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Financial Support

Updated September 2023

Upon admission to UCSD, each PhD student is provided a financial support letter from the department. This letter details the guaranteed support the department is able to offer for the duration of the program. Beyond that, students may apply for additional support opportunities, based on availability and eligibility. 

The department may have support opportunities available in the form of Teaching Assistant (TA) positions, Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions, Associate Instructor (AI), and/or non-employment financial awards. Support opportunities depend upon the funds available, the number of positions available, the number of eligible students, and other various factors. While each support opportunity may have unique eligibility requirements, all support (including any tuition and fees) requires students to remain in good academic standing. If students have questions about eligibility, they should contact the Graduate Coordinator. 

Note: Students are only eligible to receive support from the Literature Department during their six years of Normative Time, however they may continue to receive support from other campus departments up until their Support Time Limit (assuming they continue to meet all eligibility requirements).

Summer Support

Generally, the department does not guarantee any form of support during the summer months, but students should refer to their specific financial support letter from admissions and contact the Graduate Coordinator if they have any questions. Students are responsible for planning for their own summer financial needs. Students may apply to available employment opportunities across campus, including TA positions, GSR positions, and Associate Instructor positions (teaching their own course).

Refer to the "Graduate Student Researchers (GSR)" and "Associate Instructors (AI)" sections below for details about potential summer employment positions within the Literature Department.

Tuition & Fees

All UCSD graduate students are charged the general tuition and fees each quarter. For international students and non-California residents, also refer to the "Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition" section below.  These general fees can vary slightly year-to-year, and students can view the detailed breakdown for specific years on the TritonLink website: Registration Fees (  Several types of support will cover the cost of tuition and fees.  In those cases, the fees students must pay will be reduced significantly:

  • Employment: Teaching Assistant, Reader, Associate Instructor, and Graduate Student Researcher positions of 25% time or greater for a quarter will cover all the general tuition & fees cost for that quarter (except for the one-time document fee and one-time Visa processing fee for newly admitted students).
  • Non-Employment Financial Awards: Varies by financial award. Students should refer to the details of a specific award to see what tuition and fees it may cover.

Students should refer to the Enrollment & Registration Calendar for the fee payment deadline each quarter: Enrolling in Classes (  Tuition & fee payments from employment positions will post approximately ten days before the fee payment deadline.  Students may access their bill online (Billing & Payment (, and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure all tuition & fees are paid by the fee payment deadline (to avoid late fees and possible dropped enrollment).  Students should check their bill online in advance of the fee payment deadline, and they should reach out to the Graduate Coordinator if they do not see an expected tuition & fees payment posted.

Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition

Non-California residents are required to pay Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition each quarter, which is charged in addition to the general tuition and fees that all students pay (see the TritonLink page for the full breakdown: Registration Fees ( 

  • For domestic non-California residents, the department covers the cost of Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition for the first year in the program. These students must establish California residency after their first year at UCSD.  If a student fails to establish (or elects not to establish) California residency after the first year, the student will be responsible for paying the Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition going forward.
  • For international students, the Department covers the cost of Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition for the first ten quarters of enrollment (or through the quarter of advancement to candidacy, if that happens before the tenth quarter).  If an international student fails to advance to candidacy within the first ten quarters (and received an extension to their Pre-Candidacy Time Limit, in order to continue in the program), the student will be responsible for paying the Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition for each of the additional pre-candidacy quarters. After the student advances to candidacy, GEPA waives the Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition for the next nine consecutive quarters (regardless of leaves or other absences).  If an international student fails to defend their dissertation within those nine quarters, the student will be responsible for paying the Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition each subsequent quarter.

Tax Information

Employment salaries and most non-employment financial awards are taxable. For additional tax information, refer to the following pages:


Financial Aid & Emergency Support Needs

Students may also apply for various types of financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans, etc.) through the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (  

If students encounter a short-term, emergency need for funds, housing, and/or food, there are a number of resources on campus to support them:


The IADMS (Instructional Assistant Data Management System), also referred to as the "IA System", is used for most of the applications for teaching assistant, researcher, and other student employment positions. The department may receive email advertisements for new positions that have been posted, and those will be shared with the students via the department listserv. At any time, students may also check the list of all currently open positions on the IA System website:

PhD students employed by UCSD have access to their employment information (pay stubs, direct deposit, employment verifications, W-2s, etc.) through the UCPath Online Self-Service Portal ( Students are responsible for ensuring that their contact information and personal details are kept up-to-date within UCPath.

During the academic year, students may hold on-campus appointment(s) for a total of 50% time maximum. Anything above that must be petitioned as an exception and only up to 75% time maximum. No first-year students will be considered for over-50% exceptions. International students may not be employed over 50% during the academic year under any circumstances. During the summer months, students (including international student) may hold on-campus appointment(s) for a total of 100% time maximum.

Students can find additional information (salary rates, policies, links to opportunities) on the GEPA website: Employment (

Teaching Assistants (TA)

The department considers apprentice teaching an integral part of professional training for a PhD degree in Literature. Every doctoral student is required to be a 50% Teaching Assistant (TA) for at least three academic quarters, although most PhD students will serve as TAs for the majority of their time in the program. Duties of a TA usually include attending the lectures for the course, reading and grading papers and examinations, meeting with the supervising professor to discuss the progress of the course, conducting discussion sections, and holding office hours.

Supervising professors write formal teaching evaluations for each TA who works with them, and the undergraduate students enrolled in the course will complete online evaluations of their assigned TA. PhD students may access completed teaching evaluations by logging in with their Single Sign-On or Student PID/PAC: (be sure to select “Student SSO” as the “Sign on with:” option). If students cannot access their evaluations for any reason, they should contact the Student Affairs Manager for assistance.

TAs are expected to take very seriously their responsibilities to their students. Poor teaching evaluation ratings may result in difficulty securing future appointments. 

Students who are not native English speakers may be required to pass an English Language Certification Exam before they can serve as TAs for courses conducted in English. Courses designed to enhance English language skills are available to assist students in passing the exam so that they may TA. Refer to the English Language Certification Exam website for full details: Courses and Programs for International Students | UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies (

Full-time doctoral students in good standing are eligible for 50% TA positions on campus, as long as they are within their Support Time Limit (and their Normative Time Limit for appointments within the Literature Department). However, the maximum number of quarters a student may hold TA appointments is eighteen. Appointments during Summer Session do not count towards this total. This is a strictly enforced UC policy, and quarters spent as a TA in a previous graduate programs (within the UC-system) are included in this total. 

Entering PhD students and students early in their courses of study generally find employment in the Literature Department, in one of the campus' College Writing Programs, or in language courses taught by various campus departments. Most programs that hire TAs will offer some form of pedagogical training. 

Some students will find employment as TAs in other campus departments/programs (i.e., Critical Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, etc.), however, there are significantly less of these positions available than positions in the College Writing Programs. Many TA positions are filled each Spring Quarter, and students will be sent application instructions via the department listserv. 

Graduate Student Researchers (GSR)

A GSR is a registered graduate student who performs research under the direction of a faculty member. The Literature Department does not generally have GSR appointments during the academic year, but faculty are sometimes able to apply for funds to hire GSRs during the summer.  If/when there are calls for applications, the department will forward the information to the listserv.  Otherwise, individual faculty may propose an appointment for a specific student, based on their knowledge of the students qualifications to assist them with their research/project.  Students should inquire directly with their faculty advisors about potential positions, with the understanding that the possibility depends on individual faculty's availability, needs for research support, and funding requests.

The duties of GSRs vary significantly position-to-position, and faculty will need to consult with the faculty supervisor of the particular position for a description of the overall duties.

Associate Instructors (AI)

Each Fall Quarter, the Literature Department sends out a call for course proposals from potential Associate Instructor for the following summer. Any students who meet the unique requirements (as outlined in the call) may submit a proposal. Not all proposals may be granted, as the number of course offerings is determined by the Summer Session office and may be limited. If approved, Associate Instructors will be the sole instructor of their course, while being supervised and supported by a faculty mentor.

Within the course proposal application, students will also have the opportunity to request to be considered for the Summer Graduate Teaching Scholars Program. SGTS is a supplemental (optional) program for summer Associate-Ins. It has its own unique eligibility and participation requirements, and it provides additional training/support and a stipend (on top of the Associate Instructor salary). Typically, the program gives priority to students who will be Associate Instructors for the first time.

In rare circumstances, the department may have a need for an Associate Instructor to teach a course during the academic year.

Readers & Other Employment

Reader Positions

Departments across campus sometimes hire Readers to assist professors by grading papers and examinations. Their workload is prorated according to the enrollment of the courses. Readers are paid an hourly rate for their work, and and it may be a good supplemental position to a separate primary form of support (TA, GSR, non-employment financial award, etc.).

Most Reader positions will be posted to the IA System, and students may apply there. If a department sends out an email call for applications, the department will forward the information to students via the listserv. Students should also refer to the full list of available positions posted on the IA System Open Positions page (

Other Employment

Beyond the classroom, there are many other employment opportunities available for graduate and professional students. The department regularly receives requests for tutors, editors, writers, translators, and other various positions across campus (and off-campus). Announcements of this type will be forwarded to students via the listserv. Students can also browse options that are posted on the Career Center's Handshake System. These positions will not typically include any tuition & fee coverage (unlike the more common positions mentioned above), so students should plan accordingly. These other types of positions may be good supplemental positions to a separate primary form of support (TA, GSR, non-employment financial award, etc.).

Union Information

Students working as ASEs (Teaching Assistants, Readers, and Associate Instructors) and GSRs are covered by collective bargaining agreements between the University and the UAW. Their names and department addresses will be released to the UAW each term that they are employed in the bargaining unit. The contracts can be retrieved electronically at: Bargaining Units & Contracts | UCnet (

Students hired into ASE positions or GSR positions for the first time at UCSD will be required to attend a UAW orientation during their first quarter of employment, and they are welcome to attend again in a future quarters (if they'd like a refresher). Any questions about the contract can be directed to the UAW directly (

Any questions about the process to receive a specific benefit of the contract (e.g. childcare reimbursement, paid medical leave, disability accommodations, etc.) can be directed to the Graduate Coordinator.

Non-Employment Financial Support

Most of the non-employment financial awards (sometimes referred to as "fellowships" or "stipends") received by Literature students are funds provided solely for the student to pursue their studies in the PhD Program. This may be in the form of a one-time award (based on funds available), which would be in-addition to the primary source of funding (typically a TA position). It may be also be in the form of reimbursement for certain travel costs for attending a conference or conducting research outside of the UC-system and outside of San Diego. In limited instances, it may also come as the primary source of support for a given quarter or year, so the student can focus on their academic progress without being employed on campus. In the vast majority of these instances, the funds do not come with any expectation of services to the university. Thus, they are not covered by either of the union contracts (for ASEs and GSRs). Students with their sole source of support being a non-employment financial award (with no expectation of service to the university) are only students during the applicable timeframe, not employees. Thus, the benefits and accommodations available to the student are only those afforded to all students based on their enrollment in classes. As is the case for all forms of financial support, students must maintain good academic standing and eligibility. 

Non-Employment Financial Awards

Students are encouraged to apply for relevant awards/fellowships through the University and through other granting institutions. 

A number of fellowships (both UC-based and extramural) are available annually. Information about these fellowships is available from GEPA. The GEPA website ( lists a wide variety of information about UCSD and UC need-based and merit-based financial assistance, as well as numerous extramural fellowship opportunities. These sites are regularly updated. Please contact GEPA for information on extramural fellowships at 534-3555.

There is also a list of funding opportunities for graduate students posted on the School of Arts & Humanities website ( Information about extramural fellowships and awards is also available in the reference section of the Central University Library under Contracts and Grants.

For a useful listing of Literature- and language-related extramural fellowships, see the September issue of PMLA.

A wide variety of local (system-wide and UCSD) awards are available from various agencies, departments, and programs.  Enrolled graduate students receive regular notification about available fellowships from the department and from GEPA through the department listserv.

Literature Department Year-Long Dissertation Awards: Depending on availability of funds, the department annually awards year-long dissertation fellowships that include non-employment financial award funds and coverage of the tuition/fees.  Students who receive these awards must have passed their qualifying examinations and begun substantial work on their dissertation research and writing. These awards are available subject to funding and are awarded competitively. Calls for applications are circulated annually during the Spring Quarter through the department listserv.

When funds are available, the department may also provide students one-time non-employment financial awards. These awards are not guaranteed in any particular year, so students should not plan on these funds. Students may also receive one-time non-employment financial awards from other departments on campus, and the specifics of each award (amount, payout schedule, unique eligibility requirements beyond good academic standing, etc.) will vary.

Post-doctoral support: The sources listed above also offer information about post-doctoral support. 

PhD Program Travel Funds

The Department of Literature administers and allocates funds for graduate students’ travel for research and/or presentations at conferences. Each student may apply for up to a maximum of $2,000 total in cost reimbursements. These funds are available to students who are currently enrolled in the program, in good academic standing, and within their normative time. For PhD, normative time to degree is six years. A completed application (online form found on the "Forms" page) must be submitted at least two weeks prior to each trip. If students have any questions about the application and/or proper use of funds, they should consult the Director of Doctoral Studies before submitting the application.

The funds can be used to reimburse the cost of:

  • City-to-city transportation (airfare, train, mileage reimbursement if you drive your own vehicle)
  • Specific ground transportation for minor travel needs (home-to-airport, airport-to-hotel, hotel-to-conference, etc.). This must be a formal type of ground transportation with receipts (taxi, airport shuttle, Uber, Lyft, subway).
  • Formal lodging (hotel only)
  • Conference registration fees

Funds cannot be used for informal lodging (room rental, hostel, vacation rental, etc.), rental car, food or supplies.

Within the application, you must attach:

  • Clear, itemized receipts (showing the total cost and your method of payment) for all reimbursements you are requesting. Reimbursements can only be processed if the costs were paid for out-of-pocket (not with credits, gift cards, airline miles, etc.).  For ground transportation, it is the student’s responsibility to turn in all final receipts to the Financial Manager within seven days of the end of the trip. Failure to submit the receipts on time may result in a lack of reimbursement (due to campus policy and processing guidelines).
  • For airfare, we also need a copy of your flight itinerary.
  • If you drove your own vehicle and are getting a mileage reimbursement (based on a university-set rate), we need your starting address and the address of the conference location.
  • For travel to present at a conference, you also need to attach the letter of acceptance from the conference organizer, including the title of your panel and presentation and officially inviting you to present your work (or a copy of the conference agenda/schedule, showing your name and UCSD affiliation).


  • You must apply for reimbursement (and be approved) prior to your trip. The online application form (including all necessary attachments) should be filled out at least two weeks before your trip.
  • Funds are to be used during normative time only; no funding after the 6th year will be approved.
  • Funds must be used for conference or research travel only and cannot be combined with any other activity (vacation, for example). You must travel immediately before and return to UCSD immediately after the conference/research to qualify for the reimbursement.
  • Graduate student institutes may count as conferences for travel reimbursement purposes if and only if they include student presentation of their own work and a formal Q&A or feedback component.
  • For ground transportation costs, you will estimate your costs and request the amount you plan to need. The amount you enter, once approved, will be the maximum amount reimbursed once receipts are submitted (after the travel is complete). If the total of the receipts is less than the original estimate, only the total of the receipts will be reimbursed.
  • Funds are available in the form of reimbursement after travel has been completed; no advance funds are available.
  • Reimbursement may be denied if the type of travel or lodging chosen is not seen as an economical choice (from the options available).  

Funds are also available for travel to other University of California campuses to conduct research, which are not counted towards the $2,000 limit above. Students can apply for these funds (up to $250 per trip) by completing the UC Intercampus Travel Funds application (see the “Forms” page of the website). 

Other Research & Travel Funds

Students may also apply for funds from outside the department, and some of these funds may be able to be applied to additional travel costs not traditionally covered by the department funds. The two most common examples of these funding sources are the Dean of Arts and Humanities Travel Fund ( and the GPSA Travel Grants ( Some funding sources from outside the department (including the Dean’s Travel Fund and GPSA Travel Grants) will send the awarded funds to the department for processing. The Graduate Coordinator will contact the students to collect the applicable paperwork and receipts.