Sources of Gift Aid

Scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships are types of gift aid, which do not have to be repaid after you graduate. Scholarships and fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis by USC schools and departments, as well as by outside agencies.

Check the following sources for opportunities you may qualify for:

  • Your academic department or professional school. Some departments disburse their scholarships in the form of monthly stipends paid directly to the recipient. Stipend payments are made according to the stipend schedule.
  • USC Financial Aid Office. Our office administers federal aid programs, including Federal Work-Study awards, and coordinates departmental scholarships and stipends.
  • The Graduate School administers fellowship programs and provides information about non-university funding sources.
  • Federal agencies and private foundations, which support students engaged in specific fields of study.
  • Corporations, which offer fellowships or tuition reimbursement for employees.

Assistantships and Fellowships

  • Graduate assistantships are awarded by academic departments based on scholastic accomplishment, academic promise and competence. Your appointment may last for a maximum of one year at a time and confer both tuition credit (you must be registered for at least six (6) graduate units for credit in a full-time course) and a stipend.

    Assistantships usually require 20 hours of work per week under the supervision of USC faculty. There are three types of positions. Contact your academic department to apply for any of the following:

    Teaching/laboratory assistants
    Students do not serve as the instructors of record but perform specific duties that assist university teaching staff. These positions help develop research and teaching skills.

    Assistant lecturers
    Students teach in the Freshman Writing Program; language programs in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; the American Language Institute (ALI); and other programs approved by the Director of Graduate and Professional Programs. Assistant lecturers may serve as instructors of record.

    Research assistants
    Students further their own research interests by assisting faculty members in research-related tasks.

  • Awards consist of tuition credit and/or stipends. Most Ph.D. students at USC are fully supported by fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships or a combination of these funding sources.

    Endowed USC Fellowships
    Several endowed fellowships are administered by The Graduate School. Some require candidates to be nominated by their department. Others are awarded to students who apply. For more information, visit the Graduate School website.

    External Fellowships
    Detailed listings of outside fellowships, for study and research in the United States and abroad, and for underrepresented students, can be found on our Awards Database.