University of Colorado at Boulder



Funding Opportunities

Departmental financial aid may be available in the form of Teaching and Research Assistantships and University Fellowships. The application deadline for Fellowships and for Teaching and Research Assistantships is December 1 as part of your application.  We assume that all applicants are interested in available departmental funding.

Some students, given adequate Department funding and good performance, may be supported as TAs, GPTIs, RAs, or with Fellowships, or some combination of these awards typically for two years for the M.A. and 3 years for the Ph.D. However, acceptance to graduate study does not imply a promise of financial aid in any form. Those earning an M.A. in the Department and who are allowed to continue in the Department for a PhD may normally be given a maximum of 5 years of support for both degrees.

Teaching Assistantships (TAs and GPTIs)

These are awarded on a competitive basis by the Department. TAs are typically responsible for labs or recitations in large lecture courses; either full or partial awards may be given. The 2016-17 compensation for a full TAship (which is called a 50% TA and works approx. 20 hours per week) is $9536.88 per semester, plus up to 18 semester hours of tuition (a TA must be enrolled for at least 5 credit hours each semester). Graduate Part-Time Instructors (GPTIs) are Ph.D. students who have full course responsibility. The 2016-17 compensation is $11,022.56 per semester (approx. 20 hours of work per week), plus up to 18 semester hours of tuition (a GPTI must be enrolled for at least 5 credit hours each semester). A Ph.D. student may be either a TA or a GPTI. M.A. students are not normally considered eligible by the Graduate School for a GPTI.

Research Assistantships (RAs)

These are available on a competitive basis, depending on grants to faculty members; either full or partial awards may be given. You may speak directly with faculty to find out if they have any RA positions available. The 2016-17 compensation for a full RAship (which is called a 50% RA and works approx. 20 hours per week- usually for 9 months-Sept to May) is approximately $2119.31 per month, plus up to 18 semester hours of tuition (an RA must be enrolled for at least 5 credit hours each semester).

Fellowships & Scholarships.

The Geography Department receives an allocation of funds for Fellowships from the Graduate School. The Department distributes this fellowship money following guidelines from the Graduate School. The department has several graduate scholarships/fellowships available. Students may apply or be nominated for these scholarships/fellowships after they have completed one semester of residency.  Students may contact the Department office for application/nomination procedures.

The Mabel Duncan Memorial Scholarship is for graduate students who qualify for financial aid. Those wishing to apply must fill out a short form in the Geography office and file a FAFSA for with the Financial Aid office.

The James A. and Jeanne B. DeSana Graduate Research Scholarship was started by an endowment from an anonymous donor to help graduate students (MA's and PhD's) with summer research costs.

The Adam Kolff Memorial Research Fellowship is for Master's students to help support research costs.

The Jennifer Dinaburg Memorial Research Fellowship is for PhD students to help support research costs.

The Gilbert F. White Doctoral Fellowship in Geography is for Doctoral students in their last year of dissertation writing.


If you are interested in federal financial aid, please see the following website: 

International students are eligible for the departmental financial aid listed above, but it is usually not enough to cover all of a student’s expenses. International students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

This website might be useful for international students seeking additional financial aid opportunities –

Residency for Tuition Purposes

Students who receive funding from the Department  MUST establish Colorado residency to avoid incurring non-resident tuition which is significantly more expensive than in-state tuition. Tuition rates vary across campus and over time, but for example a graduate student in the Department registering for 6 credit hours in Fall 2014 paid ~$3408 per semester in-state tuition and a non-resident paid ~$9174, not including fees. When the Department offers a one-year or multi-year funding commitment to a graduate student their commitment includes a tuition waiver that is paid in real dollars to the university. Thus it costs the Department 4 to 6 times as much to fund a non-resident graduate TA, and this is why we (and the Graduate School)  insist that incoming graduate students establish state residency as quickly as possible.

Effective Aug 1, 2006, all graduate students (in-state and out-of-state domestic and international) on qualifying appointments (monthly salaried GRA, GPTI, TA and GA positions) will be eligible to receive tuition remission as an employee, which is currently at the resident tuition rate (subject to change). This policy has no impact on a student’s residency status. All domestic non-resident graduate students will need to apply for residency status within the first 12 months of their curriculum. Students who have applied but have not received residency status will be allowed an additional term to achieve residency status.

Students who fail to achieve residency status within 18 months will not be eligible to hold a monthly salaried GRA, GPTI, TA or GA position (per Graduate School rules).  So even if the Geography Department has offered you a multi-year TAship, you will not be able to continue in the job if you have not achieved residency status.

All non-resident students will still be charged non-resident rates on their tuition bill. Employers will be billed tuition remission expenses at the employee rate.

Tuition remission will be calculated based on the percent time of the appointment. Non- resident students who are enrolled in credits exceeding the amount covered by their appointment will be charged tuition at the non-resident rate for those additional credits. Example: a student holds a 25% appointment which covers 5 credit hours but is enrolled in 9 hours. The employer will cover 5 credit hours (at the employee rate) and the student is responsible for the remaining 4 credit hours at the non-resident rate.

Colorado residency is defined by state statute and verified by the University Residency Classification Office. The statute requires that a person be domiciled in Colorado for twelve consecutive months immediately preceding registration for the semester for which in-state status is requested. To be eligible, a person must establish to the University that they are 21 years of age or emancipated from parents and completely self-supporting. The process of establishing domicile to the University requires written documentation including rent or mortgage payments, Colorado income tax returns, a Colorado driver’s license and Colorado voter registration. 

It is important to understand that simply claiming to be a state resident is not sufficient, for tuition purposes. The University determination is both obligatory, and binding, in any given year. First year students must begin the process of establishing residency well in advance of the beginning of classes (i.e. closer to the beginning of August) in order to qualify for resident tuition at the beginning of their second year. Incoming students are encouraged to consult with the Department Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Program Assistant prior to contacting the University Residency Classification Office.

International students are not eligible to establish Colorado residency. 

Please consult the Tuition Classification website for more information about establishing Colorado residency -