Graduate Student Funding

Full Funding

The Department provides support for graduate students for five years, paying fees and a yearly stipend ($46,722 for 2023-2024). Out-of-state tuition is paid for the first year only; students are expected to become California residents after the first year. During the second year, the Department supports students as Graduate Student Researchers (who carry out specific projects in faculty laboratories) or as Graduate Student Instructors. Faculty thesis research advisors provide financial support (stipend and fees) for the final three years.

International students who hold neither dual citizenship in the United States nor Permanent Resident status cannot become residents of California. Accordingly, the students' research advisors must pay out-of-state tuition for the third through the final year.

Receiving Pay

All incoming graduate students are guaranteed 5 years of full support as long as students make satisfactory academic progress. Compensation matters are coordinated through the Graduate Student Affairs Office in conjunction with the BRS Human Resources. You will be paid either via payroll, student awards and fellowship or a combination of both. Consult with the Graduate Student Affairs Office in regards to how you are specifically paid. You must be enrolled in 12 units before your payroll or student award/fellowship can be processed.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)

GSRs perform research broadly related to their degree programs under the direction of a faculty member or authorized Principal Investigator. Research project(s) constitutes the dissertation work done by the student to obtain a Ph.D. degree. The wages for a GSR generally comes from contract or grant funds; hence, it is necessary that a student supported as a GSR pick a research topic that carries such funds. For PMB & GGM students, GSR appointments are the common means of support for graduate students for those terms in which they do not hold a GSI appointment. It is also often the GSR that supplements income for fellowships or appointments.

Graduate Student Instructor (GSI)

The general duties of a graduate student instructor (GSI) are to aid in the instruction, conduct, and grading of a course. Normally this will involve attending the lectures for the course, setting aside 2 or 3 hours per week for consultation with students in the course, leading discussions sections or lab instruction, and assisting in the development and grading of homework problems and quizzes. The department regards experience as a GSI to be highly valuable to a student whether or not a teaching career is chosen. Because of this, we require that all Ph.D. candidates serve as a GSI for a total of 2 semesters during their graduate studies (usually in their 2nd and 3rd years).

Reader Positions

Reader positions are often available each semester. As a reader you will assist Faculty instructors in course correcting exams, grading homework, and other non-teaching tasks. Current rates are on the Human Resources website ( Positions will be advertised via email at the beginning of each semester. Earnings from Reader positions are in addition to your annual salary rate. 


GSR, GSI, Reader wages are disbursed through the payroll system. If appointed as a GSR, GSI, or Reader, you will be paid on the first of the following month. For example, your paycheck for August will be available on September 1 (or the last workday before September 1). On occasion, the payroll system can have problems. Therefore, be sure to respond promptly to any requests from the Grad Office, Payroll, or HR and promptly report any paycheck you perceive to be late or wrong. Sign up for Direct Deposit by logging onto UCPath.

Student Awards

Many student awards are disbursed through the Campus Award System in CalCentral. This system includes payments for University fellowships, block grants, special stipends, travel awards, and outside awards and fellowships. Pay dates can be sporadic but you will notice a pattern once payments begin.

To view your awards, log-in to CalCentral, then My Finances, and View Awards.  Any active awards and disbursement dates will appear under Gift Aid. 

Important: Unless you are an international student, taxes are not withheld from these payments even though the federal government expects you to pay taxes on this income. You will not receive a W-2 form for this compensation as these awards are not wages. You must keep track of your compensation. Instead, you will access the IRS Form 1098-T available via your CalCentral account.

Sign up for Direct Deposit here (this is different than direct deposit for payroll): Direct Deposit

Your stipend for the 2023-2024 Academic Year is $46,722. Unless you have a fellowship that pays in lump sums or on a different disbursement schedule students should expect to be receiving about $3696 per month starting in August (paid September 1). This may increase to a higher monthly amount depending on the assigned rate by UC. A funding summary letter sent to you will include details of funding sources and how this annual rate is met.

Fellowship Supplementation for External, Competitive Fellowships

A student who applies for and is awarded a self-initiated external, competitive fellowship has the potential to receive income greater than the standard PMB stipend. Opportunities for grants and fellowships will be communicated to you throughout the year and are found on the PMB and Graduate Division websites.

Graduate Division:

The supplementation policy is subject to change and the department must comply with the terms and conditions set by UC and/or the fellowship granting agency before being able to determine any supplement. It is the student's responsibility to budget accordingly if income fluctuates between semesters.

NSF fellows:

  • Receive a supplement to meet the PMB income minimum while on NSF tenure. If the student is a GSI while in the first year of NSF tenure, there is no supplement above the GSI wages.
  • ​May be a GSI while on fellowship tenure as long as NSF continues to allow it.
  • Required to GSI for two semesters

Example 1:
Student on NSF year 1 tenure and does not GSI in that year.
NSF $37K + $9,722 dept. or PI support = $46,722 total

Example 2:
Student on NSF year 1 tenure and accepts GSI position in that year.
NSF $37K + GSI wages (~$14,379) = $ 51,379 total

Other external fellowship recipients:

  • If the fellowship is below the standard PMB stipend level, the department or PI will supplement the fellowship to meet the PMB stipend minimum and pay registration or health fees not covered by the fellowship.
  • Additional earnings may be received if a student fellow were to be a GSI while on fellowship tenure. Any GSI wages will count towards bringing up to the PMB stipend level.
  • Required to GSI for two semesters

Example 1:
Student on Fellowship that covers $20K in stipend and fees; student accepts a GSI in that year.
Fellowship $20K + GSI wages (~$14,379) + dept. or PI support $12,343 = $46,722 total

Example 2:
Student on Fellowship that covers $38K in stipend and all fees; student accepts a GSI in that year.
Fellowship $38K + GSI wages (~$14,379) = $52,379 total

Training Grants

Students who receive a training stipend through a UC Berkeley departmental training grant will have the income count towards the annual stipend limit for the academic year. If the grant is below the standard PMB stipend level, the department or PI will supplement the grant to bring it up to the PMB stipend level and will pay registration or health insurance fees not covered by the grant. Any GSI wages will count towards bringing compensation up to the PMB stipend level.

Additional earnings may not be received if a student were to be a GSI while on grant funding tenure that exceeds the annual stipend level.

Example 1:
Student on a training grant that covers $25K in stipend and some/all fees. Student accepts a GSI in that year.
Training grant $25K + GSI wages (~$14,379) + dept. or PI support $7,343 = $46,722

Example 2:
Student on a training grant that covers $25K in stipend and some/all fees and does not GSI in that year.
Training grant $25K + dept. or PI support $21,722 = $46,722

Important: Some funding combinations might earn higher income during a given semester. It is the student’s responsibility to budget for changes in income during the year. For instance, you might be a GSI + receiving training grants in a fall semester. This will inevitably provide you with higher monthly payments during that term. But when the GSI is done, and you only receive training grant income in the following semesters, you must have saved extra income earned in fall to ensure you have enough carryover funds for spring and summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I get paid?

  • GSR/GSI appointments are paid via UCPath and typically disburse after the previous month (ie. August pays out in early September). It is best to check UCPath for the actual pay dates since they do vary depending on the calendar month, holidays, and if the pay period ends on a weekend. You can log-in here to UCPath.
  • Fellowships/Awards and other stipends that are not wages are paid via CalCentral. Go to My Finances, View Awards, then Gift Aid. It will show the amount you will be paid for the term. These are often set up to disburse at the beginning of the month, but do also vary depending on the award source and fund availability. 

Where does my payment come from?

  • GSRs for 2nd years and beyond are funded by your faculty advisor. GSI wages are paid by PMB. Both payout via UCPath. Fellowships/stipend awards are funded by varying sources. You may receive a combination of funding from both GSRs/GSI and stipend awards as a way to ensure you receive the minimum payment amount set by PMB. (ie. NSF in CalCentral + GSR in UCPath). It's important to have direct deposit set up in both systems. 

I'm getting emails about overdue tuition/fees - do I need to worry?

  • No, GSRs/GSIs and certain fellowships take a while to get processed by HR, but the fees will get paid. The department is responsible for covering all your tuition/fees unless you are told otherwise. No one will be cancelled for non-payment, so while the emails from the Registrar seem daunting - you will not lose access or be dropped from the semester. 

The paycheck I received is lower than the amount on the sheet, why? Are my paychecks getting taxed?    

  •  Any payments from UCPath are considered wages and will be taxed before your paycheck is issued. Payments from CalCentral are not taxed (unless you are an international student) and should be planned for accordingly. The PMB annual salary of $46,722 is calculated based on pre-tax income. Resources for tax support and information can be found here: Grad Assembly Tax Support

Graduate Fellowships

Although we guarantee support, students are encouraged to apply for all applicable fellowships to defray fees and stipends. Students automatically compete for UC Berkeley-sponsored fellowships (University Fellowship Competition) when submitting the university application. The National Science Foundation's Graduate Fellowship Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Predoctoral Fellowship Program in the Biological Sciences have served as the main sources of extramural support for graduate students in the past.

For an estimated budget of student costs please visit the university Financial Aid office at

Other excellent extramural fellowship sources: