NRES is committed to funding our campus graduate students at a level that allows them to concentrate on their studies and their research. Consequently, it is very rare for a student to be admitted who is not funded.
NRES offers three types of funding:
- Research Assistantships (RAs)
- Teaching Assistantships (TAs)
NRES offers fellowships for new graduate students and encourages applicants to apply December 15th to have their applications considered for University fellowships. There is no separate fellowship application process; simply complete the application for admission. Fellowships provide a stipend and a tiution and partial fee waiver. Not every fellowship is offered every year, but NRES fellowships include:
- Jonathan Baldwin Turner Graduate Fellowship (provides a tuition and full fee waiver)
- O'Dell Fellowship in Soil Science
- Illinois Distinguished Fellowship
- Graduate College Fellowships for Underrepresented Students
The most common source of funding for NRES graduate students is a 50% research assistantship (RA) that is provided by the adviser. This is why we strongly recommend that all applicants identify a faculty member who is willing to advise and fund them. It is the key to admission in the majority of cases. Any assistantship appointment of 25% or greater provides a tuition and partial fee waiver.
There are also three RAs provided by NRES:
- The Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Research Assistantship for Underrepresented Students
This is a two year 50% RA available to MS and PhD students on a competitive basis. To be considered, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the Graduate College’s Fellowship for Underrepresented Students (UI-FUS) and apply by December 15th. NRES will require that advisers nominate students during round one of the Graduate College’s fellowship competition. If students receive the UI-FUS then the RA will become available for use during that calendar year by another NRES student. For Masters level students who receive the UI-FUS, which is a one year award only, NRES will provide a 50% RA for the second year of their program. Because the UI-FUS is a 3 year award for PhD students, no additional NRES support will be provided for students receiving those awards. The existence of this RA is contingent upon the availability of HATCH funds.
- The Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences MacIntire-Stennnis Forestry Research Assistantship
The duration and percentage of this award varies based on the available funding. To be eligible, applicants must be pursuing graduate education and research related to forestry and have identified an appropriate NRES faculty member who is willing to advise them. The existence of this RA is contingent upon the availability of MacIntire-Stennis funds.
- The Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Departmental Research Assistantship
The duration and percentage of this award varies based on the available funding. All NRES graduate applicants who have identified an NRES faculty member willing to advise them will be considered for this RA.
For students interested in gaining teaching experience, there are many teaching assistantships (TAs) available within NRES and across campus. Because it is important for beginning graduate students to get a strong start on their research, NRES does not usually admit students relying on TAs for the bulk of their first year funding. Continuing students interesting in TAing should talk with their adviser. They can also inquire with Student Services about which courses have been awarded TAs. Any assistantship appointment of 25% or greater provides a tuition and partial fee waiver.
Funding Your Research
All graduate students, particularly those pursuing a doctorate, should begin the process of seeking research funds as early in their graduate education as possible. This type of support can reduce financial stress and help you improve the quality of your thesis. NRES is a very diverse department, so this page provides general resources. Students should talk with their advisers and other students in their research areas about opportunities that may be available.
Downers Grove Garden Club
This scholarship is sponsored by the Downers Grove Illinois Garden Club and recognizes scholarly excellence and research potential of M.S. or Ph.D. students working in the following fields: conservation, landscape architecture/design, natural resources, human dimensions of the environment, or horticulture. Three $1,000 scholarships are generally awarded.
Odell Graduate Soil Science Scholarship
The Odell Scholarship is awarded on an annual basis to an outstanding graduate student whose research is related to soil science, among students of similar ability. Recipients of the Odell Graduate Scholarship in Soil Science must have successfully completed at least one and preferably more semesters of graduate work at the University of Illinois. They must also have demonstrated superior academic ability and the potential for productive research in a discipline involving the study of soils. The same student may receive the Odell Scholarship for more than one year. One $1000 award is available.
J. Nelson Spaeth and William R. Boggess Graduate Scholarship in Forestry
This scholarship is in honor of two distinguished former heads of the Department of Forestry, J. Nelson Spaeth, and William R. Boggess. This Scholarship recognizes scholarly excellence and research potential in graduate students specializing in any area related to forestry. The scholarship is awarded annually on a competitive basis. One $1,000 award is available.