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MFA Financial Support

Updated October 2023

All applicants who are admitted to the MFA Program (in FA21 and beyond) will be guaranteed three years of financial support, including coverage of most of the tuition/fee costs.  The support may come in the form of guaranteed TA positions on campus, other forms of campus employment, non-employment financial awards, or any combination of the three.  The most common form of support is a 50% TA appointment on campus, and the current nine-month salary of a first-time TA with a 50% appointment is $29,125.00.  As the actual financial support package for each admitted student may vary, applicants should refer to the financial support package letter that they receive upon being admitted.

Financial support (including employment as a TA, fellowship, and tuition payments) is contingent upon fulltime registration (12 units/quarter), satisfactory progress toward degree completion, campus time limits, and remaining in good academic standing.

As many financial support packages will include a guaranteed TA position for one or more years, please note the following policies regarding this guarantee:

  • Students are responsible for submitting on-time and complete applications to as many open TA positions as possible (for which they are qualified).  Students should absolutely apply to the College 
  • Students are responsible for accepting the first year-long 50% TA position offer they receive. 
  • International students must meet the English language certification requirement for teaching assistants.

Above a beyond the salary/stipend amounts paid directly to the student, the financial support guarantee includes most of the tuition and fee costs charged to student each quarter.  This includes the base tuition charge (currently $4,088 per quarter), the Student Services Fee (currently $402 per quarter), the Health Insurance premium (currently $1,470 per quarter), and most of the remaining campus fees (currently $355.12 per quarter).  The fees that are left for the student to pay themselves is the one-time $100 document fee charged to newly admitted students and the UCGPC Systemwide Fee (currently $7 for the year, with students able to "opt out" if they wish).

Non-Residents will also be charged Nonresident Supplemental Tuition in the amount of $5,034 each quarter. Our department supports these students by paying this Nonresident Supplemental Tuition for their first year in the program (totaling approximately $15,102).  Prior to the start of the second year, it is expected that these students will apply for California residency for tuition purposes.  Once they have this residency status, they will not be charged Nonresident Supplemental Tuition.  Should they choose not to file for residency, they will be required to pay the cost of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition after the first year.

International students will also be charged Nonresident Supplemental Tuition in the amount of approximately $5,034 each quarter. Our department supports these students by paying this Nonresident Supplemental Tuition for their first three years of enrollment (or through the quarter of graduation, if that happens before the end of the third year).  If international students choose to remain enrolled in the program beyond the third year, they will be required to pay the cost of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition after the third year.   

Other Funding

UCSD Fellowships

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

Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS)

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 in a particular year (and chooses to forfeit their guaranteed position, as provided in their support package) may fund their program using their personal resources. A student who wishes to refrain from teaching for all three years will need to petition the department 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.

MFA in Writing Program Travel Funds

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.