Five-Year PhD Funding Guarantee

The Grainger Engineering Ph.D. Commitment

A mission of The Grainger College of Engineering Graduate Programs is to prepare graduates able to meet the nation’s need for advanced technical knowledge, experienced in the methodologies of scientific research or industrial innovation, and equipped with the skills and gumption required to lead society toward advances in infrastructure, health care, food and energy production, security, environmental sustainability, and information technology. 

Our Ph.D. students are vital to this mission. Their creativity fuels an engine of scientific discovery ranked among the best. Their spirit of entrepreneurship extends our impact. It is for them to define the future of our world and for us to give them the tools to succeed. 

Grainger Engineering Ph.D. students in their first five years of enrollment are guaranteed a funded appointment for fall and spring that includes a full tuition waiver, a partial fee waiver, and a stipend. Students are also eligible for summer support. Students must remain in Good Academic Standing (see the Graduate College Handbook, Part I, Chapter 3.2) and successfully perform the duties of their assistantships.

“With this program, we are reaffirming our unwavering commitment to the success of our students,” said Rashid Bashir, Dean of The Grainger College of Engineering. “This funding guarantee gives our Ph.D. students freedom to explore new possibilities and lead the way toward solutions to the world’s toughest engineering challenges.”

Ph.D. students in Grainger Engineering work together with over 450 tenure-track faculty in just about every imaginable specialty. With the resources of the seventh-highest research expenditures for engineering-related studies in the nation, over 60+ centers, labs, and institutes, and the entrepreneurial engine of the university’s Research Park, the opportunities at Grainger Engineering are as limitless as the ambitions of our outstanding students.

Follow this link for more detailed terms.

Explore our PhD Programs 

Grainger Engineering offers research-oriented Ph.D. programs across 12 departments. These programs enable you to interact with leaders of their field, make an impact on science and industry, and explore innovation and discovery across disciplinary boundaries. 


Terms of the Five-Year PhD Funding Guarantee

During your first five years of PhD enrollment, you are guaranteed funding in the form of a tuition-waiver-generating appointment in the Fall and Spring semesters, provided that the following conditions hold:

  • you are in your original degree program of study,
  • you make satisfactory academic progress and maintain Good Academic Standing (see the Graduate College Handbook, Part I, Chapter 3.2), and
  • you perform satisfactorily and meet the obligations of any assistantships that you hold.
In addition, all students whose native language is not English must receive a passing score on the oral English proficiency test (IELTS, TOEFL, or Illinois’ OEAI Exam) by July 1 (for fall matriculation) or December 1 (for spring matriculation).  Failure to obtain a passing score automatically disqualifies students from this guaranteed funding offer until the semester after a passing score has been obtained.
The guaranteed funding will be in the form of some combination of an assistantship (e.g., a research, teaching, or other appointment) and/or a fellowship and will include a full tuition waiver, as well as a partial fee waiver covering service fees, library technology fees, the academic facilities maintenance fund assessment, and health services fees including vision insurance, dental insurance, and partial payment of the health insurance fee. You are responsible for paying other assessed fees. 


Apply for the MERGE Graduate Recruitment Program

Each fall, the MERGE Program provides an opportunity for prospective graduate students with diverse experiences and goals, and who come from many educational, socio-cultural, geographic, and familial backgrounds to explore and consider Grainger Engineering graduate programs. MERGE supports prospective students through pre-application seminars, program-specific connections, and campus visits.

Applications are open now through August 15, 2023. Full eligibility requirements and application forms are available on our website.

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