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MFA Financial Support

Updated October 2019

MFA in Writing students are eligible for financial support if they study fulltime, maintain good academic standing and make timely progress toward the degree. 

New students receive a letter of support upon nomination for admission. The letter describes the type of funding the student can expect and what they must do to secure it. All students are eligible for full funding, including international students provided they meet the English language certification requirement for teaching assistants.

Our benchmark for full funding is a 9-month teaching assistantship at 50% time. TAships are the basis for most student funding. Note that students must apply for and obtain TAships each year.

All MFA students have received full funding or better since the program launched in 2009.

Academic Student Employment

Teaching Assistantships

Most MFA students fund their programs by applying for and obtaining 9-month TA appointments at 50% time (~20 hours/week) with UCSD's six college writing programs or academic departments (a seventh college program will launch in Fall 2020). Currently most of our students teach for the Sixth College/Culture, Arts and Technology writing program.

TAs attend course lectures, grade papers and examinations, meet with the supervising professor to discuss the progress of the course, conduct discussion sections, hold office hours, and do other teaching-related tasks.

TAs employed at 25-50% time during the academic year receive student health insurance and tuition/fee remissions as described in the chart below. TAs also receive a salary (currently $21,911 for a 9-month TAship at 50% time) and academic credit.

Tuition/Fee Remissions  – 50% TAship for 9-Month Academic Year 
    Regular Tuition & Fees 5,785 5,785 5,785 17,355
    Less: TA Tuition/Fee Remissions -4,290 -4,290 -4,290 -12,870
    Less: TA Health Insurance Fee Remission -1,300 -1,300 -1,300 -3,900
BALANCE PAID BY STUDENT $195 $195 $195 $585
Remissions don't apply to nonresident supplemental tuition (see MFA Funding, below). Figures subject to change. 








Students who don't want to teach can apply for readerships to fund their programs. Readers grade student work but don't conduct discussion sections.

Readers employed at least 25% time (~10 hours/week) during the quarter receive the same fee remissions of the regular tuition/fees as TAs, plus a salary of approximately $16 per hour. Most reader positions are at 15-20% time but students can combine multiple positions to attain 25% employment and be eligible for fee remissions.

Readerships do not offer teaching apprenticeship credit. Students may petition to substitute Literature seminar credit for the teaching apprenticeship credit required for the MFA degree.

MFA Program Funding

Tuition Assistance

The MFA Program may help nonresidents pay up to 100% of the supplemental tuition. Nonresident tuition assistance is  for 1 academic year for domestic students and 2-3 academic years for international students who are not eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes. (Refer to Costs of Attendance for information about supplemental nonresident tuition.)

The program may also help students pay the balance of regular tuition/fees not covered by TA/reader fee remissions.

All eligible students are considered for MFA Program funding; there is no application. Award decisions are made by the MFA admissions committee or program director at their discretion.


The MFA Program may offer teaching stipends to supplement TA salary for students employed at 50% time. All eligible students are automatically considered; there is no application. Award decisions are made by the MFA admissions committee or program director at their discretion.

Other Funding

UCSD Fellowships

UCSD awards a limited number of fellowships to new incoming students:

San Diego Fellowship 

SEED Fellowship

Competitive Edge Fellowship 

Tribal Membership Initiative

To be considered applicants must fill out the fellowship section of the application for admission, meet all eligibility requirements, and be nominated by the MFA Program. Award decisions are made by a campus committee.

UCSD Scholarships

MFA students may be eligible for consideration for a few scholarships provided by UCSD supporters. Awards are in the range of $1,000-$3,000. Typically students must demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. Candidates must be nominated by the MFA faculty and Literature Department; students may not self-nominate. Currently registered students should contact the MFA graduate coordinator for more information.

Friends of International Center Scholarship
Awarded to graduate students who are planning to conduct research abroad or foreign graduate students in residence at UCSD. Nominee must have a distinguished academic record and must promote international friendship, understanding, and cooperation in a meaningful way.

Oceanids / Frieda Daum Urey Endowed Fellowship
Awarded to a woman who has had a significant hiatus in her studies since undergraduate education, and for whom the award of the fellowship will make a critical financial difference in her ability to attend UCSD. Doctoral students will be preferred, but master's and professional students are also eligible. 

Oceanids / Bertha Lebus Scholarship
Awarded to a graduate student who is returning to UCSD and has had a break in their education of at least one year, preferably longer, from the completion of undergraduate studies. The recipient should have a long-range goal to become a teacher at any educational level.

Oceanids Memorial Fellowship
Awarded to a graduate student who has exhibited academic excellence and financial need at the General Campus of UCSD or the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Nominee must be a US citizen or permanent resident. 

Financial Aid

Graduate students who are U.S. citizens (and certain noncitizens) may be eligible for financial aid in the form of personal loans in addition to their UCSD-provided support. Visit UCSD's financial aid site to learn about types of financial aid and financial aid packaging policy for graduate students.

Extramural Awards

Applicants may want to search for privately funded scholarships, grants or fellowships to help defray the costs of their graduate program. Examples:

Point Foundation scholarships for LGBTQ students

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Speculative Literature Foundation

See How to Find Free Money for Grad School (USA Today) for search tips. International students should look for similar resources in their home countries.

Note: When a student is admitted with an extramural award and/or contract that funds their tuition and fees, the funds from that primary source of support are used first. Any subsequent award/tuition and fee remission made from university funds are used only in the case of a shortfall in the primary source of support.

Veteran's Benefits

Financial aid for veterans and their families is coordinated by the Financial Aid Office. Refer to Financial Aid Office / About Veteran Benefits for information.


A student who does not want to teach may fund their program using their personal resources. The student will petition to substitute seminar units for the teaching apprenticeship credit required for the MFA degree.

Travel Grants

MFA students who have been invited to present a paper at a conference may want to apply for a travel grant from one of these sources.

Graduate Student Association Travel Grants

Dean of Arts and Humanities Travel Fund


Summer Teaching Opportunities

There are a limited number of teaching positions on campus during the summer. Below are two of the best opportunities for MFA students.

Writing Programs

MFA students who are employed as TAs for one of UCSD's college writing programs during the academic year may be invited by their program to apply for a limited number of summer positions.

Academic Connections

MFA students can propose to design and teach a course for Academic Connections, a campus-based program that introduces high school students to the college experience. Academic Connections accepts course proposals during the fall for courses to be taught the following summer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I obtain a TAship if I don't have teaching experience?

UCSD's college writing programs hire graduate students who don't have teaching experience. The MFA Program provides guidance on where to apply, how to apply, and how to prepare application materials.

MFA Admission 2021

Application Period
9/9/2020 - 1/6/2021

Decision Notifications
February - March 2021

Program Begins
Fall 2021

[ Admission Overview ]

Director of MFA Program
Lily Hoang

MFA Program Advising
(858) 534-8849

Accepting Applications:
Apply Online!
9/9/2020 - 1/6/2021 (for Fall 2021 admissions)