University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Financial support

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At UW-Madison there are four types of financial support, which include: fellowship, project/ program assistant, research assistant, and teaching assistant.



A fellowship is an award that enables a graduate student to pursue a degree full-time. Fellowship recipients are chosen through a competitive process in the national, university, school/college, or department/program level. Currently, the ISyE department does not have any fellowships available for incoming graduate students.

Project/Program Assistantship (PA):

These titles designate graduate students employed to assist with research, training or other academic programs or projects. Project/Program Assistants are included in the labor agreement between the state of Wisconsin and the Teaching Assistants Association. These appointments are offered to students by individual faculty.


Research Assistant (RA):

A Research Assistant must be a graduate student working toward a master.s or PhD degree. The work performed is primarily to further the education and training of the student. These appointments are offered to students by individual faculty.


Teaching Assistant (TA):

This title is appropriate for graduate students who have been assigned teaching responsibilities in an instructional department under the supervision of a faculty member. Teaching Assistants are included in a labor agreement between the state of Wisconsin and the Teaching Assistants Association. These are awarded to students by the department or individual faculty.


You can apply for funding (RA, PA, TA positions or fellowships) by contacting individual faculty members directly. The admissions office does not know if a particular professor has funds for assistantships. Those inquiries, and all other inquiries regarding funding opportunities, should be directed to the faculty directly.


About 95% of ISyE applicants request financial aid and unfortunately there is very little assistance available, especially to incoming Industrial and Systems Engineering graduate students. Funding is awarded to students based on the qualifications of the student, the amount of available funding, and the number of continuing students receiving support. As these components carry term to term, we cannot answer this question directly. However, approximately 48% of current ISyE graduate students have some type of funding (either from within or outside of the department). It is unlikely that first semester graduate students will receive funding, but the odds increase in later semesters, once students are able to meet faculty and make connections on campus.

Project, research, and teaching assistantships are given by individual faculty who have funding to pay for this type of position; however, professors are generally unwilling to hire students for assistantships based strictly on their resumes and applications. It is too difficult to gauge a person.s work ethic this way and has often led to inharmonious working relationships. The chances of getting funding usually increase after a student is on campus, performs well, and establishes a relationship with a faculty adviser.


If you choose to attend UW-Madison and plan to pursue funding on your own, the following sites could be very helpful:


Graduate School Funding Resources

Graduate School Costs and Funding

International Student Services Finances and Taxes