Graduate Financial Assistance

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The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering offers a limited number of graduate fellowships and assistantships on a competitive basis. This support is intended to atttract and retain outstanding candidates for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees by enriching the academic experiences of the students. Most fellowships require U.S. citizenship and a composite GRE score of over 1700 (or average above 65th percentile) and an undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher. Fellowships provide monetary stipends, tuition and partial fee waiver. Candidates who wish to be considered for fellowships must submit their completed application materials prior to February 1 in order to receive full consideration for fellowships for the following fall semester.

Assistantships offer employment in research. An assistantship appointment provides a stipend plus tuition and partial fee waiver. A one-half time assistantship requires an average of 20 hours per week of work. Typically, graduate students will have the opportunity to gain significant teaching experience.

Current assistantship and fellowship stipends for new students

Graduate Research Assistant Rates

(Effective 8/16/19 )

Assistantships are appointed on a 9 month + 2 month basis: August 16th through May 15th and May 16th through July 15th.

M.S. (50%) $2,186.60/month
Ph.D. (50%) $2,291.46/month
Ph.D. Post Prelim (50%) $2,414.32/month


JBT M.S. $22,500 (20k from College & 2.5k from Advisor)
JBT Ph.D $26,500 (22.5k from College & 4k from Advisor)
USDA National Needs $22,000
NSF $34,000
SURGE  $25,000

Teaching Assistant Rates

25% $1,093.14/month

Fellowship Information

Graduate College Fellowship and Grant Competitions 

Graduate College Fellowship Finder 

Graduate College Proposal Writing Resources

SURGE Fellowship 

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRF)

USDA National Needs Fellowship

Available Awards

The deadline for 2019 - 2020 award applications is Friday January 10th, 2020.

2019 - 2020 ABE Faculty and Graduate Student Award

GRAD and FACULTY AWARDS Ben and Georgeann Jones Excellence in Teaching Awards (two awards) - Awards will be given to one faculty member and one TA. This award is to recognize excellence in teaching by faculty and graduate teaching assistants.

FACULTY (only) AWARD Kent and Marlene Mitchell Teaching Excellence Award Fund - This award is given to recognize excellence in teaching by faculty.

GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD - The ABE Graduate Student Research Award has been established to recognize outstanding contributions in research in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. To be eligible, the student must also be enrolled during the academic year in which the award is given. The completed nomination form along with the nominee’s CV must be submitted to the ABE Department on or before January 10, 2020. The recipient is expected to attend the ABE 2020 Spring Awards Banquet.

FACULTY AWARD FOR RESEARCH EXCELLENCE (FARE) - The ABE Faculty Award for Research Excellence (FARE) recognizes outstanding research accomplishments at the University of Illinois during the past four years. The recipient, along with the other award recipients of the ABE Department, will be formally recognized at the ABE Awards Banquet.

Apply for award


STAFF AWARD OF EXCELLENCE - The ABE Staff Award for Excellence recognizes outstanding performance and demonstrated professional excellence by members of the professional staff of the department. The award recognizes professional staff for outstanding service to faculty, staff, and students in the ABE department. An individual may receive the Staff Award for Excellence only once.

Eligibility: All staff with a minimum of three years of continuous service, who are employed at 50% or greater on a regular or term appointment in the ABE Department are eligible for the award.

Nomination: Any ABE faculty or staff may nominate one or more individuals for this award. To nominate, please email the following information to Amanda McGuire ( by January 10, 2020. • Nomination letter or statement, not exceeding three pages, describing the contributions of the nominee in the following areas: (1) work contributions by detailing how these advance teaching, research, and service missions in the department and explaining the work's impact in these areas; (2) personal contributions to others including faculty, staff, students, and members of the public and an explanation of the way in which the nominee meets the special demands of his or her workplace; and (3) professional contributions, including recognition received, publications, participation in professional societies, and committee work.

Selection: The ABE Awards Committee will select the recipient of the award. The chair of the selection committee, in consultation with its members, shall develop guidelines for its operation. The committee will consider the nominee's achievement and overall performance in support of the department. The committee may decide against granting an award if no meritorious candidate has been nominated. The committee shall submit its recommendation for recipient to the department head.