Applicants to Ph.D. programs in engineering are considered for assistantships and fellowships provided that they have completed the application for admission and have submitted all supporting documents no later than December 15 of the year preceding the Fall term to which they are applying.

Fellowships are awarded based on exceptional merit and may consist of one of the following:

Provides fellowships to gifted doctoral students in all fields of engineering. The selection process emphasizes superior academic record, demonstrated research experience, and potential for completing the independent, original, scholarly research in his or her chosen field that is expected of every Ph.D. student. Viterbi Dean’s Doctoral Fellows receive a stipend in the first two years. They will hold teaching and/or research assistantships and receive an additional top off stipend in years three and four.
Select Viterbi Ph.D. applicants whose research areas are related to energy sources will be considered. Nominations are solicited from Viterbi academic departments, so no additional application is required. The fellowship provides two years of fellowship support including tuition, health care package, and a stipend for living expenses.
These fellowships include an annual stipend, tuition for full-time enrollment, and some mandatory fees. This includes the Orientation fee, the student programming fee, the student services fee, and Norman H. Topping Student Aid. Lab fees or other fees associated with coursework are not covered by the fellowship. All fellowship awards will be credited directly to the student’s account. Please view the links below for more information.

USC Graduate School Fellowships
USC Graduate School External Fellowships

Fellowship FAQ’s

Fellowships are awarded to students who achieve a high level of academic excellence and allow students to focus full time on their studies.

Fellowships typically include tuition, student health and dental insurance, access to the Engemann Student Health center, and a stipend distributed over the course of the academic year.

Some fellowships also cover mandatory fees such as the Graduate Student Programming fee, Norman Topping Student Aid Fund fee, and the Student Services fee. Lab fees and parking expenses are not covered by fellowships.

All parameters of your fellowship are outlined in your offer letter. We recommend that you review your offer letter carefully and become familiar with the terms of your fellowship.

International fellowship students must Passport Verification (PPV) upon arrival to USC; as well as attend a Viterbi One-Stop session to complete GLACIER paperwork.

Domestic and international fellowship students must be enrolled full-time to receive their fellowship. Full-time enrollment is equivalent to six advisor-approved units or GSRC-800 or 794ABCDZ. We recommend that Ph.D. students register at least two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester, and before the winter recess for the spring semester.

For more information on important dates and deadlines, please visit Ph.D. Important Dates and Deadlines.

Please also visit our  New Student Information website.

26th falls on a weekend or holiday. In which case, the payment will be available the business day prior to the 26th. Stipends are considered late after the 26th of each month. Though you may receive your stipends via direct deposit before the 26th of the month, please note that the stipend schedule does not run through Payment Services on the same day each month, so you will not always receive your stipend on the same day each month.

Most USC fellowships pay August-May.

If you have an external fellowship, your fellowship stipend will be disbursed per the foundation’s guidelines.

We strongly encourage all of our students to sign up for direct deposit to ensure your payment is delivered as soon as it is available.

Domestic Fellowship Students
can have their stipends direct deposited through the Office of Payment Services (formerly called Disbursement Control). Please review set-up instructions for more information. If you do not sign up for direct deposit, your stipends will be mailed to your local address. If you do not have a local address on file and you do not sign up for direct deposit, your stipends will be mailed to your permanent address. Please make sure your local address is up to date in OASIS. You may access OASIS directing by logging into MyUSC

International Fellowship Students will receive their stipends through USC Payroll and can Direct Deposit Instructions for International Students New fellows, please note that GLACIER must be completed and processed before you can access Workday. If you do not sign up for Direct Deposit, your stipend will be a paper check and will be routed to the GAPP Office. You will be notified when it is ready for pick up.

We strongly suggest that fellows contact the IRS directly, and/or consult with a tax professional. While receiving your fellowship, domestic students will not receive a W-2 form (although when you serve as a Teaching or Research Assistant you will receive a W-2).

This link contains information regarding tax treatment of fellowship awards. In addition, please review the IRS 1098-t form. These links are not meant to be a comprehensive list of tax resources or forms that you should consider.

International Students should review the OIS website.

In general, you will receive enough tuition units to cover full-time enrollment during the academic year. Please refer to your fellowship offer letter for specific details. These units are split evenly between the fall, spring and summer semesters. If you wish to exceed the number of units stated in your offer letter, please contact your academic department’s staff graduate advisor for advisement. Requests for additional tuition over the fellowship are reviewed on a case by case basis by the GAPP Office.
In general, fellowships do not pay for audited classes. Some fellowships will only pay for classes that count towards your degree program. If you have questions about whether a particular class will be covered by your fellowship, please email phd@gapp.usc.edu.
Most fellowships do not allow a student to simultaneously serve as an RA or TA while on fellowship. If you wish to accept a RA or TA position, your fellowship may be deferred for that time period. Please review your offer letter for specific terms. Please notify the GAPP Office as soon as possible so that your funding information is accurate. Fellowship deferrments for a particular semester must be approved by the first Friday of that semester.
You may not receive two comprehensive fellowships simultaneously. However, you may be able to defer one fellowship in favor of another. Please contact the GAPP Office for advisement.
No. Fellows are expected to devote full-time to study towards their degree and not to undertake employment or other time consuming commitments during the academic year from the end of August through mid-May.
You may accept a summer internship or a summer RA/TA position. However, if your fellowship pays a stipend over the summer term, you must defer the fellowship. If you are an international student and plan to work off-campus, you must apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Possibly. Please notify the GAPP Office immediately if you are offered additional funding.
If it is after the 26th of the month and you still haven’t received your stipend, or your stipend amount is incorrect, please email Doctoral Programs Coordinator, Tracy Charles, at tcharles@usc.edu. Please include your full name, USC ID# and amount in question. Tracy will work the appropriate department(s) to resolve the issue. As a reminder, students must be enrolled full-time (six advisor-approved units or GSRC-800 or 794ABCDZ) by the recommended registration deadline in order for fellowship stipends to disburse on time.

New international fellows must submit GLACIER paperwork by the recommended deadline for processing by the University in order to be paid on time.

Continuing international students must update GLACIER paperwork if there is a change in status, such as changing from fellowship to an RA/TA.

Please work with your academic department administrator to complete your hiring paperwork. If you have remaining semesters of fellowship, please notify the GAPP Office to defer your fellowship.

International students will need to update GLACIER paperwork to reflect the change in status working as a graduate assistant and receiving wages. If your fellowship also pays a top-off stipend while on RA/TA, please be sure that GLACIER indicates a fellowship stipend as well as wages, or your top-off stipend will not disburse.

Please review this printable chart for additional information on several external fellowships held by our current PhD students. Many external fellowships receive an additonal top-off stipend from the USC Graduate School. Please contact Jennifer Gerson, Director, Doctoral Programs, at jgerson@usc.edu or Tracy Charles, Doctoral Programs Coordinator, at tcharles@usc.edu with any questions.

On-time Payment Instructions for PhD Funding

Graduate Assistantships

Your Research Assistantship (RA) or Teaching Assistant (TA) position will not only give you practical experience in your academic program, it also provides you with a source of income, as well as pays your tuition and health insurance fees.

As a new Research Assistant, you may be required to complete a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training before you can begin your assignment.

To ensure a successful TA experience right from the start, all new TAs must attend a training program. In addition to online resources for new TAs, we offer a one-day training program at the beginning of each semester. It is the responsibility of the TA Coordinator or Graduate Advisor to register new TAs for this program. The training will consist of a day-long session at the Viterbi School of Engineering. You must attend the entire session before you will be allowed to begin your duties in the classroom. Lunch will be provided.

Next TA Training:

Date: Thursday, August 16, 2018

Time: 9:00am-3:00pm

Location: OHE 122

Instructions for On-time Fellowship and Graduate Assistantship payments.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your funding, please contact Tracy Charles (tcharles@usc.edu) or Jennifer Gerson (jgerson@usc.edu) in the GAPP Office.