Funding Information for Prospective Graduate Students

Funding is available to CSE graduate students in the form of fellowships, research assistantships (GSRA), and teaching assistantships (GSI).

An exceptionally attractive feature of our program is that students admitted at the PhD level are guaranteed full financial support for their MS/PhD studies, as long as they are making satisfactory progress, meet required milestones, and maintain a research advisor relationship. PhD-bound students are supported during their first year as fellows and/or GSRAs; all students are then supported as GSRAs or GSIs in their second and subsequent years.

Admission at the MS level is not accompanied by financial support, although opportunities do exist. Since availability of GSI positions is by a term-by-term basis, we advise our MS students to be prepared to fund their entire graduate education.

Bridge program

This is an internal fellowship program for students considering going on to the PhD program. You will be notified if you are being considered for the Bridge program.

First-year student support

Fellowships: CSE Fellowships are awarded, based on available funds, to incoming PhD students.  No application beyond what was submitted to Rackham is required.  These fellowships, like the GSI and GSRA positions listed below, provide tuition and fees, monthly stipend for living expenses, and university healthcare and dental coverage. Students are required to identify an area of research and begin work with a faculty member within their first year of study.

Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) and Graduate Student Research Assistant (GRSA): GSI and GSRA positions are filled by both incoming and current graduate students, with the positions primarily being filled by students already in the program. Incoming students are offered GSI and GSRA positions based on their application materials. No additional form is needed. Current students wishing a GSRA position should contact faculty directly. Current students desiring a GSI position must take part in the departmental application process which takes place two times during the academic year. GSIs and GSRAs are usually expected to work 16 to 20 hours a week, receiving full tuition and fees, monthly stipend, and university health care coverage. Students are required to identify an area of research and begin work with a faculty member within their first year of study.

Process for assigning GSI positions in CSE

Online applications are solicited by way of an email announcement sent to students in the EECS Department twice per academic year; in March with a deadline in early April for fall positions and in October with an early November deadline for winter positions.  The online application is available to declared EECS graduate students.  Others should reach out to unit HR.

All CSE guaranteed financial aid (PhD) students are placed first. This has been about 40% of our GSIs in recent terms.  The remaining GSI applicants will be placed as they are identified, with preference being given to CSE students.   Faculty can recommend you (with a simple email to CSE HR), and if there are equally qualified students for an opening, the faculty preference will be considered once we get to the stage of assigning students from the applicant lists.

Generally, you should have taken and done well in the course for which you are applying, either at the University of Michigan or an equivalent course elsewhere, or have demonstrated knowledge of the course content through applied skills with employment or volunteer experience.

The class size policy affecting the workload for the majority of GSI positions varies by course.  Section assignments (discussion or lab) could be from 25 students up to 60 students and support for lecture-only enrollment is based on room capacity.  The level, content and structure of the course impacts the number of students in any one section. Additionally, faculty service or administrative workload, initial offering of a course, signification revision of an existing course and feedback from faculty on how the staffing worked in a prior term can all affect how the workload is distributed.

The course content can affect the ratio; graduate vs undergraduate, project-based, programming, theory, etc.  Changes in the class size are requested by the faculty and approved by the Associate Chair for Academic Affairs with support from the staff authorized to manage the override process. 

Additional information for GSI candidates.

Language (English) Proficiency Requirements. The English Language Institute has developed a procedure for testing the spoken English of prospective GSIs whose undergraduate education was at an institution in which the language of instruction was not English. The evaluation procedure is a performance test that consists of four tasks that assess a candidate’s competence and effectiveness in the type of communication typically used by GSIs at the University of Michigan. The test evaluates proficiency at the high intermediate to advanced level. The tasks and evaluation criteria of the Graduate Student Instructor Oral English Test (GSI OET) also serve as diagnostic tools to identify linguistic strengths and weaknesses. This information is used to recommend or require placement, if needed, into courses offered through the English Language Institute. A rating of 4 is required to be approved for an appointment as a GSI.

Contact CSE Human Resources to learn about a pre-screening interview to determine whether you need to schedule this test prior to any first-time placement as a GSI.

Engineering Graduate Student Instructor Teacher Training Program. All new GSIs in the College of Engineering are required to attend training hosted by the Center for Research Learning and Training Engineering (CRLT-Engineering). The training includes one all day Teacher Training Program along with an Advanced Practice Teaching session. The all-day Teacher Training Program is held the week prior to the start of the term. For the winter term, this can happen as early as January 3rd. Please arrange vacation times accordingly. The Advanced Practice Teaching session takes place approximately two weeks later. Please visit the training details website for additional information.

CSE New GSI Orientation  All new CSE GSI’s are required to attend an orientation presented prior to the start of the term.  This would happen in late August or early January.  Plan your time away carefully.  The session could be held virtually or in-person.

About GSI and GSSA Employment at the University of Michigan

More info about funding

Prospective students can view more information about funding for their graduate studies in CSE below.

Student support information

Incoming PhD students can learn more about what their student support will look like during their first year.

Student support for incoming PhD students >

External fellowships

Students are eligible to be considered for a number of external & industry fellowships.

See information on fellowships >

Additional Resources

Loans and need-based aid

Other University of Michigan fellowship and funding resources