Assistantships & Fellowships

student at library

Our department provides a wide range of financial support for graduate students working toward their MA, MS, and PhD degrees,  including teaching and research assistantships and fellowships. Submitting a completed application places you in the pool for funding consideration.



  • Teaching (TA)

    • Between 5 and 10 half-time assistantships are available each year on a competitive basis. Duties involve grading and conducting discussion or lab sessions associated with our major introductory classes.

  • Teaching Associate (TA)

    • Available only to senior graduate students; the student is assigned to teach one of the introductory classes and supervise the teaching assistants.

  • Research (RA)

    • Each year, many of the faculty receive support from the Graduate College Research Board, the National Science Foundation, other federal and state agencies and private foundations. These faculty members admit and/or hire qualified graduate students to assist with their research projects. The number of RA positions available and prior training required vary each year. We recommend that graduate applicants contact their prospective faculty advisor(s) directly to inquire about available research funding and opportunities.

Tuition and Fee Waivers

Teaching or research assistantships of 25-67% typically receive a tuition and partial fee waiver. Students offered fellowships of $5,000 or more per semester receive a tuition and partial fee waiver.



George Beatty Fellowship

Created by the George Beatty trust to honor geography graduate students.

Charles S. Alexander Graduate Fellowship in Geography

Created by the late Professor Charles S. Alexander, who taught in the department from 1953 until his retirement in 1986, to help promote the completion of doctoral dissertations. Funds provided by a bequest from the estate of Professor Alexander and additional contributions from alumni and friends.

Joseph and Marion Russell Fellowship

Created in 1989 to honor the contributions of the Russell's to the department over four decades. Professor Joseph Russell was the first Head of the newly-established Department of Geography in 1945.

Marion G. Russell Fellowship in Geography

Established in 1991 by Joseph A. Russell to honor the memory of his late wife, Marion. Normally given to a continuing student to allow full concentration on coursework and thesis/dissertation completion.

Fred W. and Demetra Foster Fellowships

Up to four fellowships awarded competitively. Created in honor of Emeritus Professor Fred W. Foster and his late wife. Professor Foster taught at Illinois from 1949 to 1977.

Graduate College Fellowships

Provided each year by the Graduate College on a competitive basis.

Other Awards

Several of our graduate students have successfully obtained assistantships from other departments, most notably Urban & Regional Planning, Economics, and Informatics.