Graduate Handbook: Financial Aid
|GRA & GTA||Writing & Presentation Assistance||Ph.D. Teach Intern Program|
|Continuation of Financial Aid||Other Financial Aid Sources||Outside Employment|
|Fellowships||Graduate Co-Op Program||Outside Employment/International|
A timetable of actions for those who receive financial aid is presented below. You bear the responsibility to see that all the necessary forms are submitted and approved by the appropriate deadlines.
Must be a full-time student. Continuing students should register during Phase I registration. GRA/GTA's must have 12 credit hours on a letter-grade basis or thesis/dissertation hours on a pass/fail basis.
Woodruff School Semester Support Form
Must be submitted on an Electronic Semester Support Form. The semester before support is needed an e-mail reminder will be sent to all currently enrolled students and all students who are already receiving some type of financial support.
Three types of financial aid are available to qualified graduate students:
- Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA's) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA's);
- Full Fellowships;
These students are granted out-of-state tuition waivers as required. GRA's, GTA's, and most fellowships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and performance and not on the basis of need. If you have a demonstrated need, you may apply to the Georgia Tech Financial Aid Office under the work-study program or for student loans. See
Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Assistantships are forms of employment and involve a responsibility to perform to the satisfaction of the supervisor. A one-third time assistantship requires an average of fourteen hours per week be devoted to the assigned activities during the semester, including finals week. Successful and timely completion of an M.S. thesis or a Ph.D. dissertation generally requires that you spend significantly more than fourteen hours per week on thesis research.
Many students are offered some form of financial aid upon admission to the graduate program. This aid is promised for a specific period of time, usually for a one-year period. In general, students making good academic progress continue to receive support.
While studying at the Woodruff School, we expect you to be supported by externally-supported graduate research assistantships or fellowships. The Woodruff School does not use GTA assignments for long-term support. The following priorities are used for assigning GTA support:
- Ph.D. students who have passed the qualifying exam and presented their Ph.D. proposal;
- Ph.D. students who have passed the qualifying exam;
- Ph.D. students
- M.S. thesis students
- Non-thesis master's students generally are not given GTA support.
Regardless of student priority, legitimate GTA requests from untenured junior faculty (assistant professors) shall be given priority over those from tenured associate and full professors. GTA requests from Professors with Chairs or Endowments shall be given the lowest priority. It is expected that they use their discretionary funds in lieu of School resources.
Any student for whom the Woodruff School has made a financial commitment takes precedence over the priorities listed above, regardless of the student or faculty status.
A GTA position is not a replacement for a GRA position. GTAs provide a critical teaching component to our School mission. GTA time commitment and responsibilities are substantial and these students are crucial in maintaining quality lab/design/course educational support. At the discretion of the School administration, students with veteran GTA experience in a course may be placed in GTA positions regardless of the student or faculty priority system outlined above.
Students are assigned as GTA's for a period of about one year. In the case of the lead GTA in a course or for critical lab GTA positions, students may be assigned for a period of about two years. This additional time is provided for continuity and overlap with a suitable successor, and for training incoming GTAs. Faculty members teaching a course also provide training. As a general practice, GTA's do not serve as primary instructors. In addition, the Director of Instructional Laboratories works closely with GTA's to assess, develop, maintain, and operate the laboratory courses in which they are assigned. In general, a graduate student will not be supported as a GTA if they have been in the Ph.D. program more than three years beyond the award of their M.S. degree, or more than five years beyond the award of their B.S. degree, not counting any periods of full-time, external employment.
If you are a new student and want GRA support, you should visit faculty members in your area of interest to ascertain if such support is available. Don't be shy about making faculty members aware of your special qualifications. Also, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) employs several Woodruff School graduate students as graduate research assistants. New positions become available throughout the year as new research contracts are awarded. Contact Mr. Todd Phillips at (404) 407-7020 about these opportunities.
Continuation of Financial Aid
Continuation of financial aid is contingent upon adequate academic progress and the availability of funds. Adequate progress is demonstrated if it appears that the proposed master's program can be completed within one to two years of full-time study or the proposed Ph.D. program can be completed within three to four years beyond the master's degree. A grade point average of at least 3.0 for M.S. students or 3.3 for Ph.D. students is required for the continuation of financial aid. For the doctoral student, performance on the qualifying exam and the oral presentation of the proposed thesis topic as well as conference and journal publications of research are also important indicators of progress. Continuation of financial aid for international students is also contingent upon maintaining a current Visa.
To continue receiving financial support and to request it if not initially awarded, apply on an electronic Woodruff School Semester Support Form. A link to the electronic form will be sent to you in advance of the semester(s) in which you desire support and is located at
Woodruff School graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for competitive national fellowships. View
for a complete list of fellowships.
In addition, the University of Illinois maintains a web site on graduate fellowships through the IRIS database. You may search IRIS from any computer at Georgia Tech. See
Writing and Presentation Assistance
The Woodruff School provides writing and presentation assistance for graduate students through the Frank K. Webb Program in Professional Communication, coordinated by Dr. Jeffrey Donnell (Ph.D. in English, Emory University). Dr. Donnell is available to review technical manuscripts, to help you prepare and rehearse technical presentations, and help you prepare graduate fellowship applications. Contact Dr. Donnell at email or go to MRDC, Room 3104.
Other Financial Aid Sources
U. S. (Stafford) and State Government loans are available to American citizens and permanent residents only; they require advance planning. For more information, view
A variety of privately funded loan programs are available to international students. Please see:
Graduate Cooperative Program
The Graduate Cooperative Program provides an excellent opportunity for Georgia Tech students to finance their graduate studies. Students participating in this program work at least two terms in industry in a professional capacity before receiving the master's (or Ph.D.) degree. The program is flexible with regard to the timing of the work semesters, the rate and method of payment, and the amount of academic credit (thesis or special problem) that can be received for activities during work semesters. These matters are arranged between the student and the employer. Application for the Graduate Cooperative Program is made through
Woodruff School Doctoral Teaching Intern Program
The Doctoral Teaching Intern Program is intended to give doctoral students who plan to pursue an academic career some experience in conducting a typical undergraduate class in mechanical engineering under the mentorship of a faculty member who is a well-regarded classroom teacher. It is the intention of the Woodruff School to help those doctoral students to get the best possible background to help them perform well in their professional endeavors. This internship is highly selective and will be limited to one or two per year and will be contingent upon the availability of funding. A student can only serve as a Woodruff School Doctoral Teaching Intern once.
Description of Activities The Woodruff School doctoral teaching intern will assist a regular faculty member in conducting a typical, required undergraduate course in the School of Mechanical Engineering. The professor-in-charge will be one who is an excellent classroom teacher. The intern is expected to work with the faculty member on all facets of conducting a class - reviewing the syllabus and assignments that are given, presenting up to one-third of the class lectures in the presence of the faculty member so that the faculty member can critique the intern, and assisting the instructor in making up and grading homework assignments and examinations, including the final examination. The intern will also work hand-in-hand with the faculty member in establishing the final course grades for the students in the class. With rare exception, the intern will not be assigned to teach the class under the mentorship of his/her thesis advisor. The intent of this program is to give the interns a broadened experience of working with various faculty members.
Application An application form is available online. Woodruff School Ph.D. students who have passed the qualifying exams and presented a Ph.D. thesis proposal are eligible each semester to apply and compete to become a teaching intern. The application requires the endorsement of your thesis advisor, as well as the instructor under which you will work. The final selection of the intern will be made by the Chair of the Woodruff School.
Finances The intern will be supported with a stipend equivalent to the standard doctoral student GRA stipend current in the Woodruff School for someone at the student's level in the graduate program. The funds will come from the Woodruff Endowment.
Outside employment for Woodruff School students (with financial aid) is prohibited except for those who have received permission from the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies. This rule applies to all full-time students (GRA's, GTA's, and fellowship holders). A request to engage in outside employment should be submitted on the Outside Employment Request for Woodruff Graduate Students. Have your advisor approve your employment by signing the form. As a rule, the work should be of a professional nature, and must not exceed eight hours per week.
Outside Employment for International Students
If you hold an F-1 or J-1 visa and seek outside employment, contact the Office of International Education at (404) 894-7475. The rules and regulations governing the employment of students on visas may be found at