Students who receive funding for graduate school generally receive one or more of four types of financial assistance: fellowshipscompetitive scholarshipsresearch assistantships, and teaching assistantships. All other students have independent funding and must find a thesis supervisor. When an applicant applies to the graduate program, they are simultaneously evaluated for available funding opportunities. (Students do not need to submit a separate application or any supplementary materials to be considered for funding.) 

To be considered for funding, you MUST complete your application by December 20th the year before you plan to begin your program. For example, students interested in starting their graduate program in fall 2015 must apply by December 20th, 2014 to be eligible for funding.

Offers of Admission With Funding

An assistantship offer may be made when the admission letter is sent, but in most cases, the specific funding offer typically comes in late March-early April. Positions can become available through the spring, summer and fall, but very few positions starting in the spring and summer are available.


A small fraction of incoming students receive guaranteed offers of assistantships with their admission. This means that the department guarantees that they will receive a full research or teaching assistantship for their first academic year.

The majority of students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering are supported by Graduate Assistant—Research (GARs), which are appointments to work on specific research projects with particular faculty members. A full-time GAR provides a full tuition scholarship (i.e. covers tuition for the minimum full-time hour enrollment each term, but not necessarily fees; see cost of attending page) and health benefits in addition to a salary.

The department also supports Graduate Assistant—Teaching (GATs). These are few in number, and they are usually offered to students who are already at Texas A&M and known to the departmental faculty. Those with a GAT appointment usually assist a faculty member in teaching, often supervising undergraduate laboratory courses. Students who are offered a GAT position will receive tuition (that is, tuition for the minimum full-time hour enrollment each term, but not fees), health benefits, and a monthly salary. The GAT appointment usually does not extend through the summer.

How to get a Graduate Research Assistantship

As students begin the process of applying to the graduate program, we suggest that they carefully read the research areas listed on the MEEN website. From these areas, students can identify the faculty members with whom they would like to work and should feel free to contact them. Students should not be shy about making the faculty aware of any special qualifications that they might possess (previous research experience, etc.) that would contribute to the research conducted in that particular lab.

Students do not directly apply for Graduate Research Assistantships. As applications are being reviewed, faculty identify candidates to assist in their research on the student's research interest, experience, previous university affiliation, grade point average, etc.


A fellowship provides students with a direct stipend that leaves them open to select their research project and supervisor. A number of students in the department are supported by fellowships from outside agencies (NSF, NIH, etc.), and others are supported by fellowships from the university. See the resources at the bottom of the page for more information on finding external fellowships.

Graduate Merit/Graduate Diversity Fellowships

The Graduate Merit and Diversity Fellowships are fellowships open only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and are administered through the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) at Texas A&M University. Students must be seeking fall admission in order to be eligible for these fellowships. (Once a student has begun graduate studies at Texas A&M University, they are no longer eligible for this award.) Students must be nominated for this award by a faculty member in the department in which they are seeking admission. Students wishing to be considered for nominations by the Department of Mechanical Engineering must submit all of their application materials no later than December 20th. The department will then select and nominate the top applicants. Decisions on these fellowships are usually made by early March.

The Merit Fellowship provides approximately $36,000 per year. The Diversity Fellowship provides for a doctoral student approximately $34,000 per year. For a master’s student, the Diversity Fellowship provides approximately $29,000 per year. 

For more information on these two fellowships, please visit the OGAPS website.

Competitive Scholarships

Competitive scholarships provide partial support for a few students at $1,000 per year with an out-of-state tuition waiver. Additionally, if a student receives a competitive scholarship from the university or a combination of competitive scholarships equal to $1,000 or more, the student is eligible for the out-of-state tuition waiver. All eligible students are notified by email how and when applications are being accepted.

Finding a Thesis Supervisor

Students who have external fellowships or are privately funded need to associate themselves with a faculty member who will supervise their thesis research. They should choose a supervisor by identifying prospective faculty members who have research areas which match the student’s interests and by checking whether the faculty member has a project on which the student can work. It is usually a good idea to associate with a supervisor as soon as possible after arrival. Read the advise of Director of Graduate Programs, Dr. Kristen Maitland, for more tips on finding an adviser.