PhD Financial Support

Financial assistance for graduate study in Physics and Astronomy is available in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantship, University fellowships, external fellowships, or a combination of these sources. All our Ph.D. students in good standing are fully supported through these means for the entire duration of their graduate work.

Teaching Assistants are appointed to assist in teaching undergraduate instructional laboratories. Teaching assistantships are awarded on the basis of departmental needs and the applicant's experience and academic record. These appointments carry a 9-month stipend plus full tuition remission for up to 12 units (4 graduate courses) per semester plus 12 units during the Summer session. Although most of the Teaching Assistants are involved in teaching undergraduate labs, some are engaged in a combination of teaching laboratories and grading, and a few assist only with grading of examinations and homework.

Research Assistants are appointed to assist in sponsored research projects, funding for which comes from government and foundation contracts or grants. Normally a graduate research assistant is employed on a part-time basis during the regular academic year while enrolled in the graduate program and on a full- or part-time basis during the summer months. The compensation for a research assistantship is approximately the same as that for a teaching assistantship and includes stipend and tuition. Decisions with regard to research assistantship awards are made by individual faculty members in charge of sponsored research programs.

Fellowships and Awards

The department has funds available for a small number of fellowships. Based on the decision of the Department Admission Committee, full Fellowships or supplements to an Assistantship may be offered.

In addition, some fellowships and awards offered through The Graduate School include:

  • Women in Science and Engineering
  • Chen Fellowship
  • John Stauffer Student Fellowship

Nominations for these awards are made by the department.

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • University of Southern California
  • 825 Bloom Walk
  • ACB 439
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0484