Finances

Financing Graduate Education at Berkeley

Numerous programs, fellowships, loans, instructorships, research assistantships, subsidized housing and childcare provide ways to earn money while being a student and thereby offset the cost of graduate school.  Some of the programs are merit-based and are administered through the Graduate Division Fellowships Office; others are need-based and are administered through the Financial Aid Office. The academic departments and Organized Research Units (ORUs) administer funds from additional sources.

Graduate Student Instructor (GSI)

Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) (often referred to as "teaching assistants" at other universities) are chosen for their excellence in scholarship and for their promise as a teacher. They serve as a teaching apprentice under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may not serve as a GSI in courses in which they are enrolled, and only graduate students who are advanced to candidacy may serve as a GSI in courses with other graduate students. Students cannot serve as a GSI and a Reader at the same time for the same course. GSIs cannot work more than 50% in a fall or spring semester.

GSI appointments for the fall usually start on August 1 and end December 31. GSI appointments for the spring usually start on January 1 and end on May 31.

Students on F-1 or J-1 visas may not be appointed for more than 49.5% (or 20 hours) total for all of their combined appointments on campus. This includes any and ALL reader, GSI, and GSR appointments.

A GSI Step I requires no previous college teaching experience. GSIs who can demonstrate to have more than 4 semesters of teaching experience, gained after receiving their undergraduate degree, may apply for appointment at a higher level, i.e., GSI Step II.

If the GSI appointment meets certain criteria, a portion of the student's fees will be paid for.  This benefit is called a fee remission. In order to receive a fee remission, the semester appointment must be for 25% or more time. The student must meet the eligibility requirements listed below, and not have any registration blocks. The fee remission does not cover the Berkeley Campus fee or the Class Pass fee. See Registrar's web page for the amount of these fees.

GSI applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Minimum 3.1 GPA
  • No more than 2 Incomplete grades
  • Must not be on probation or in lapsed candidacy status
  • Enrolled in 12 units
  • Registered by the end of the third week of classes

GSI applicants who do not speak English as their native language must fulfill the English language proficiency requirement before starting their appointment. See http://gsi.berkeley.edu  or go directly to the Language Proficiency Program page for instructions and equivalencies. If you need to take the SPEAK test, schedule it through the Language Proficiency Program by contacting langpro@berkeley.edu.  

Graduate students are usually only assigned to perform the duties of a GSI in undergraduate courses. Under exceptional circumstances, a department may propose that a registered graduate student who has been advanced to candidacy at the doctoral level be appointed a GSI for a graduate course. Assignment as a GSI for a graduate course always requires advanced approval by the Graduate Dean, and such GSIs may not assist with the course until that approval has been received.

All first-time GSIs are required to:

  • Attend the conference for new GSIs held the Friday before classes begin.
  • Attend Teaching in the US Classroom the Thursday before classes begin.  Note: International GSIs who anticipate being appointed in the spring semester must attend the international GSI conference in the fall.
  • Successfully complete before interacting with students (in person or online), the online course Professional Standards and Ethics for GSIs. GSIs can enroll in the course at GSI Teaching and Resource Centers​.
  • Take CE 301 for at least 2 units during the first semester of teaching. You will receive sign-up information when hired.
  • Attend one of the Academic Student Employee (ASE) orientation sessions, where they will discuss your duties and rights regarding your GSI/Reader position.

See also:

Reader

Readers primarily perform duties related to grading of papers and examinations. Readers may also be expected to attend lectures, hold office hours, and consult with the instructor. Readers may not perform teaching duties.

Students cannot serve as a GSI and a Reader at the same time for the same course, nor as a Reader in a course in which they are enrolled.

Graduate students are usually only assigned to perform the duties of a Reader in undergraduate courses. Under exceptional circumstances, a department may propose that a registered graduate student who has been advanced to candidacy at the doctoral level be appointed a GSI for a graduate course. Assignment as a GSI for a graduate course always requires advanced approval by the Graduate Dean, and such GSIs may not assist with the course until that approval has been received.

Reader appointments usually start on the first day of instruction and end on the last day of the semester. Readers are paid on an hourly basis. Appointments at or in excess of 10 hours/week (corresponding roughly to a class with 100 students enrolled), also include partial tuition and fee remission. It may be possible to combine appointments, e.g., for two classes, in order to reach this 10 hours/week level.

Students on F-1 or J-1 visas may not be appointed for more than 49.5% (or 20 hours) total for all of their combined appointments on campus. This includes any and ALL reader, GSI, and GSR appointments.

If the Reader appointment meets certain criteria, a portion of the student's fees will be paid for.  This benefit is called a fee remission. In order to receive a fee remission, the semester appointment must be for 25% or more time. The student must meet the eligibility requirements listed below, and not have any registration blocks. The fee remission does not cover the Berkeley Campus fee or the Class Pass fee. See Registrar's web page for the amount of these fees.

Reader applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • No more than 2 Incomplete grades in upper division and graduate courses
  • Must not be on probation or in lapsed candidacy status
  • Minimum grade of "B" in the course for which they are reading or an equivalent course
  • Enrolled in 8 units by the third week of classes

See also:

The Application

GSI/Reader application process

  1. All GSI and Reader appointments are made at the department level.
  2. The application is posted in April, and should be completed by April 30. GSI Applications need to be submitted by the end of each semester for employment in the following semester.
  3. Because there are more applicants than positions, students are encouraged to contact the instructors whose courses they would like to assist. Students should also consider contacting other departments allied with their field of study, or their previous education or teaching experience. For example, CEE students have often been hired in Math, Chemistry or Physics departments, while students who speak English as a second language have found positions in their native language department.
  4. If a faculty member promised you a GSI/Reader position, you still must fill out the online application. In this case, you should also indicate on the application which faculty member promised you the position, and the number of hours promised. Your communication with the faculty member and Program Leader will be confirmed and the the offer letter processed accordingly.
  5. Faculty Program Leaders, in conjunction with their faculty, choose GSIs and Readers from this pool of applicants. If you are chosen as a GSI or a Reader, the Academic Affairs Office will e-mail to you the course name, hours, salary, etc.  If you accept the offer (via the online system), you will need to attend a CEE Human Resources Orientation to fill out the necessary paperwork.  You are not officially hired until the Human Resources Unit processes the paperwork.
  6. By submitting an application you agree that you meet the requirements for a GSI or Reader position. If you submit an application and fail to meet these requirements, your application will be rejected.
  7. If you are receiving a fee remission, you are still responsible for paying your fees in a timely manner. Your funds will be reimbursed.
  8. Applications will be processed on an ongoing basis until all the appointments have been successfully filled.
  9. See deadlines for GSI and reader positions:
Type Semester Early Bird Deadline

GSI

Spring 2017

October 30, 2016

Reader

Spring 2017

October 30, 2016

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) is often referred to as Research Assistant at other universities.  As a GSR, students cannot work more than 50% in the fall or spring semesters. During the winter, spring, and summer breaks, students may work up to 100% time.

A GSR performs research broadly related to the degree program in an academic department or research unit under the direction of a faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator. GSRs do not perform teaching, administrative, or general assistance duties.

All GSR appointments are made at the department or research unit level. Students should check with their faculty adviser about being appointed as a GSR. Students should also consider contacting other departments or research units allied with their field of study, or their previous education or teaching experience.

Contact a faculty member directly for any open Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions.  Once you have an agreement with a faculty member, who will then become your research adviser, you need to complete the GSR Appointment Request. When completed and signed, give the form to the Graduate Student Adviser in 750 Davis.

If the GSR appointment meets certain criteria, a portion, or all, of the student's fees will be paid for.  This benefit is called a fee remission. In addition, GSRs with appointments that are at least 45% time may be eligible for coverage of their non-resident tuition through tuition remission.

In order to receive a fee remission, the semester appointment must be for 25% or more time for the entire semester.

GSR applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Minimum 3.1 GPA
  • No more than 2 Incomplete grades
  • Must not be on probation or in lapsed candidacy status
  • Registered in the semester during which the GSR appointment is held
  • Enrolled in 8 units by the third week of classes

See also:

Getting Paid

GSI and Reader

See current pay scales for GSIs and Readers at http://hr.berkeley.edu/labor/contracts/BX/current-rates.

GSIs do not have to submit timesheets. Readers should pick up blank timesheets from ERSO at 199M Cory Hall. Completed timesheets should be submitted to ERSO by the 20th of each month. 

GSR

The department or research unit that hires the student determines the step at which a student is appointed. Each hiring unit should have written guidelines that explain the requirements for appointment at each level and the criteria for advancement. See GSR salary chart at http://grad.berkeley.edu/financial/graduate-student-employment/guide/.

Note that GSRs earn wage increases when they have passed their preliminary examinations and when they advance to doctoral candidacy.

GSRs do not have to submit a timesheet unless they have a variable appointment. 

Fellowships

New and annual fellowship opportunities go out to all students in the Graduate Student Adviser's online Graduate Newsletter

These CEE graduate fellowships are made possible through the generosity of CEE alumni and friends:

AMEC Geomatrix Fellowship                 
Tor Brekke Award                    
Albert Brutocao Endowment                 
Buscovich Award                    
David H. Caldwell Scholarship             
Roy Carlson, Milos Polivka, & Arthur Ross Fellowship    
CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Civil and Environmental Engineering Graduate Fellowship
Congreve Memorial Fellowship
Harmer Davis Memorial Fellowship            
Joseph A. Dias Scholarship                
Hans Albert Einstein Memorial Fund            
ENGEO Fellowship                    
Engineering and Project Management Fellowship    
Environmental Engineering (MS) Fellowship        
D. Jackson & Sara-Louise Faustman Fellowship    
George P. Forni Memorial Fund            
Fugro West Geotechnical Engineering Scholarship    
Antonia Fung Memorial Fellowship Fund       
Milan G. & Douglas Arthur Memorial Award in Petroleum Engineering
Geosyntec Fellowship Fund                
Ben C. Gerwick Jr. Fellowship Award            
Harry H. Hilp Scholarship (E&PM)    
Harry H. Hilp Scholarship (SEMM)            
E. R. Hoffman CEE Scholarship            
Peter Alex Horn Fellowship                
Robert Horonjeff Memorial Grant            
Walter H. Howard Scholarship            
Charles G. Hyde Memorial Fund            
J. Kleinfelder Graduate Student Fellowship        
P. Kumar & Shanti Mehta Fellowship for Structural Materials    
LA County Sanitation Fellowship    
Langan, Treadwell, and Rollo Fellowship                
Wilfred F. Langelier Scholarship Fund    
Robert C. Levy Scholarship Fund            
Professor T.Y. Lin Fellowship in Structural Engineering
John Lysmer Memorial Fellowship            
James M. McDonald Scholarship No. 4 & No. 7    
McGauhey Memorial Fund                
Gordon F. Newell Fellowship
Iraj Noorany Fellowship   
A. J. & Catherine Orselli Fund            
PMI-Steven V. White Fellowship            
William H. & Helena I. Popert Scholarship Fund   
Egor Paul Popov Endowment Fund   
Robert B. Rothschild Jr. Memorial                
Alexander C. Scordelis Fellowship   
Harry Bolton Seed Memorial Fellowship        
Charles Seim CEE Fellowship
Shell Company Foundation                
Awtar & Teji Singh Fellowship            
Russell S. Springer Memorial Fund            
Structural Engineering Fellowship Fund       
David Todd Memorial Fellowship            
Norbert Tracy Memorial Scholarship            
Parker D. Trask Memorial Fund           
Amos Trussell Fellowship                 
Maybelle & John Tucker Fellowship  
Women in Engineering Fund                
Li Kuo Wei & Rong Yong Fellowship