Funding for CS Graduate Students

Full-time students in the computer science graduate program may receive various financial assistantships and scholarships. Assistantships and scholarships vary depending on whether the student is in the PhD or MS program. 

Important external resource: The tuition and funding page of the Graduate School website has extensive information on campus-wide fellowships and scholarships, links to the Career Center for on-campus employment, and graduate student benefits (e.g., health benefits, parental leave, emergency loans…).



Teaching Assistantships (TA): TAs assist course instructors with all aspects of managing a course, such as preparing course materials (including homework assignments, examinations, etc.), laboratory supervision, leading recitation sections, holding online/in-person office hours, and grading. See here for a list of TA responsibilities.  A full TA position during academic semesters involves 20 hours per week of work. 

The computer science graduate program centralizes the assignments of TAs for the fall and spring semesters.  Course instructors directly recruit TAs for the summer.

Research Assistantships (RA): An RA assists faculty on funded research projects and these positions are available from individual professors. A full RA position involves 20 hours per week of work in the Fall and Spring semesters; summer RA positions may involve up to 40 hours of work per week.

The computer science graduate program does not mediate RA-ships: individual professors select students for RA positions.

Graduate Assistantships (GA): GAs generally assist with administrative work or research projects.   Individual professors may have GA positions to assist with their research projects.  A full GA position involves 20 hours per week of work in the Fall and Spring semesters. 

The computer science graduate program does not determine GA-ships;  professors select students for their GA positions.

Tuition and Fee Scholarships:  All full-time PhD students who receive one of the above forms of financial support will also receive tuition and fee scholarships. In general, tuition scholarships cover 9 credits of graduate tuition; note that 9 credits are sufficient for full-time enrollment. Special considerations apply to a category of PhD students, see PhD student assistantships for more details.

Fee scholarships cover the following fees: counseling and health, technology, transportation, lifetime career development, academic excellence, and college. See the tuition and fee scholarships page of the graduate school website for details.

Fellowships:  The graduate school offers several campus-wide fellowships.  These include the Graduate Council Fellowships, the Burkhard W. Turner Fellowships, etc., and are generally for incoming PhD students.  MS students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds may be eligible for the G.E.M. fellowships. See the Campus Fellowships & Funding Opportunities page of the Graduate School Website for more information.

The CS department offers Excellence Fellowships and Chair’s Fellowships for incoming students; these are noted in the admission offer letters.

The department currently administers GAANN fellowships (Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need, supported by the US Department of Education) for domestic PhD students.  Applications are solicited each year (mid-summer) and selected students are awarded the fellowship for a year.  GAANN/Dept. of Education policy limits the fellowship stipend to the student’s need as determined by the Office of Student Aid based on the student’s FAFSA information.

The Catacosinos Fellowship for Excellence in Computer Science is an annual award funded by a Catacosinos family donation to the Stony Brook Foundation. Administered jointly by the CS department and the Grad School, this award is subject to the availability of funds and is given to students who are nominated and selected by CS faculty during the spring semester. Students must demonstrate excellence in CS research. See your advisor in the spring semester for more information. 

The CS department also nominates students for external fellowships and various university and graduate school awards. The availability of such fellowships and awards is widely advertised on graduate student mailing lists and discussion forums. 



Full-time PhD students are generally supported as a TA, RA, or GA.  In addition to these assistantships, supported PhD students receive tuition and fee scholarships.

Seeking Assistantship Positions: PhD students are offered assistantships at the time of admission. Most students are supported as TAs when they join the program. Students generally transition to being an RA/GA during their first summer and continue as an RA/GA until program completion.

First-year students offered a TA-ship will be appointed as TAs for that period.  The actual assignment of the courses they will TA is done close to the beginning of each semester. TA courses are assigned based on the student’s background and preparation, with some consideration given to the student’s preferences.

Once a student has an advisor, it is generally the advisor’s responsibility to ensure continued support: either by appointing the student as an RA/GA or coordinating with the graduate program to arrange for extended TA support. Students in their second year or later who do not have RA/GA support should contact the graduate program director. 

Special Cases for Tuition Scholarships: Students who were admitted to the PhD program with conditions for taking language proficiency courses (OAE 592, OAE 594) can request 3 additional credits worth of tuition scholarship; write to the graduate program coordinator at  

Students who are deemed to be at G3 academic level (i.e. fewer than 24 graduate credits, as determined by the Graduate School at the time of admission/matriculation) will receive up to 12 credits of tuition scholarship.

Important Note on Tuition Scholarships: Note from the above discussion that the tuition scholarship covers a certain number of credits. Students whose enrollment exceeds this credit limit will be billed for the excess credits.  It is the student’s responsibility to understand how many credits are covered by their scholarship and ensure that their enrollment stays within that limit.



At this time, there is no uniform mechanism for supporting MS students. A few MS students may be offered support (TA/RA/GA) at the time of admission.  

TA support for MS students: An incoming MS student with a TA offer will be appointed for the duration stated in the admission offer letter. The actual assignment of courses to TA will be done close to the beginning of each semester.

We typically have a few TA positions available for MS students (in addition to those offered at admission time). In the fall/spring semesters, the graduate program coordinates the selection of students to serve as MS TAs. Applications are solicited for these positions, and advertised on the graduate student mailing lists and discussion forums. Students in the CS MS program who have been in SBU for at least one semester (i.e. second-semester MS students; BS/MS students) are eligible to apply. TAs are selected based on instructor recommendation, feedback from prior TA work, academic performance, and academic course load.

For Summer semesters, course instructors directly recruit TAs.

MS TAs are generally appointed as ½ TAs: 10 hours per week of work. At present, there is no tuition/fee scholarship for MS TAs. However, students who are paid as MS TAs are eligible for employee health insurance.

RA/GA support for MS students: These positions might be available from individual professors who have grant funding for specific projects. Generally, professors hire from among their current students doing MS projects/thesis under their supervision, since those students are most familiar with the projects. Any other positions will be openly advertised on graduate student mailing lists and discussion forums.