Assistantships, Financial Aid, and Travel Awards

Assistantships, grant-in-aid, fellowships, scholarships, travel awards & monies are available for graduate students.

2018 Graduate Assistantships are available.

Assistantships and Fellowships

Applicants to the graduate program in plant pathology may compete for graduate research assistantships awarded by the department. A limited number of fellowships, assistantships, enhancements, and traineeships through various competitive research grants are available for outstanding applicants.

Graduate assistantships provide a stipend, tuition remission, and subsidized health insurance. All available assistantships are controlled by individual faculty members who may or may not have an open assistantship to offer at a particular time.

Summer tuition assistance is available through the Graduate School's Summer Tuition Assistance Program (STAP). STAP is designed to provide tuition assistance to graduate students who have had assistantships supported on general or restricted funds or University fellowships for the two preceding semesters, so that they can continue graduate studies during the summer.

Prospective applicants should correspond directly with individual faculty members to inquire about assistantships, and applicants should indicate desire to be considered for assistantships in their statement of purpose letter.

Graduate funding is decentralized and prospective applicants are encouraged to visit The Graduate School Funding page to learn more about funding programs.

To officially apply to the graduate program visit the How to Apply page, or contact Carol Boring.

Taxes Associated with Assistantships and Fellowships

Students should contact a qualified tax consultant regarding tax liability. Information and contacts regarding taxes associated with assistantships and fellowships can be obtained from the following University resources: 

Enhancement and Travel Awards

College of Agricultural Sciences Graduate Student Travel Awards

The College of Agricultural Sciences Graduate Student Travel Awards are available to any registered Graduate Student advised by our faculty (College or Inter-College major). One travel award per degree is allowed. Awards are limited to $300 for domestic travel and $500 for international travel.

Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Graduate Studies Enhancement Grant

Each semester The Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology sends out a call for proposals to Plant Pathology graduate students who are seeking educational experiences outside the department that will enhance their professional development. To this end, the department has funds available to support travel to other universities, laboratories, research centers, field stations and the like for the purpose of participating in research and educational activities.

These grants are intended to help cover expenses associated with opportunities that foster professional growth other than attendance at scientific meetings. Many activities including international travel qualify for these grants provided the applicant can justify how the experience would broaden their background, improve their research skills or enhance job competitiveness. Department awards typically range from $500-$1,000. Students are encouraged to seek additional outside support to enhance proposal evaluation.

Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Graduate Student Travel Grants

Students in Plant Pathology are encouraged to participate in scientific professional society meetings to enhance their professional development, the exchange of scientific knowledge and to increase networking skills.  Plant Pathology graduate students are eligible each year to apply for Graduate Student Travel Grants of up to $500 to supplement travel  to one professional meeting per academic year.  To be eligible, the applicant must be presenting an oral or poster presentation on their thesis research at the meeting.

A Graduate Student Travel Grant Application may be submitted for any disciplinary professional meeting sanctioned by the student’s thesis adviser.  Applications may be submitted any time of the year to the Graduate Program Coordinator in Buckhout Lab.  Applications are evaluated and approved by the department head. 

UOGP Graduate Student Travel Grant

The University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) maintains a fund to support graduate travel related to the presentation of the scholarly work of Penn State graduate students at international conferences or other major professional meetings outside the United States.  The goal is to promote and support global leadership in scholarship and international engagements.

Grant and Scholar Programs

Graduate Student Competitive Grant Program

The College of Agricultural Sciences Graduate Student Competitive Grant Program is sponsored by the College of Agricultural Science’s Office for Research and Graduate Education. This program is a unique opportunity available only to doctoral candidates advised by College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) faculty. The program serves as professional development for all CAS graduate students by providing a $2,000 award for dissertation research conducted by CAS doctoral candidates. Historically, the funding rate for the program is 24-35%.

Penn State Sloan Scholars

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides funding for underrepresented students to pursue doctorates in mathematics, science, and engineering. The Sloan Scholars Program specifically targets African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. All must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Students receiving Sloan Foundation grants may use the money to pay for professional travel, research, equipment, books, and to cover many other needs during their doctoral studies. These funds are in addition to any assistantships and fellowships awarded to a student.


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For more information regarding funding opportunities, please visit the College of Agricultural Sciences Scholarship and Funding Opportunities website.


Assistantship and Financial Aid Forms and Documents