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Graduate Life at Penn State


Assistantships, financial support, and living expenses.

All students accepted for graduate study in the doctoral program are offered financial assistance, generally in the form of a teaching assistantship that cover both tuition and a graduate stipend. Teaching duties generally involve instruction in introductory undergraduate laboratories or recitation sections. Many supplementary fellowships are also available from both the department and the Eberly College of Science; these supplementary fellowships pay from $2,000 to $8,000 per year on top of the regular stipend. The department and campus help train and guide students in their performance as teaching assistants.

Guaranteed summer support for each of the first two summers is also available from the department. After this initial period, students generally obtain summer support through a research assistantship (R.A.) from their research mentor, although extended summer support is also available.

The Centre County area has very reasonable living expenses. Basic living expenses have been estimated at from $6,000 to $7,000 per year for a single student. Most students live in off-campus apartments with rents ranging from $350 to $500 per month for single occupancy (and lower for multiple occupancy). On-campus graduate housing is available for both single students (roughly $900 to $1,125 per semester) and married students (roughly $210 to $320 per month with limited availability). Students on an assistantship can obtain health insurance at a moderate annual rate. Housing is available both on and off campus. Finally, Penn State provides many services for international students relating to housing, visas, and other aspects of the transition to a new country.

Graduate school financial aid page

Penn State Auxillary Services gives information on on-campus graduate housing options. has information and links for off-campus housing.

Penn State also provides many services for international students.