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Financial Support for Graduate Students

Paul H. Stelson Graduate Fellowship

Stelson Fellowships go to outstanding graduate applicants who shows the greatest potential for success in graduate school and demonstrate tremendous promise as a researcher. This prestigious $2,000 fellowship is named for Dr. Paul Stelson, who enjoyed a long and admirable career as a nuclear physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He also served as an adjunct professor of physics at UT for 25 years. His family established the fellowship to assist young scientists with their graduate education and to carry on the strong relationship in physics research between UT and ORNL. To be considered for this fellowship, please contact Dr. Marianne Breinig at

Graduate Assistantships in Physics

The University of Tennessee Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a variety of financial support possibilities for graduate students. The graduate teaching assistantship offers a stipend of $20,000. Health insurance will be provided. Tuition and maintenance fees for each semester will be waived, but GTAs will be required to pay a Programs and Services Fee, a Technology Fee, a Campus Facilities Fee, and a Transportation Fee. Note that the proposed teaching stipend for the GTA, although paid over 12 months, is for two semesters of teaching dutites. This amount can be supplemented through extra research, teaching, or grading duties that become available in the summer. GTA duties may involve teaching recitations, laboratory supervision, grading, and/or proctoring. GTAs are expected to devote a maximum of six credit hours equivalent per semester to these duties for the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, they are expected to carry the course load of a full-time graduate student (nine credit hours per semester). We also offer a limited number of fellowships, which provide increments to the teaching assistantship for students with records of outstanding achievement.

Other Opportunities
Graduate Fellowships through the Bredesen Center

The Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education unites extensive and complementary resources at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research related to energy. the Bredesen Center offers a doctoral degree in Energy Science and Engineering with plans for a PhD program in Data Science ane Engineering. All applicants for these programs are also considered to be applicants for fellowships awarded by the Bredesen Center.

Joint Institute for Advanced Materials Fellowships

To encourage graduate-student engagement, JIAM offers stipend supplements for up to three years to outstanding graduate students pursuing PhD degrees in the advanced materials area. To date, JIAM Graduate Fellowships have been awarded to students in several departments including: chemistry, chemical and biomolecular engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, materials science and engineering, and physics and astronomy. For more information on JIAM’s Graduate Student Fellowship Program, contact JIAM Fellowship Committee Chair Dayakar Penumadu by e-mail at

University of Tennessee Graduate Fellowships and Other Funding Sources

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