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Financial Support for Doctoral Program Students

The Department of Geography at SDSU has a number of research and student positions available to support students admitted to the joint doctoral program. All students applying to admission to the joint doctoral program will be considered for financial support. Doctoral students perform both research and teaching duties in the department. These may include working on ongoing faculty research projects, assisting in lab sessions, performing teaching assistant duties on faculty led courses, and teaching their own courses (only after receiving university teaching training and after at least one year in the program).

The department supports the majority of admitted joint doctoral students with a teaching associateship or graduate assistantship package that includes:

  • Salary and full benefits plus fee/tuition waivers for 4 years.
  • Tuition waivers for one academic year while in residence at UCSB
  • Annual conference travel funding (contingent on availability of funds)

Roughly 90% of joint doctoral students receive a student position. Assuming reasonable progress towards completing degree requirements, joint doctoral students receive funding for a minimum of four years. A 5th year of funding is sometimes made available on a competitive basis and based on funding availability. Students wishing to apply for a 5th of year of funding are required to have advanced to candidacy by the end of their 4th year in the program.

All students with GA or TA positions are required to enroll for at least one class per semester at SDSU in order to maintain their eligibility for funding. This also includes fall and spring semesters during the year spent at UCSB. More information about this policy can be found in the TA/GA/ISA handbook in the section "Eligibility for TA, GA, and ISA Appointments".

Only a few students are admitted with the understanding that they have external financial support and related work obligations. Additional salary support may be available in the summer in conjunction with externally funded research projects conducted by SDSU faculty.

US students entering SDSU with out-of-state residency are required to establish State of California residency immediately upon starting the program. For more information about establishing residency, please visit the Office of the Registrar’s page.

Teaching and research duties are assigned for 20 hours a week for 17 weeks in both the fall and spring semesters.

Doctoral students may also be eligible to apply for scholarships. See our scholarships page for more information.

Information on Housing Resources.


Dr. Piotr Jankowski
Office: Storm Hall 301C
Phone: (619) 594-0640
Email: [email protected]

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Normally, all students admitted each year are offered full funding. This includes a salary associated with a doctoral associateship, full medical, dental, and vision care benefits, and coverage of registration and tuition fees at SDSU and UCSB. We have openings each year for five new doctoral associateships. Doctoral associates are assigned varied tasks, which may include research, lecturing, lab assisting, and grading duties. Full funding is normally granted for at least four years, assuming that a student is in good standing and making adequate progress towards degree requirements.
Certainly. It is our preference to fund all students that are admitted. However, international students are normally not able to establish residency in the State of California, so we are required to pay out-of-state tuition. Because tuition comes at a very high cost, particularly while enrolled at UCSB, we are only able to fund and therefore admit, one or two international students each year.
Doctoral associates may have the opportunity for two summer months of support at up to 100% (i.e. 40 hrs. /week). This depends on the availability of grants and contract funds, and/or a student’s success in obtaining fellowship funding. Doctoral students are encouraged to apply for scholarship and fellowship funds to augment their funding.
Fully funded doctoral associates are not allowed to hold outside employment, other than occasional consulting or free-lance work that could be conducted on weekends and not interfere with timely matriculation.
Students who attempt this have a difficult time completing the program and particularly, in a timely manner. Furthermore, most of the classes you might have to take will rarely be offered at night. It is exceptional for applicants that want to maintain full-time, outside employment to be admitted to the Joint Doctoral program.
The department and the university offer other scholarships on a competitive basis, which can augment funding. Competitions are conducted annually and require student applications. Students are informed of scholarship opportunities once they are in the program. See our scholarships page for more information.