Teaching/Research Assistantships and Fellowships

Various forms of financial support are available to new and continuing graduate students including teaching and research assistantships and fellowships. These opportunities may be accessed through each academic unit as well as individual faculty members. Please review the Teaching/Research Assistantship policies for additional information.

Dean’s Fellowship

The ASU Electrical Engineering program offers the Dean’s Fellowship to outstanding new doctoral students. Total awards exceeding $27,500 per year for four years are available.  In addition to the cash award, the fellowship covers tuition, insurance, and a position as an RA in a research program of interest.

Eligibility requirements include the following:

  • Apply and be admitted to ASU’s doctoral program in electrical engineering.
  • United States citizenship required.
  • Have a bachelor of science degree with a 3.6 GPA or better from an accredited electrical engineering program.
  • Attend the Recruiting Day function at ASU*.
  • Applicants from women and minorities are encouraged.

If you meet these requirements and wish to be considered, contact Professor Joseph Palais, Graduate Program Chair, joseph.palais@asu.edu.

* Recruiting Day will usually be in late February. Visits with faculty and students and facility tours will be scheduled. All expenses will be paid for those invited. Attendees should arrive in Tempe the previous day (Thursday) and may fly home Friday evening or sometimes Saturday. Transportation, housing and meals will be covered.’

Science Foundation Arizona – Graduate Research Fellowships

Arizona State University’s commitment to research aimed at solving specific societal challenges has been supported by graduate fellowship funding from Science Foundation Arizona.

These graduate fellowships are awarded to biologists, chemists, physicists, bioengineers, chemical engineers, electrical engineers, materials engineers, computer scientists, social scientists and individuals with related degrees interested in research specifically focused in:

  • Bio-Science
  • Information Technology and Communications
  • Clean Energy
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Aerospace and Defense

SFAz Graduate Fellows must be new PhD candidates, be US citizens and have demonstrated potential for innovative research.  A faculty selection committee will help identify applications that merit the SFAz Graduate Fellowships by screening for qualities that will denote an outstanding candidate such as:

  • Exceptional Intelligence and Creativity: emphasizing those aspects pertinent to use-inspired scientific or engineering endeavors in an identified strategic priority area;
  • Excellent Undergraduate Education
  • Outstanding Accomplishment in Technical or Related Professional Studies: (i.e., undergraduate research) which may offset slightly lower academic records, or further enhance excellent ones;
  • Leverage: will the award of the SFAz Fellowship make a difference to the quality, and/or personal creativity of the student’s graduate research performance.


Past recipients of this fellowship have received a personal stipend and cost-of-education as follows:

  • $25,000 personal stipend for the SFAz Graduate Fellow
  • Tuition and health coverage

It is expected that addition years of support are provided by the research mentor, with no more than 2 semesters as a teaching assistant.

Nomination Process

Students will be nominated by faculty within academic units whose research aligns with the strategic research initiatives identified by SFAz.


The 2014 Call for Nominations has not been released yet.  However, if interested please contact the ECEE Graduate Program Chair professor Joseph Palais at joseph.palais@asu.edu.

Teaching/Research Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships

Students receiving teaching assistantships may be assigned appointments which are half-time (20 hours per week) or quarter-time (10 hours per week). Assignments may include sole responsibility for the teaching of undergraduate laboratories, assistance in the teaching of undergraduate laboratory recitations, and assistance in grading of undergraduate homework. Students may additionally be asked to prepare lectures in undergraduate courses and administer examinations. Teaching responsibilities are in addition to the time spent on research for the graduate degree. Teaching assistantships generally include an out-of-state tuition waiver and a stipend. However, only full tuition waivers are given to those students who hold half-time teaching assistantships. Quarter-time assistantship holders receive only a half tuition waiver. In addition to the stipend and full tuition waiver, half-time teaching assistants also receive health insurance benefits.

All teaching assistants whose native language is not English must achieve a Test of Spoken English (TSE) score of 50 or better before they are allowed primary teaching responsibilities. Students unable to take the TSE exam in their home countries can instead take the SPEAK Test—the SPEAK Test, offered on campus at ASU, is the local version of the TSE. Students taking the SPEAK Test at ASU must achieve a minimum score of 50 (for limited teaching capacity) or 55 (for full teaching capacity). Registration for the SPEAK test begins one week before each testing date. Results are sent to the academic department within five working days after the test date. You must register for the ASU SPEAK Test in person at the American English and Culture Program, (Engineering Center Annex, 480-965-2161).

Research Assistantships

Research assistantship appointments pay the student a stipend for involvement in a particular faculty research project—this project usually also serves as the student’s dissertation research topic. A first-year doctoral student receiving a half-time teaching or research assistantship generally receives a generous starting stipend for 12 months, in addition to the full tuition waiver and health insurance benefits. In addition to a stipend, students receiving a research assistantship are generally given an out-of-state tuition waiver. The amount of the tuition waiver, however, depends upon whether the student is appointed as a half-time (20 hours per week) RA or a quarter-time (10 hours per week) RA. Students given half-time RA appointments additionally receive health insurance benefits. Students receiving stipends for research activity, which also constitutes the dissertation research, spend considerably more time each week working on the project than is otherwise expected by the assistantship.

Policies Related to Financial Support of Graduate Students

A limited number of students receive written offers of financial aid prior to entering the program. Students who elect to enter the program without a written commitment of financial aid are responsible for providing their own financial support. Although it is the desire of the faculty to assist students by the aggressive pursuit of research grants, the faculty are not responsible for providing funding when a student enrolls in the program. All supported students are expected to complete their work assignments in a satisfactory manner as judged by the faculty. Additionally, supported students are required to register for at least 12 semester hours of coursework during each semester of residence, which includes research hours. Any suspension from the Graduate Program results in the loss of financial support.

Policy dictates that supported students in the doctoral program are paid a stipend consistent with that of a research or teaching assistant until they pass the qualifying examination, and then receive a stipend consistent with that of a research or teaching associate.

ECEE Events and Activities
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