Student Financial Support
At the time of final student admission, the department will send a financial offer letter outlining the method of funding (a combination of TA appointments, GSR appointments or fellowship) and period of time it will cover.
Financial support for Master’s students on departmental funds (e.g., Teaching Assistantships, Fellowships) beyond four quarters is contingent upon progress and performance. For any student enrolled in the Geography M.A. or PhD program, a GPA of less than 3.3 or a grade of C+ or less in geography may cause departmental financial support to be withdrawn.
Establishing California Residency
Information about establishing California residency can be found at the Office of the Registrar’s website under the “Fees & Residency” heading.
- Need-Based Financial Aid
Graduate students may apply for need-based loans and work-study awards through the Financial Aid Office. Students must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year by the March 2nd deadline and provide the Financial Aid Office with supplemental information as it requests it. Only U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens may apply for funds administered by Financial Aid. If you are an international student go to the financial aid website to see if you are eligible.
- Teaching Assistantships (TA) Appointments
Teaching Assistantship (TA) appointments for the following academic year are made in March-April (only those who receive TA support will be notified). Most TA appointments are 50% (equivalent to fulltime employment as a student). Current salary rates can be found on the Academic Personnel website and are subject to change.
Employment as a 25%-time or more TA includes partial fee remission (tuition, fees and Student Health Insurance). It does not cover non-resident tuition. Read your award letter carefully and contact our Staff Graduate Program Advisor if you have any questions.
Teaching Assistantships entail duties related to course laboratory sections and discussion sections in Physical Geography, Techniques, and Human Geography. The department believes that teaching experience is a valuable part of graduate education and strives to allow each student some TA service. TA appointments may be renewed after careful review of actual teaching performance. At least one quarter as a TA or equivalent experience, is required of all Ph.D. students.
- Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Appointments
Generally, GSR appointments are given to students after one year in residence, but occasionally may be provided on initial enrollment. GSRs are arranged on an individual basis between the student and a faculty member who is a Principal Investigator on a grant, and generally cannot be “applied” for like one would a Teaching Assistantship or Fellowship.
The department expects that students about to embark on thesis/dissertation research will work with their faculty advisor on research proposals in order to secure this form of support if it is not already available. Current salary rates can be found on the Academic Personnel website and are subject to change.
GSRs whose appointments total at least 25% but less than 35% and meet all other criteria are eligible for Partial Fee Remission and Student Health Insurance credit. GSRs who are appointed at least 35% and meet all other criteria qualify for a Full Fee Remission and Student Health Insurance credit.
Fellowships provide funds to support the living and educational expenses of graduate study. If you apply for this merit-based assistance, your application will be judged on the basis of the quality of your previous academic work, on the evidence of your ability to do research and other creative accomplishments, and on your promise of becoming a productive scholar. Except in unusual circumstances, applications for fellowships are considered only once a year; awards are made for the academic year, beginning with the fall quarter. Fellowships can come in the form of a 4-6-year guarantee of support (Regents Special Fellowship, Chancellor’s Fellowships, Eugene-Cota Robles Fellowship, Doctoral Scholars Fellowship), a 1-year fellowship (Graduate Opportunity Fellowship), or the payment of fees and nonresident tuition (Block Grant). If your fellowship includes the payment of fees and/or nonresident tuition, payments will be credited directly to your BARC account prior to payment deadlines. Read the award letter carefully and contact the department if you have questions.
The following awards are made by the Department of Geography Awards and Nominations Committee and the Graduate Committee. Apart from ongoing Dangermond Travel Awards, which are made quarterly, awards are normally presented at the last Spring Quarter colloquium each academic year.
- Jack & Laura Dangermond Fellowship
The Jack and Laura Dangermond Fellowship Fund is named for the generosity of Jack and Laura Dangermond. It was established to support a promising graduate and undergraduate geography student in geographic information science (GIS) in the Department of Geography.
Jack and Laura Dangermond are the co-founders and President and Executive Vice President respectively of Environmental Systems Research Institute. ESRI is a major industrial supplier of software in the field of GIS.
Year Grad Recipient Undergrad Recipient 2022 / 2023 Amelia Pludow & Seonga Cho Hally Zhou & Owen Crosby 2021 / 2022 Susan Burtner & Rongxiang Su Hannah Malak 2020 / 2021 Gengchen Mai Madi Arndt 2019 / 2020 Rui Zhu Dian Xia 2018 / 2019 Mike Johnson Shupeng Wang 2017 / 2018 Bo Yan Thomas Crimmel 2016 / 2017 Sara Lafia Elizabeth Shulz 2015 / 2016 Blake Regalia Meilin Shi 2014 / 2015 Bo Romero Sophia Macarewich
- Jack & Laura Dangermond Travel Fund
The Jack and Laura Dangermond Fund is named for the generosity of Jack and Laura Dangermond. It has been established to support annual graduate and undergraduate GIScience awards (one award for a graduate and one award for an undergraduate) and annual, multiple travel expense awards for graduate and undergraduate students.
Jack and Laura Dangermond are the co-founders and President and Executive Vice President, respectively, of Environmental Systems Research Institute. Esri is a major industrial supplier of software in the field of GIS.
Thanks to the generosity of Jack and Laura Dangermond, multiple travel expense awards are available to help qualified students present GIS related work at conferences/workshops. Support is preferentially given to students who have submitted full papers which have been accepted through a peer review process.
Terms of the Award:
- To attend a conference that requires only a short abstract, a maximum of $600 can be requested regardless of location. This includes AAG and AGU.
- To attend a conference that requires an extended abstract or paper a maximum of $1200 for national conferences, and $2000 for international conferences can be requested.
- In special cases, where the student participates in organizing the conference or workshops for GIScience related conferences, total travel expenses (up to a maximum of $2500) might be awarded given the availability of funds.
- Applicant must be a currently registered Geography graduate student.
- Applicant must be invited or selected to present work that is related to GIS at a major professional conference. (Proof of invitation of the applicant for a presentation must be provided with the application.)
- Allowable travel expenses are the actual costs of the roundtrip airline ticket or ground transportation to the conference, lodging, and conference registration.
What to submit?
- The abstract or paper submitted to the conference, and a proof of acceptance.
- A statement describing your role in the conference and why you selected this conference in particular to present your research.
- A description of how your work is advancing GIScience (up to 200 words). Use of GIScience techniques is not sufficient for this award. Please consider describing how your work contributes to and advances GIScience.
You may access the application form and submit your request via this form.
- David S. Simonett Memorial Award
This fund was established to honor the memory of David S. Simonett, Professor of Geography at UCSB from 1975 until his death on December 22, 1990. This award is disseminated each academic year to an outstanding graduate student for their service to the department, the discipline, academic progress, and academic accomplishment.
David was a world-renowned authority in the field of remote sensing and a founding director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA). The UC Board of Regents renamed UCSB’s division of the NCGIA in honor of Professor Simonett. David was chairman of the Department of Geography from 1975 to 1982 and the Dean of Students at UCSB until 1989. David Simonett provided the vision and energy to build what has become one of the nation’s finest Geography Departments here at UCSB.
- Jack Estes Memorial Award
The fund was created to honor the memory of Professor Jack Estes. Each academic year this award is given to the best graduate student working with remote sensing. Jack was a Geography faculty member for over thirty years and the Director of the Geography Remote Sensing Unit. His primary research interests involved the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems technology for analysis of earth resources. Among the agencies he conducted studies for were NASA on land-use change, crop identification and advanced soil moisture conditions; the U.S. Forest Service on fire fuels monitoring and modeling; and the Environmental Protection Agency on hazard and pollution detection and modeling and resources management. This fund was established to support students who are continuing and advancing his field of research.
- Leal Ann Kerry Mertes Memorial Scholarship Fund
Leal Ann Kerry Mertes was a Geography faculty member who investigated rivers, wetlands, and floodplains globally. Her interests spanned the dynamics of river channel, floodplain, and wetlands interactions; the remote sensing of wetland environments; and the long term evolution of large river systems. She also devoted a great deal of effort to educational issues, including curriculum design and assessment. This fund was established to honor Leal Mertes by supporting UCSB students (graduate or undergraduate) who are planning or are engaged in field research. The scholarship is awarded to talented and deserving students enrolled in UCSB departments where fieldwork is an integral component of applied academics. For the purpose of this scholarship, “field work” is defined as a field activity devoted to studying, observing, sampling, investigating, or measuring natural or human phenomena. The funds support both the scholarly activities and the expenses associated with the award (for example: stipends, travel expenses, research supplies, and research preparation costs). Successful applicants must meet the following criteria: Applicants must be in good academic standing at UCSB, applicants must submit a 2-page proposal with a separate budget describing the field work to be accomplished with the support of the scholarship, and must provide a letter of support from a faculty member or researcher. The Geography Department Awards Committee reserves the right to fund none, one, or more proposals in any given year. The amount of the award will be based on the individual recipient’s proposal and is anticipated to be in the range of $1,000-$2,500. Proposals will be assessed on merit, with allowance for financial need. Awards must be used for the purposes outlined in the proposal or as approved by the student’s advisor. Calls for award applications are made in the Winter Quarter, and the award is presented at the last Colloquium of Spring Quarter.
- Geography Excellence in Research
This award is conferred each year to one graduate student for their excellence in research. Award criteria includes outstanding presentations at national meetings, authoring or co-authoring important publications, significant research results, and/or outstanding performance in lab or field experiments.
- Geography Excellence in Teaching
This award is conferred each year to one or more graduate student for their excellence in teaching. Award criteria includes outstanding course evaluations as TAs and/or Associates, outstanding written comments from students, outstanding evaluations of TA work by the course instructor, outstanding design of course or lab syllabi, or outstanding design of lab or section activities.