Financial Support

Financial assistance is available to graduate students on a competitive basis and includes tuition, stipend (~$31,000/12 months), and health insurance. Several types of section or university fellowships or assistantships may be available to incoming Ph.D or M.S. students. These include the following:

Section GRAs

Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) awards are based on each student's qualifications and interests. Recipients are expected to make a commitment to research programs in these respective sections. Students typically have considerable freedom to choose a research program within the section offering the GRA, although some constraints may apply at the discretion of the section chairs.

Faculty program GRAs

The faculty member in whose lab the student is conducting research may provide the funding in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA). This type of funding is usually from research grants awarded to the faculty member by a government agency or from private sources. Availability of this type of funding is sometimes difficult to predict in advance.

Teaching assistantships (Current Students only)

Students who serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) receive compensation in the form of stipend, health insurance, and tuition. A number of Teaching Assistantships (TA-ships) are available to graduate students affiliated with SIPS. If you are a continuing graduate student (M.S., M.S./Ph.D., or Ph.D.) in SIPS and you are looking for teaching experience, or if you are looking for financial support,  you can apply to serve as a TA in one of the many courses taught by SIPS. You can also follow this link for more info describing the SIPS TA Application Procedure. For more information please also check out the Frequently Asked Questions about the SIPS TA Management Plan.

SIPS students are also eligible to serve as TAs in the Undergraduate Biology Program. Biology TAs assist in the instruction of Core Introductory Courses in Biology. Teaching in the biology program satisfies the teaching requirement for those fields having a teaching requirement.


The Graduate School of Cornell University offers several fellowships specifically for recruiting outstanding graduate students. These include but are not limited to:

Field-specific fellowships

Cornell Assistantship for Horticulture in Africa (CAHA) provides a doctoral assistantship in the Graduate Field of Horticulture to a student from Sub-Saharan Africa. Successful candidates must already have a Master’s degree, originate from a country in Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, and be of native African ancestry.  Course work will be completed at Cornell University while dissertation research will be conducted primarily in Africa under the supervision of a local thesis advisor. Depending on the nature of the research and associated costs, it may be necessary for the student to secure additional outside funding.  The assistantship will require 15 – 20 hours per week of teaching and/or research responsibilities. Acceptance into the program is contingent on the student’s agreeing to return to Sub-Saharan Africa after completion of the doctoral degree. Deadline for 2016 admission is August 1, 2015. More information and application form.

William Frederick Dreer Scholarship  provides a worthy undergraduate or graduate student, specializing in the Department of Horticulture or Landscape Architecture, with an opportunity to study or engage in directed practice related to the field of floriculture and ornamental horticulture abroad. Scholarship, character, maturity, seriousness of purpose and potential are considered. William F. Dreer was an innovative seeds man from Philadelphia. Read more about the Dreer Scholarship.

External fellowships

All students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships. The Graduate School maintains a comprehensive fellowship database available to Cornell students. Included among these are:

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship: all students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are urged to apply in their first and second years of graduate school.
  • Fulbright Program
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • Governmental scholarships from the native countries of international students

Note that many deadlines for applications are in the autumn, so early inquiries and applications are necessary.  Additional information on funding and taxes can be found through the Cornell Graduate School. To be considered for financial support, students must submit their completed applications to the Graduate School by December 1. 

Whatever the funding source, continuance of graduate scholarships is contingent upon satisfactory performance and progress in each student’s academic coursework, research, and thesis or dissertation completion. Most scholarships also require that graduate students be engaged full time in their research projects during the summer months and inter-semester recess.

University housing for single graduate students is available in residence halls and apartments.  For students accompanied by another adult and/or children, unfurnished or furnished apartments maintained by the university are available.

Private, off-campus housing is also available.  The quality and cost vary widely.  The university maintains a list of vacancies, but it is not practical to negotiate for off-campus accommodations until you arrive in Ithaca.