Financial Support and Funding Opportunities

UConn recognizes the great importance of funding for graduate studies and makes it a top priority.

Funding for Ph.D. students in the HDFS program is a top priority. Every effort is made to maintain funding for these students throughout their time in graduate school. Whenever possible, M.A. students also receive funding. In addition, students often pursue funding outside of the department, such as research assistantships in other departments, training grants, and internal and external fellowships.


There are several primary sources of funding and financial aid for graduate students in the Human Development and Family Sciences Program

Departmental Funds

  • Teaching assistantships: Most students serve as a teaching assistant (TA) at some point during their graduate career. Frequently, TAs either help with a large lecture course, or have their own small discussion section(s) of a course. Some advanced graduate students are the instructor of record, teaching their own course independently. In addition, some teaching assistants provide support to the department in other ways, such as working in the student advising center, or working with departmental administration on tasks to benefit the department. TA positions provide tuition waivers, stipends, and access to health insurance in exchange for 10, 15, or 20 hours per week of work. TAs are members of the GEU-UAW bargaining unit and covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Research assistantships: Students often work as research assistants (RAs) on specific faculty research projects. Sometimes these RAs require special skills – for instance, interviewing, data analysis, or language fluency. Generally, faculty with research grants for assistantships work with the department to identify appropriate students. Like TA positions, RA positions provide tuition waivers, stipends, and access to health insurance in exchange for 10, 15, or 20 hours per week of work, and these students are members of the GEU-UAW bargaining unit.

Graduate School Funds

  • UConn fellowships: A small number of fellowships are available from the Graduate School. These include the Jorgensen Fellowship and the Harriott Fellowship for newly admitted doctoral students with outstanding academic records, the Crandall-Cordero Fellowship for admitted master’s students with outstanding academic records. These fellowships usually begin in students’ first year of graduate study, continue for multiple years, and include tuition waiver, stipend, matching assistantship from the department, and access to health insurance. Additional information regarding UConn fellowships can be found on The Graduate School’s Internal Fellowships Awards page.
  • Institutional training grants: Some students receive support from a training grant at UConn, such as the Social Processes of HIV/AIDS. Support on a training grant usually involves a commitment to attend a seminar and/or speaker series, to identify multiple mentors in the area, and to commit to research on that topic for a 2-year period.
  • External fellowships: Some students obtain their own fellowships or grants, usually for research, from sources such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Fulbright Scholar Program, or from foundations that have doctoral support programs, such as the Spencer Foundation. Students usually apply for these after they have been in the program one or more years.

Financial Aid

Some students may also receive aid through limited funds awarded based on financial need.  Please visit the Office of Financial Aid website for more information.


Our current graduate students have had a vast array of assistantship experiences that are personally, academically, and financially rewarding.  Examples include:

  • Instructor of Record for courses such as Research Methods, Individual and Family Development, Close Relationships, Infancy Through Adolescence, Family Interaction Processes, and Individual and Family Interventions, Diversity Issues in HDFS, Issues in Human Sexuality
  • Teaching Assistantships for courses such as Close Relationships, Individual and Family Development, Diversity Issues in HDFS, Research Methods, Honors Proseminar, Death, Dying, and Bereavement, and Communications in HDFS
  • Research Assistantships on a range of projects including at the Center for Applied Research in Human Development (CARHD) and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Evaluation of Local Head Start/Early Head Start Programs, Evaluation of UConn First Star Academy, Cancer Survivorship Research Program, Developmental Aspects of Sexual Health Lab, Stigma Interventions to Increase HIV/STI Testing, and Crossover Youth Project
  • Support for the department in the HDFS advising office
  • Outside the department in a range of places such as UConn’s Pre-College Summer Program/Office of Early College Programs, UConn Wellness and Prevention Services (WPS), and Connecticut Children's Medical Center


More information regarding graduate assistantships can be found in the HDFS graduate handbook or by contacting Preston Britner, Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies (

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