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College of Arts & Sciences

Financing Graduate Education at Texas A&M

The department of Oceanography typically offers financial assistance to all admitted MS and PhD students, either in the form research (Graduate Assistant Research - GAR) or teaching Assistantships (Graduate Assistant Teaching - GAT); all Assistantships include tuition payments. Almost all Research Assistantships are based on offers from faculty members with active research grants. Teaching Assistantships are extended to students on semester-by-semester basis to bridge or extend research funding, and normally require teaching lab sections or grading in large undergraduate courses. All students admitted to the thesis degrees (M.S. in Oceanography and Ph.D. in Oceanography) are considered for support and no separate application is necessary. The Department of Oceanography has an excellent record of maintaining full financial support until graduation for M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students who are making satisfactory academic progress.

To support their research, PhD students also often submit graduate fellowship grant proposals to federal agencies, such as NASA and NSF. Recipients of federal fellowships (e.g. NSF-GRFP) may also qualify for the Texas A&M GREAT ProgramIn addition, some of our graduate students have received highly competitive University-wide graduate merit fellowship and Avilés ’53 and Dr. James Johnson ’67 Fellowship.

Learn more about financial and funding opportunities.

Graduate Assistantships

There are 3 types of Graduate Assistantships available:

  • Graduate Assistant Teaching (GAT): The student will typically work 20 hours per week, teaching labs and grading assignments for an assigned course (instructor).
  • Graduate Assistant Non-Teaching (GANT):The student will typically work 20 hours per week completing various non-teaching duties within the department.
  • Graduate Assistant Research (GAR): The student will work 20 hours per week and report to a particular Principal Investigator (PI) who will generally be the student’s chair, but may be with an outside party. The student will usually work on a research project that could serve as a Thesis/Dissertation project for the student, but that may not always be the case.

Graduate students holding assistantships in Oceanography must be registered for a minimum of nine semester hours during a fall or spring semester, or for six credit hours during the summer. Assistantships terminate upon failure to maintain the minimum enrollment requirement. Students serving in these roles are paid a monthly stipend, eligible for insurance benefits, and their tuition is covered at the in-state rate. In some cases, fees are also covered. The current monthly stipends in Oceanography are:

  • $2,300 for Master’s students and Ph.D. students pre-candidacy
  • $2,500 for Ph.D. students who are admitted to Candidacy.

Benefits for Graduate Student Employees

All students holding graduate assistantships will be offered a range of benefits including health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability and others for you and your eligible dependents. Each of these has an associated cost, but graduate assistants are eligible for the state contribution to help pay for their benefits. This contribution becomes available starting with the first day of the month after 60 days of continuous employment. Because graduate assistants are in a part-time position, they receive half of the monthly state contribution.

Contact graduate advising for more information.

Oceanography Scholarships

Scholarship funds are available for new M.S. and Ph.D. students. Departmental scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis and all accepted M.S. and Ph.D. students are automatically considered; no separate application is necessary.

University Fellowships

The Graduate and Professional School is another funding resource. There are two main fellowships our students receive from the university:

Students are nominated for these awards by their prospective faculty advisor. These fellowships typically have very early deadlines; therefore, applicants who feel they meet the criteria of the fellowship are encouraged to submit all application materials before January 1.

University Grants

Texas Aggie Graduate Grant

This is a need-based grant (need is determined by Student Financial Aid) for graduate students who are Texas residents. Each student may receive up to $1,500 per semester, with a maximum of $3,000 per year. The application is now located on the Scholarships and Financial Aid website.

Learn more about all grants at Texas A&M.

Externally Funded Grants or Fellowships

Graduate students may also apply for a number of externally funded fellowships. These fellowships are not processed or awarded by the Department of Oceanography. Please view the following links for more information about the available fellowships.


Some international students have all or part of their educational expenses paid from a source other than personal and/or family funds or from a Texas A&M assistantship. These students may have made agreements with a sponsor regarding their educational objectives that is the result of an agreement between agencies, governments, organizations (both international and domestic) and/or companies (both public and private). In most cases, these agreements require special coordination and certification by Texas A&M. Students participating in sponsored programs should contact the International Student Services office early in the admissions process.