aerial view of dock on water with trees

Financial Support for Master’s Program Students

There are a limited number of Graduate Assistantships (some teaching, some research) available to qualified students each year. The salary for these assistantships is approximately $10,606 per academic year. The department will also likely cover most basic tuition fees during the first year of the assistantship. Depending upon departmental needs and faculty grants, there is a possibility of being reappointed for a second year of the assistantship. International students may also receive non-resident tuition waivers for 2 years (this is a competitive campus-wide selection process,) and out-of-state non-resident students may also receive a non-resident tuition waiver for 1 year (this is also a competitive campus-wide selection process.) Graduate Assistants are responsible for their mandatory campus miscellaneous fees.

Students seeking graduate assistantships should fill out the optional Graduate Assistantship Application in Interfolio. Please note that supporting documents for a Graduate Assistantship are the same as those needed for Admission to the Master’s Program in Geography.

Student seeking financial aid in the form of loans or need-based grants should contact the Financial Aid Office .

Master’s level students are also eligible to apply for four Geography Scholarships that reward excellent academic progress and/or achievements:

  • Alvena Storm Memorial Scholarship (for all Master’s students)
  • McFarland Scholarship (demonstrated financial need is an additional requirement of this scholarship)
  • Ned H. Greenwood Award Scholarship (for Master’s students specializing in physical geography)
  • William & Vivian Finch Scholarship (for Master’s students with interests in remote sensing)

These scholarships are competitive and are administered through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS). The scholarships have different requirements and students are required to submit a separate application for each scholarship they wish to be considered. Scholarships’ applications are typically due early in the spring semester and the winners are announced towards the end of the academic year. Awards are often disbursed to students by OFAS at the beginning of the next academic year (fall semester). Technically this means that Master’s level students should apply for these scholarships during their first year in the program, so that they can benefit from the scholarship during their second year. Learn more about these scholarships.

In addition, the department offers a number of scholarships-awards, including awards for students with interests in GIS, Cartography, Children and Social Geography, and Human Geography. The department also offers one or more scholarship-awards that recognize students’ service and citizenship to the department. These scholarships-awards are administered internally, and do not require an application to OFAS or to the department. Deserving students are selected by deliberation and a vote of the faculty in the department. These scholarships-awards are made possible by generous yearly contributions and gifts from donors; availability may vary from year to year.  See our scholarships page for more information.


Dr. Hilary McMillan
Office: Storm Hall 308B
Email: [email protected]

Important Links:

Frequently Asked Questions 

We have new openings each year for 6-10 Graduate Assistants (GAs) who receive funding for assisting faculty members in their teaching and research, and for 2-3 Teaching Assistants, who are instructors in Geography 101 Laboratory classes. TAships require background in physical geography and/or environmental science.
In Interfolio, please indicate that you are interested in a GAship and/or TAship. Some students choose to be self-funded, so we do not assume all students would like to be considered for a GA/TAship.
Become familiar with the list of acceptable evidence to establish residency. Some useful tips: print all documents and keep them in a safe place together. Before mid-September of your first semester, obtain a California driver’s license or ID card, register to vote (online) and change your address with the post office (online). A copy of your lease is very useful, and be sure you are no longer claimed by your parents on their tax documents. You will need to file and provide a California tax return, form 540. Make photocopies of everything, and toward the end of the spring semester bring them to the Office of the Registrar along with their application. Learn more about residency for tuition purposes.
The first round of offer letters are sent around mid-March. If you do not receive an offer letter by mid-March, you may be on the waiting list. Offers will be made on a rolling basis until all spots are filled.
We don’t accept late applications. Some hourly work is sometimes available linked to faculty grants and contracts.