Funding and Support
Some students support themselves, but the department may commit to funding others as part of the admissions process. The funds may be in the form of a teaching or research assistantship or a fellowship (from most to least common). Department funding is for the period of coursework only, usually three years, subject to continual review. Contract renewals are semester to semester, based on student performance not only in coursework but also in assigned duties. Some students enter without funding but then acquire support later. As a graduate student, you are eligible to seek and accept an assistantship in any UIC department or office.
Students should apply for grants and fellowships to support the dissertation year(s) of study. Plan well ahead of time. Application deadlines tend to cluster in the fall or early in the calendar year for support available the following academic year. Some grants require that you pass preliminary examinations before submitting an application. Consult with your advisor about grant opportunities. To apply, start from the draft of your dissertation proposal. See the Graduate College Funding Your Education page.
All doctoral students hoping to enter the professoriate should make sure their CV includes funded research. Funding is a process of juggling current commitments with future plans, and the complex timing of coursework, preliminary exams, and dissertation research are good experience for those entering industry as well.