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Funding for Graduate Students

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) are funded by the department and are normally restricted to doctoral students.

These GTAs are normally only offered by the department when a faculty member strongly endorses an incoming student and does not currently have sufficient funds to support the student through their doctoral program.  These are for a limited time to allow the faculty member to secure funding for the student’s doctoral research.

The GTA includes a tuition waiver, monthly stipend and health insurance. Some departmental duties will be assigned for this GTA during the fall and spring semesters during which the student is enrolled. There are a very limited number of GTAs available for students which require them to conduct an undergraduate section of a laboratory course.  These are limited to students with good communication skills and who normally have received their BS from UTK.

Students seeking a GTA should contact Jeffrey Reinbolt. A GTA is not meant to support the student through graduate school, and a GRA (below) should be sought as soon as possible by the graduate student.

Graduate Research Assistantships

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are offered directly by individual faculty from research funds they have obtained. The GRA includes payment of tuition, a monthly stipend and health insurance. A GRA is meant to support the student while performing research required for the degree. Students seeking a GRA should contact faculty with research interests aligned with theirs.

Beginning fall 2022, graduate students on assistantships will no longer pay mandatory fees (library fee, technology fee, etc.) and differential tuition (charges associated with certain colleges). Such fees will now be covered by the university.


Students with a minimum 3.6 GPA in all previous course work are eligible to apply for a Hilton A. Smith Graduate Fellowship and/or a UT Graduate School Fellowship. Information regarding these fellowships is available through the Office of Graduate Admissions.

MABE departmental fellowships are occasionally available to outstanding applicants. No specific application procedure exists for these fellowships. Opportunities also exist for students to apply for fellowships sponsored by their governments, industry, and technical societies.

Southeastern Conference Engineering Deans Graduate Fellow Program

The deans of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) have established the SEC Engineering Deans Graduate Fellow Program. This program provides top-off funds to augment the graduate stipends of selected newly admitted PhD students whose undergraduate engineering or related degrees are from another official SEC university.

The top-off stipend has a value of $5,000 per year for up to five years, based on the recipient’s satisfactory progress toward the completion of a PhD degree. Recipients will be officially recognized as SEC Engineering Deans Graduate Fellows and will be promoted by the participating universities both internally and in external engineering media outlets. Criteria and process for the SEC Engineering Deans Graduate Fellow program include:

  • Applicant must have applied to the SEC school(s) for admission to the PhD program.
  • Applicant must have received an undergraduate engineering or related degree at another official SEC university.
  • Applicants must completely fill out the form located at the URL below. l Completed forms should be sent to the appropriate contact at the college shown on the form.

For more information, visit

Download the application.

Student/Faculty Research Awards

The Student/Faculty Research Awards are awards to be used to advance the work for both faculty and graduate students.

Grants up to $5000 will be awarded to student/faculty pairs who submit proposals for funds to support research or creative projects. The funds may be used to purchase supplies needed for research; for travel to work in other laboratories, libraries, or archives; for specialized training or in a variety of other ways, so long as the outcome will be the professional development of the graduate students and the advancement of an identified research/creative agenda of both the student and faculty member.

Other Sources of Funding

The Office of Research & Engagement’s Faculty Development Team (FDT) has identified many funding opportunities for Graduate Students and Post-Docs.  The opportunities span the academic fields of Science & Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, as well as opportunities in the UT Graduate School. Please click here to view opportunities.

ASME Auxiliary Student Loan Program

ASME logoThe ASME Auxiliary sponsors a Student Loan Program (AASLP).  The terms and conditions for the AASLP have recently been revised to make these loans more widely available to students in need of financial assistance to complete their degree requirements.  Loan repayment terms have been revised to make it easier for students to find employment and to establish their careers or to complete graduate studies before beginning to repay their loans.  Click here for the guidelines and loan application.

The major points of this loan program are:

  • Maximum of loan amount of $5,000 per student
  • Available to ASME members or student members majoring in Mechanical Engineering or a closely related program
  • Loan interest at 4% on the outstanding loan principal
  • Loan interest does not begin accumulating until the first of the month immediately following graduation, change or termination of student status
  • Loan plus accrued interest is to be paid in thirty-six (36) equal consecutive monthly payments commencing within six (6) months after graduation
  • Student must be an ASME Student Member in good standing
  • Student must be enrolled in full-time academic studies in the U.S   and making satisfactory progress in his or her degree program
  • Have a minimum GPA of: 2.20 on a 0 to 4.00 scale (Undergraduate Students)/3.20 on a 0 to 4.00 scale (Graduate Students)
  • Student must have a demonstrated financial need and have a written letter of recommendation from Chair of the Department, the Dean of Engineering, or Faculty Advisor of ASME Student Chapter
  • A onetime graduate education extension may be awarded to qualified students.