Financial Aid

Our department offers competitive teaching/research assistantships (TA or RA, respectively), as well as summer support opportunities for our PhD program; we typically do not provide support for students admitted to our MS program. For TA’s, the average incoming support has been $18,000 for the standard 9-month academic appointment; for RA’s, the average has been $21,000 for a 9-month academic appointment. Both additionally include full tuition waiver and both consist of base support (as listed on the UWM Graduate School website) and various scholarships and other support from the department.

Outstanding first-year students may receive additional support, as follows:

  • supplemental financial support in the amount of $4,000 will be made available for two outstanding students;
  • students showing a great promise of being able to start their research early in their career may be selected to receive financial support to arrive early (summer before their first year) for preparing for the required qualifying exam in Fall;
  • the department will top up support for summer research from faculty for a number of students that have either taken most of their core courses within the first two semesters, or have taken the equivalent of those classes (with good results) prior to their arrival at UWM.

As students advance in their graduate studies, the base level of support listed above may increase, subject to satisfactory performance. In addition, annual prizes for outstanding research work in specialized areas of experimental and theoretical physics are also awarded.

A student holding a regular teaching assistantship is required to complete at least 6 credits of graduate work each semester. Appointment of 33% or more, 6 credit minimum/semester. Appointment of less than 33%, 8 credit minimum/semester. Only full-time students will be granted non-resident tuition waivers and you need to maintain this status in order to satisfy the residency requirements. A student holding a fellowship or research assistantship is required to carry a minimum of 8 credits a semester and 2 credits for summer until the candidacy requirements have been completed (This applies to graduate students with RA support (any amount)). Doctoral student with dissertation status are required to carry 3 credits at dissertator rate.

Graduate Tuition

Essentially, this section applies only to Research Assistants and Fellowship appointees. Research assistant and fellowship appointments at 33% or more are eligible for remission of the non-resident portion of tuition (NRTR). Teaching and project assistants are eligible for remission of all tuition as long as their appointment is at 33% or more. For tuition and fee rates please see the UWM Financial Aid Office.

Graduate Stipends

A typical graduate student “full-time” employment is a 50% appointment, which equates to working 20 hours a week for the university. For teaching assistants, a 50% appointment generally is fulfilled by teaching 3 bi-weekly discussion sections, 6 weekly discussion sections, 3 lab sections, or 15 tutoring room hours (full 60 minute tutoring hours vs. 50 minute discussion hours). For project assistants and research assistants, the duties are specified by the person paying the assistantship. For fellowships, a student is theoretically free to do anything as long as progress towards graduating is made. Mixed appointments divided between TA and PA are allowed as both are eligible for tuition remission. For an up-to-date schedule of TA and RA stipends please see the UWM Graduate School website.

Credits requirements (minimum for a single semester)

 Academic Year  Summer
Teaching and Project Asst.
Non-Dissertator with
appointment >= 33%
6 cr. 0 cr. (2 cr. if new TA/PA)
Non-Dissertator with
appointment < 33%
8 cr. 0 cr.
Doctoral Prelim Exemptiona 1 cr. for 1 semester only
Dissertator 3 cr. 0 cr.
Research Asst. and Fellowship
Non-Dissertator 8 cr. 2 cr.
Doctoral Prelim Exemptiona 1 cr. for 1 semester only
Dissertator 3 cr. 3 cr.

Doctoral students within one semester of completing the preliminary exam may apply to the graduate school for exemption status to register for 1 cr. for that semester only.


  • Graduate stipend and credit requirement information is from the Graduate School, specifically the Salary Schedules for teaching, project and research assistants.
  • Tuition and general academic information is from the UWM Registrar’s Office. Fees/Tuition is listed within Registration for the semester of interest.