aid to a school previously attended.
  • Not be in default on a Federal Student Loan.

Additional misc. scholarship and fellowship opportunities can be found at national sites supporting your research area, i.e., NASA, NSF, NIH, ASME, ASSE and likewise.