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Financial assistance for Stanford graduate students is based on academic merit and financial need, and can be offered in the following forms:

  • Fellowships—funding that does not need to be repaid upon completion of enrollment.

  • Assistantships—salary and tuition paid in exchange for research, teaching or other work performed during enrollment.

  • Loans—funds offered to you by a governmental or private lender, to be repaid after graduation.

If you need funding assistance, please be sure to check the box for “Fellowship/Assistantship Interest” in the online application.  


IPS offers a limited number of merit-based fellowships to admitted applicants for their first year of study.

Full Fellowship

Generally, IPS offers one or two full fellowships for the first year of study, which includes full tuition, a stipend to cover living expenses, and Cardinal Care.  Full fellowships are typically awarded on the basis of very specific eligibility requirements, e.g., students must be citizens of or concentrate their studies on a specific country or region.

Tuition Fellowship

IPS offers up to six partial or full tuition fellowships ranging from $20,000 and $30,000 (partial) to approximately $45,000 (full) for the first year of study. The fellowships are not renewable for the second year of study. Instead, second-year students will have opportunities to serve as research or teaching assistants.


Assistantships are a form of graduate student employment, earning a compensation package—both salary and tuition—for the performance of research or teaching services as part of the student's academic and professional training and development.

IPS offers a number of research and teaching assistantships to students during their second year of study. Many students also find assistantship opportunities with Stanford professors or FSI senior fellows through their own networking.  

The majority of assistantships are 20 hours per week, known as a 50% Assistantship, and require students to enroll in no more than 10 units for the given quarter.  

Detailed information on assistantships is available in the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures handbook.  

Research Assistantships (RA)

Research assistants work on a project under the supervision of a faculty member. Appointments are made on a quarterly basis and range from 4 to 20 hours of work per week.  

Second-Year Research Assistantship Program with FSI

IPS helps arrange research assistantships for second-year students with faculty in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). In each of the past two years, IPS has funded up to ten students to serve as RAs for up to eleven FSI faculty.

Please see  Second-Year Research Assistantships for details of FSI faculty and research topics for IPS RAs in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Teaching assistants support classes by holding office hours and/or discussion sessions, grading assignments, and helping professors prepare materials for class. IPS hires second-year students to serve as TAs for the following courses:

  • IPS 202: Topics in Advanced Macroeconomics

  • IPS 203: Topics in International Economics

  • IPS 205: Statistics

  • IPS 206: Applied Statistics for Policy

  • IPS 248: America’s War in Afghanistan: Multiple Actors and Divergent Strategies

Each TA position (except IPS 248) is a 50% appointment, which requires 20 hours of work per week in exchange for tuition (8-10 unit rate), salary, and Cardinal Care. Students have also served as TAs for a number of non-IPS courses over the years.  

Course descriptions are available at Explore Courses.

Tuition Flexibility

Stanford has two full-time tuition rates for graduate students. The higher rate (for 11-18 units) is designated for students who are taking a full course load without any assistantship employment, while the lower rate (for 8-10 units) is designated primarily for students who hold a 50% teaching or research assistantship (equal to 20 hours of work per week).  However, any graduate student can enroll at the lower tuition rate.  

IPS students will typically enroll at the higher tuition rate during the first year of the program in order to complete the core coursework. Enrolling at the 11-18 unit rate also allows students to limit the number of units they need to complete during the second year. In the second year of the program, students will often enroll at the 8-10 unit rate for one or more quarters, which allows them the flexibility to take on an assistantship, work on their job search, or save on tuition costs.  

Please see Tuition and Cost of Attendance  for more detailed information.

Loans and Financial Aid

Students without fellowships or assistantships, and those whose funding does not cover all of their costs, may need to use student loans, savings, other personal assets, a spouse's earnings, or parental support to meet their educational expenses.

Federal student loans are available to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens. International students may qualify for private/alternative loans, although many programs require a cosigner who is a U.S. resident.

Stanford’s Financial Aid office manages loans for IPS students.  Please visit Graduate Basics for more information.

Other Funding Options

The Financial Aid Office manages a list of outside funding from national organizations, local civic groups, and foundations of many types.  

Students can also apply for paid hourly work on campus.