Graduate Financial Aid and Assistantships

We are committed to supporting all the incoming General Linguistics graduate students who have no other funding sources and who meet the department's criteria for satisfactory progress toward the degree for up to five years, subject to the availability of funding resources. The support takes the form of teaching assistantships in most cases, but can also include fellowships or research assistantships such as the University-sponsored Top Scholar Award (Research Assistantship) given to one incoming student during the first year. In order to maximize our ability to fund graduate students, we require students to apply for external funding sources (such as NSF graduate fellowships) once they become our graduate students, and assist them in the application process.

Financial aid may be available to minority students through the University of Washington, Office of Minority Affairs, Box 355845, Seattle, WA 98195-5845 or contact them by email at For more information on financial aid, write the University of Washington, Financial Aid Office, Box 355880, Seattle, WA 98195-5880 or contact them by email at

Federal and State Aid

The University of Washington Office of Student Financial Aid has information on a variety of types of aid for United States citizens and permanent residents, including tuition exemptions, graduate student work study, and loans. To qualify for these funds, it is necessary to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the annual priority date. This should be mailed by February 15 and received and date-stamped by the processor on or before February 28. For those who do not qualify for need-based aid, the Federal Direct Loan Program offers subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans. Contact the Financial Aid Office for information.

Teaching Assistantships in Linguistics

Teaching Assistantships are available to in-coming students and existing students. Incoming students are automatically considered for assistantships within the department.

Linguistics Award in Diversity Scholarship

Eligible students applying for admission to the PhD Program in General Linguistics are invited to compete for the Department's Linguistics Award in Diversity Scholarship (the LADS), a competitive, merit-based fellowship designed to further the diversity priorities of the department of Linguistics. These priorities, which are more fully outlined in our mission statement, include:

  • improve recruitment and retention of a more diverse student body, including speakers of endangered or understudied languages, speakers of stigmatized linguistic varieties, and people whose primary language is a signed language
  • expand the range of linguistic inquiry in the above language types
  • advance linguistics as a field toward the overall aim of understanding the human capacity for language

Please carefully review the information below before submitting your application.

Please direct questions about this award to: 

Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Linguistics
University of Washington
Box 352425
Seattle, WA 98195-2425

Tel: (206)543-2046

Information for Applicants

A complete LADS application will consist of a cover letter indicating your intent to apply for the award (no more than 1-page, single-spaced).  This letter should be included in your application to the PhD program.  In addition, be sure to include in your statement of purpose relevant information about your background and research trajectory and to provide along with or as your writing sample supplementary materials such as a copy of any published articles or essays demonstrating your work on the language or topic that forms the basis for your scholarly interest. 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • demonstrate life experience, linguistic background, or interests typically underrepresented in our field or department, and which would bring a diverse perspective to study and scholarship in the Department
  • demonstrate an educational history that shows tenacity and independent thought

This fellowship is open to US citizens and permanent residents.

Award Description

As resources allow, the department will offer to one incoming graduate student a five-year funding package.  This funding package will include 5 years (15 academic quarters) of support, but will be distinguished from our typical funding offers in that it will include one year (3 academic quarters) of fellowship support to provide uninterrupted research time for the awardee.  This fellowship will be awarded to students whose life experience and linguistic experience and interests provide them with perspectives typically underrepresented in our field.  In addition, we are looking for students whose educational trajectory to date shows evidence of independent thought and tenacity.  Prospective students interested in this opportunity are invited to express their interest in the statement of purpose included in their application for admission to the PhD program and to address these factors there.

The LADS includes three quarters of fellowship support (not Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship), with flexible timing.  The fellowship quarters may be used at a time determined to be most useful by the student, in consultation with their faculty advisor. 

E.g., The LADS may be distributed in Years 3-5 once the student is engaged in his/her own research

E.g., The LADS may be used in the first year, to allow a focus on completion of coursework and developing a plan of research

Teaching Assistantships in Other Departments

Assistantships are also sometimes available through other departments, particularly in the English Department and the foreign language departments. Although normally awarded to advanced students, they may be given to incoming students of exceptional experience or qualification. Native speakers of languages taught at the University of Washington are strongly encouraged to teach their language in the relevant department. The applicant should inquire with the language department, and keep the Linguistics Department informed. The deadline for application for a teaching assistantship in many departments is in January. Applicants able to teach Spanish, French, Italian, or Portuguese should send to the Linguistics Department supplemental Romance language teaching assistant application materials, described in the page on Teaching Assistantships in Romance Languages.

Teaching Assistantships in Romance Languages

The UW Linguistics Department can recommend to the UW Department of Romance Languages and Literature that an applicant be considered for a position teaching Romance languages. If you are applying to the General Linguistics Program and feel you are qualified to teach a Romance language, please indicate so in your application and include the materials listed at the language-appropriate website, below.

Deadline: To insure consideration for a Teaching Assistant appointment, see that your entire application reaches us by December 15.

General Information for TAs

Salary and Duties: Teaching Assistants receive bimonthly salary for each of the nine months of the academic year. (This sum is paid on the tenth and twenty-fifth days of the month, from October 10 to June 25.) Teaching Assistants receive a tuition waiver though they they are required to pay a number of fees. Teaching Assistants are expected to carry a minimum study program of ten applicable credit hours each quarter except Summer Quarter, when teaching assistants are only required to register for two credits. The UW Graduate School web pages show current salary amounts in Schedule #1 of the Graduate Student Service Appointment Salary Schedule.

Teaching Assistants' principal service to the University is to teach, under the supervision of a faculty member, one elementary linguistics class of about 24 students, meeting five hours each week. Teaching Assistants are given instruction at the beginning of the year and other advice and assistance as needed; supervisors and Teaching Assistants meet periodically for discussion of relevant problems. Teaching Assistants' duties, including class preparation, correction of papers and quizzes, office hours and meetings, amount to approximately twenty hours each week.

Eligibility and Renewal: Eligibility is dependent on admission to the Graduate School. Within the limits of financial possibility and subject to certain conditions, the most important of which are maintaining satisfactory progress toward a degree and demonstrating competence as classroom teachers, Teaching Assistants holding regular appointments will normally be reappointed annually for the full term of their eligibility.

Training: All newly appointed Teaching Assistants attend a training program that prepares them for their teaching assignments. New and returning appointees must be present for a required planning and training period and will be notified in writing when that training begins (usually mid-September). Training will include lectures by the faculty, filmed and live demonstrations of college language courses, practice readings, and the preparation of teaching and testing materials. Additionally, international students are required to attend the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) program which covers cross-cultural communication, teaching strategies, and second language practice.

Health Benefits: Teaching Assistants are eligible for the medical, dental and vision benefits provided by the University of Washington Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan. The health benefit provides full payment of Student Only coverage and 50% of the increment cost of coverage of spouse and/or children. A full description of the specific benefits for the current year may be found on the UW Graduate School TA/RA/SA insurance page. Benefits are usually similar from year to year.

Fellowships, Scholarships, Grants and Other Funding

A limited number of fellowships, traineeships and scholarships are available through the Graduate School to outstanding students in all fields of study leading to advanced degrees. Information regarding application procedures may be obtained by writing to the University of Washington, Graduate Fellowship and Assistantship Division, Box 351240, Seattle, WA 98195-1240. The Graduate School has excellent information including on external fellowships and grants. They also have diversity funding opportunities to apply for.

The University is eligible for Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (formerly National Resource Fellowships and Defense Education Act Title VI Fellowships) for graduate students who are studying critical languages (these fellowships are limited to students who are citizens of the United States or have permanent resident status). In the past, students in the Department of Linguistics have received such fellowships for study in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, Tibetan, Hindi, and Vietnamese. Application for FLAS Fellowships is made through the Jackson School of International Studies Office of Student Services.

The Department regularly recommends one or two first-year graduate students for Graduate School research assistantships and tuition waivers (sometimes included is a second and third year teaching assistantship contingent on satisfactory progress), but this is done without any special application being made by the students. One or two of each type are usually awarded to the Linguistics Department per year.

Another source of information is the National Science Foundation Research Fellowships web page.

Jacob Javits Fellowship: Graduate study and research
Eligibility: Eligibility is limited to individuals who at the time of application have not yet completed their first year of graduate study (for the purposes of this program, 'graduate study' refers to any post-undergraduate study) or will be entering graduate school in the next academic year. Twenty percent of the fellowships shall be awarded in the social sciences, twenty percent in the arts, and sixty percent in the humanities. A minimum of sixty percent of the awards shall be made to students who have no graduate credits. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens or nationals, permanent residents of the U.S., or citizens of any one of the Freely Associated States.

UCLA GRAPES Financial Support Database

Research Assistantships

Faculty members occasionally have short-term grants obtained outside our department, which may provide for research assistantships. These are rarely given to incoming students.