Graduate Funding

Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships

Graduate students in the School of Art + Design typically receive funding packages that may include funds drawn from differing sources with distinct requirements. These sources include Graduate Assistantships and Graduate Fellowships.

All of our funding packages come with a monthly stipend, a full (out-of-state) tuition waiver, and a partial campus fee waiver. This waiver package by itself has an estimated value of $29,000. The partial campus fee waiver covers the service fee, health service fee, AFMFA fee, library fee, and basic dental and vision coverage and a partial payment of the graduate student health insurance fee per semester. The remaining student fee responsibility amounts to around $500 per semester.

Funding decisions and assistantship assignments are made on a semester-by-semester basis. Students in good standing who are making clear progress toward completion of their degree can assume their funding will continue for the normal duration of time to degree. Normal time to degree varies by program as follows: 

  • MFA - 3 years
  • MA in Art History - 2 years
  • MA in Art Education - 2 years
  • EdM - 1.5 years
  • PhD in Art Education - 4 years*
  • PhD in Art History - 4 years*

*This applies to students who enter their program with a completed MA. Normal time to degree for students who complete both the MA and PhD in our Art History or Art Education Program is at least 6 years. Faculty work closely with advanced PhD students to help them secure funding outside of Art + Design resources to support dissertation research and writing.

Our most typical funding package is a Graduate Assistantship. This requires 10 hours per week, or more, of service.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships (Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant [often technical support], and Research Assistant positions) are available to students in good standing. Positions usually are 25% to 33% time. Currently a nine-month 25% graduate appointment offers a stipend that is $8893.98 (before taxes) for the academic year or $988.22 on a monthly basis. The appointment requires 10 hours a week of service. The yearly stipend for a 33% position is $11,740.05 (before taxes), or $1304.45 on a monthly basis, and requires 13.5 hours per week of service. These appointments come with a full tuition waiver and a partial student fee waiver, and service is always required.

International students may have to pass the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) exam in order to be considered for a teaching appointment.

Especially strong students can compete for a number of Graduate Fellowships. These offer stipends with no service requirement.

Graduate Fellowships

Graduate Fellowships are competitive awards granted by the School of Art + Design, by the University of Illinois Graduate College, or through external funds to degree candidates who have demonstrated especially strong academic achievement and outstanding future potential. Fellowship packages include a full tuition waiver, a partial student fee waiver, and a monthly stipend, but service is never required.

During the admissions process the Art + Design graduate committee selects outstanding applications for nomination for several different fellowships. Incoming new MFA students can be nominated for the Art + Design Avery Fellowship, the Petullo Fellowship, or a Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship. In 2016 we created the McLellan Fellowship. All these one-year fellowships are $10,000 and come with full tuition waivers and partial campus fee waivers. Our MFA, MA, and PhD programs all have Block Grant funding, which is specifically designated for graduate recruitment and support. The Art + Design Graduate Committee also determines nominations for the University Graduate College campus-wide competitions for the Illinois Distinguished Fellowship, the Distinguished Graduate Fellowship for the Humanities and Arts, the Graduate College Fellowship, and the Diffenbaugh Fellowship.

Award Competitions Available for Continuing Graduate Students

In addition to Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships, there are funds that our graduate students can apply for to support research and conference travel.

Fall 2019 Grant Opportunities

• Art + Design Graduate Event Travel Award (Fall 2019 competition); deadline 09/17/2019
Up to $500 for travel to an event relevant to the student’s degree. Not necessary to be invited as a speaker/participant.

Graduate College Conference Travel Grant (Fall 2019 competition); college deadline 10/04/2019; departmental deadline 09/27/2019
Up to $350 for travel to an event, relevant to the student’s degree, where the student is an invited speaker/participant.

Graduate College Dissertation Travel Grant (Fall 2019 competition); college deadline 10/08/2019; departmental deadline 10/01/2019
Up to $5000 for PhD students who need to travel as part of their research.

Graduate College Master’s Project Travel Grant (Fall 2019 competition); college deadline 10/08/2019; departmental deadline 10/01/2019
Up to $500 for MFA/MA students who need to travel as part of their final project and/or thesis research.

• Art + Design Graduate Thesis/Dissertation Research Award (Alert: there is only one competition round for the entire academic year); deadline 10/15/2019
Up to $4000 for thesis/dissertation research-related costs (materials/imaging rights/travel).

Spring 2020 Grant Opportunities

• Art + Design Graduate Event Travel Award (Spring 2020 competition); deadline 02/04/2020
Up to $500 for travel to an event relevant to the student’s degree. Not necessary to be invited to an event as a speaker/participant.

Graduate College Conference Travel Grant (Spring 2020 competition); college deadline 02/28/2020; departmental deadline 02/20/2020
Up to $350 for travel to an event, relevant to the student’s degree, where the student is an invited speaker/participant. Art + Design may forward up to three applications to the Graduate College.

Graduate College Dissertation Travel Grant (Spring 2020 competition); college deadline 03/12/2020; departmental deadline 03/05/2020
Up to $5000 for PhD students who need to travel as part of their research. Art + Design may forward up to three applications to the Graduate College.

Graduate College Master’s Project Travel Grant (Spring 2020 competition); college deadline 03/12/2020; departmental deadline 03/05/2020
Up to $500 for MFA/MA students who need to travel as part of their final project and/or thesis research. Art + Design may forward up to three applications to the Graduate College.

Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship (Spring 2020 competition only); college deadline 04/02/2020; departmental deadline 03/20/2020
A one-year stipend of $20,000 for a PhD student to complete the doctoral degree. This package comes with a full tuition waiver and a partial student fee waiver. Art + Design may forward up to two applications to the Graduate College.