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Financial Support

M.A. Students are only eligible for financial support from the university (including employment) for seven quarters maximum that they are enrolled--no matter how many quarters of actual support may have been received. Please review the FAQ for more information on Time Limits.


Tuition Funding Option

Most common:

  • UCSD Academic Positions- Employment of at least 25% as a GSR, TA, or Reader will qualify students for a Tuition and Fee Remission. Find out more. 
  • Financial Aid-  Any questions on financial aid must be directed to the financial aid department. See a financial aid timeline for graduate students.
  • Admission Offer- The program has limited funds at it's disposal to create financial packages for prospective incoming graduate students.
    • These funds are administered and disbursed at the discretion of the admissions committee. Packages are for one year only. Students will be notified if/how much financial support they will receive by the program with an offical Admissions Offer Letter (this is sent after the OGS Acception Letter)


Support Time Limits

Latin American Studies MA graduate students are allotted seven (7) quarters maximum of support are for MA Students—no matter how many quarters of actual support may have been received. Students will no longer be eligible for financial support from any source at UCSD once they have met the Support Time Limit.

San Diego Fellowship

Applicants can apply for the San Diego Fellowship during the admissions process by completing the additional SDF application questions on the application. The department then chooses to nominate 6 candidates, who will be selected through the Grad Division.

  • M.A. recipients receive one-year awards of $20,000, payment of tuition and fees, and where applicable payment of non-resident supplemental tuition

Nominee must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; AB 540 students are also eligible.
    • For the San Diego Fellowship, be recommended for admission to a program leading to a Ph.D., D.M.A., Ed.D., M.F.A., M.P.I.A., M.A. in Latin American Studies or M.A. in Teaching and Learning;
    • Enhance the diversity of the discipline, program or campus; and
    • Have demonstrated high academic aptitude and achievement.

The campus-wide committee that selects recipients uses the response to these questions as the primary source of information for award decisions. Include all relevant information in these statements even though some information may be included in other parts of your application for admission.

  1. How have you demonstrated a commitment to diversity in the past, and how would you work to increase campus or departmental diversity at UCSD? Describe personal experiences, contributions, commitments, and impacts that demonstrate your commitment to improving educational access or quality of life for diverse groups.
  1. What significant and unusual educational, social, cultural, economic, or other barriers have you overcome in pursuit of your education? Describe, in sufficient detail, the challenge as well as any unique insights, perspectives or skills you gained while overcoming this challenge. Describe how overcoming the aforementioned challenge will enable you to contribute to the campus community in a unique and positive manner that enhances campus diversity.

San Diego Fellowship Program – Applicant Guide

The fellowship committee will evaluate your application based on  (1) Barriers overcome on the path to higher education; and (2) Commitment to diversity, demonstrated through outreach activities  and/or research (planned  or completed) to promote the interests of underserved groups in the U.S.

How to Demonstrate Barriers

In practice, barriers overcome on the path to college are highly variable, but among the most notable when the committee considers applications are: 1) being the first in your family to attend college; 2) attending secondary schools or colleges of limited educational resources; 3) working more than 20 hours per week in college to pay tuition and other expenses associated with getting your BA or BS; 4) supporting family members while still a student; 5) facing systematic discrimination.

Here are examples of how some applicants have demonstrated barriers:

“Growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Santa Ana, California, and living off the meager income of my parents' blue collar factory work, my family consistently teetered on the verge of abject poverty. Due to the fact that my parents started work at 5am, being dropped off at school before dawn became the norm up until the end of high school. It was while sitting in empty classrooms and dark hallways waiting for other kids to arrive that I became wholly enamored with school – a place where teachers provided me with the kind of academic mentorship that my parents, by virtue of their hectic work schedules and inability to read or write with proficiency in English, could not engage in. In my naïve mind, I became engrossed with the notion that through my education I would liberate my parents from the economic hardships they faced on a daily basis.

“As the child of a Colombian migrant and an Iraqi refugee, I have often felt the pressing weight of the socioeconomic factors that have framed my pursuit of higher education and have sought to adjudicate my parents' struggles as migrants without access to avenues of public education by reaching the educational goals that they could not. I watched my own illiterate father struggle to make ends meet across various odd jobs due to a lack of access to education; before he could finish middle school in Iraq, he fled to neighboring countries to avoid an imminent draft into Saddam's army and did not have the luxury of pursuing educational goals. Similarly, my mother forsook an education and her childhood in order to support her family by traveling to the United States to work between jobs as a maid and a factory worker. Becoming the first person in both my immediate and extended family to attend a four-year university like the University of California, San Diego was a milestone that greatly impacted not only my appreciation for public education, but for the silent struggles and successes of other low-income, minority students like myself.”

What the committee liked: This student uses evocative images – the darkened school in which she waited for her classmates – that persuade the reader of her difficulties growing up.  Moreover, she shows how the difficulties she encountered due to her parents’ lack of education inspired her to pursue higher education herself.  She tells a story of hardship that led to personal drive.

“My parents were born in Guatemala and immigrated to the United States in order to make a better life for themselves and their family, one they could never achieve in Guatemala. I was born in San Francisco, and for the first few years of my life we lived in my grandparents’ small apartment – with seventeen family members. When I was five my parents were able to move us to a small Bay Area town. Our neighborhood was located in one of the older, rundown parts of town filled with gang activity, prostitution, and violence. Our house was broken into four times during my childhood and unfortunately, the robberies took a toll on my mother and she became extremely depressed. She feared for our safety and felt completely helplessness because there was nothing we could do; financial realities meant that moving to a safer neighborhood was not an option for us…

“When the time came to apply to college, I was very concerned about being able to afford paying for it because I knew my family’s financial situation. My parents were forced to take out several loans since they could not afford to cover the expected family contribution towards my tuition. As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, I worked part-time at the university auditorium because the financial aid I was given was not enough to cover all of expenses such as food, books, and part of my tuition. By applying to scholarships and maintaining a part-time job, I was able to compensate for the insufficient financial aid I was provided with and was even able to afford studying abroad.”

What the committee liked: This student clearly shows hardship growing up and uses specific details – living with 17 people in one apartment, being burglarized four times – to evoke a clear picture of what her life was like.  Further, her explanation of having work through college and her parents’ needing to take out student loans shows continued need into adulthood.  Often, students make a convincing case for a difficult past but fail to show that they are currently in need of support.

How to Demonstrate Commitment to Diversity

The fellowship is intended to encourage students with diverse personal experiences to attend UCSD, as well as to provide support to students who will contribute to their classmates’ educational enrichment. Because graduate students pursue different paths, the San Diego Fellowship committee provides multiple ways to demonstrate your contribution to campus life.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate commitment to diversity is to discuss the volume of your mentoring and teaching activities. For example, women in engineering sometimes mention how they have spoken to organizations like the American Association for University Women about the challenges faced by women in science departments, or given mentoring seminars for middle or high school girls on careers in science.

Here are some examples of how students have successfully demonstrated commitment to diversity:

“At [current campus], I sought to be more than just a college student. Currently, I am the President of the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) organization on campus to promote and cultivate academic success, leadership, and overall good citizenship within the Hispanic and scientific communities. As President of MAES, I have pushed for weekly tutoring and study hours available for all of our members. Of our eighty members, approximately half attend to receive help. My responsibility is to support minority students in their career path in science while preserving the Hispanic culture, creating a sense of familia (family). Furthermore, we provide hands on science experiments and demonstrations for minority middle school students, so that they too may aspire to become future engineers and scientists.”

What the committee liked: This student has worked to encourage success in the sciences among Mexican Americans and other minorities, both at the college level (by offering tutoring for Mexican American STEM students), and with younger students (through science demonstrations for middle schoolers).  He clearly shows a commitment to improving access to science education for minorities.

A description of your research interests can also demonstrate a commitment to diversity:

“As somebody with an acute sense of justice and equity, I am interested in doing research on the experiences of people of color involved in social movements. I am particularly interested in cultural form of resistance within these movements. I want to examine the ways in which diverse cultural forms of expression, such as music, dance, oral narratives, and the written word, are used to resist, contest and counter oppression. I hope to shed light on the struggles of underrepresented groups and use my research to express the needs of these communities as well as help bring about change. Furthermore, because of my working-class background and being brought up in an environment where the privilege of getting a formal education was elusive, my goal as a future literature scholar is to not only produce work for other academics, but to make it accessible to all people, including those that do not have access to higher education. Under the guidance of the Latin American Studies department, I hope to develop and contribute a unique form of scholarship that plays this role.”

What the committee liked: This student’s proposed graduate research shows a commitment to diversity in a way that can document and perhaps even further social change. Her goal to spread her findings to those outside academia demonstrates further commitment (though her specific plans for this dissemination could have been explained more clearly).  Later in her essay, she also discussed volunteer activities related to this commitment.Weaknesses we see in this component of the application generally involve failing to show the extent and level of involvement in volunteer experiences. While growing up in a diverse community or serving as an undergraduate TA to a diverse population are admirable pursuits, the committee expects to see active efforts to serve that are outside the ordinary purview of entering graduate students. The entire narrative of your involvement should be present, from the inception of your personal interest in the work undertaken and why it is of significance to you, to a full account of your current involvement with the activity.

Final Note

Your academic record is important to the university, and if it demonstrates part of the “diversity” component of your application, you should discuss it. However, departments typically nominate academically outstanding candidates. Very little academic variation exists in the nomination pool. Any differences in levels of academic performance among otherwise equally qualified candidates will be used to determine whether to award a San Diego Fellowship or a Cota-Robles Fellowship. Spend the bulk of your time talking about your barriers and your contribution to diversity. Evaluation of the application is holistic, rather than based on any single factor.

IME Becas Grants

The Institue for Mexicans Abroad (IME) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Mexican Stetes (SRE) has as its mission to improve access opportunities for Mexicans or persons of Mexican origin living abroad.  2018 funds were awarded to the Latin American Studies Program to support our students.  Student may receive up to $5,000 to cover the payment of their tuition, fees, or specific courses.

LAS Conference Grant

The Latin American Studies Program has a small pot of money to be distributed to students who have/will be travelliing to a conference to present a paper during the current academic year.  Student may receive up to $200 to cover the cost for travel and/or registration.

 Eligibility Requirements

  • Grant may only be used for travel to the academic conference for which they are to present their paper
  • Students must present proof of participation (i.e. letter of acceptance, conference program)
  • Students must include an abstract of the paper presented
  • Students must include proof of payment for travel or registration
  • Travel must have occurred during the current academic year
  • Submit an itemization of expenses form.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted, so it is best to apply as soon as you can.

LAS Travel Research Grant

The Latin American Studies Program will issue a maximum of $2,000 to the incoming cohort as a summer travel research grant.

The grant can only be awarded to students whose Master Thesis requires that they perform fieldwork abroad and will only cover the cost of airfare.

As all travel will be abroad, the university will be able to issue students a cash advance in order to recieve the funds prior to your flight.

Students may submit their itemized expenses as soon as the purchase their flight. 

CILAS Tinker Grant - Supports Research Travel

As an Organized Research Unit (ORU) of UCSD, CILAS is charged with generating cross-disciplinary research supported by extramural funding. The CILAS Director and staff are available to work with faculty in generating these proposals and shepherding them through the UCSD Contracts and Grants office; we can also provide limited office space in support of graduate students working on grants solicited through CILAS.

CILAS Tinker Pre-Dissertation Travel Grants

Grad Division - Financial Support

Grad Division provides resources for finding fellowships for graduate students. More information is available on their financial support page. 


Graduate Student Association Funding (GSA)

Are you presenting your research in a conference?

GSA has created a Travel Grant program to award graduate and professional students grants of up to $300 or $500 to help you travel to conferences where you will be presenting their own professional work. 

Also see other funding opportunities