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Funding for M.S. and Ph.D. Graduate Students

Most graduate students in the Field of Biological and Environmental Engineering receive full funding in one of three forms: graduate research assistantships (GRAs), teaching assistantships (TAs), and internal and external fellowships.  All of these funding sources include a stipend, tuition and fees, and student health insurance. Stipends for the 2019-2020 academic year is $36,291 per year.

Faculty program GRAs

The faculty member in whose lab the student is conducting research may provide the funding in the form of a 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

A limited number of teaching assistantships (TAs) may be available in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering to assist in introductory and upper level undergraduate courses. These assistantships usually are used to augment a Faculty sponsored GRA. 


The Graduate School of Cornell University offers several fellowships specifically for recruiting outstanding graduate students. For example, the Graduate School awards Cornell Fellowships to new students with outstanding academic records, and the State University of New York Fellowship is awarded to underrepresented minorities. In addition, incoming Biological and Environmental Engineering students have been successful in recent years when competing for Presidential Life Science Fellowships, a prestigious award given to a limited number of students annually throughout the university.

External fellowships

All students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships. The Graduate School maintains a comprehensive fellowship database available to Cornell students. In particular, all students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are requested to apply for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in their first and second years of graduate school. 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.