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Assistantships & Funding

Financial assistance for graduate study may be obtained through several avenues within the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State.

Different Types of Support

The department currently offers financial assistance as: Departmental Assistantships or Grant-Based Assistantships. To be eligible for these sources of financial assistance, a graduate applicant must complete the Graduate Application Form (see How to Apply).

Whereas the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering would like to provide financial assistance to all qualified students, financial assistance is generally awarded on a competitive basis considering qualifications such as GRE scores, GPAs in previous undergraduate and graduate programs, letters of recommendation, and statements of purpose.

Applications for admission and assistantship support will be accepted at any time, but decisions regarding financial assistance are generally made before December 15th (for August admission) and August 15th (for January admission).

Tuition and fees are also covered for students receiving assistantship support.  Please see Penn State Tuititon and Fee Schedules for current rates of standard ½-time assistantships.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to correspond directly with individual faculty members to inquire about assistanships.

Current Department Assistantships

A variable number of assistantships are available each year to top applicants.  department assistantships and grant-based assistantships and other forms of support.  Any applicant that indicates a need for assistantship support will be considered.

  • For information regarding department assistantships please contact our Graduate Program Chair: 

Dr. Jeffrey Catchmark, Professor Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

  • In addition to those provided by the department, the following research assistantships are currently available:
Summer/Fall 2018
PhD Student
Ag & Biological Engineering

Dr. Choi’s lab is looking for a qualified Ph. D. student who is enthusiastic to develop an automatic navigation system for ground vehicles in a plant health monitoring system.

The qualification that we are looking for includes 1. having strong programming skills in one or two programming languages, 2. having experiences in image processing, computer vision, and machine learning, and 3. most importantly, being a self-motivated learner.

Daeun Dana Choi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
301A Forest Resources Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Email:
Office: 814-865-7154

PhD Student
Ag & Biological Engineering or BioRenewable Systems

A doctoral level graduate assistantship is available for qualified applicants interested in Safety and Health for Agricultural and BioRenewable Industries. Research opportunities include safety interventions, education/training, hazard risk assessment, epidemiology, or program evaluation.

Michael L. Pate, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Nationwide Insurance Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health
Extension Safety Specialist
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
110 Research Unit A
University Park, PA 16802
Email:
814-865-2808

Grants and other support opportunities are available on an ongoing basis.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact faculty who match their research interests.

Other Financial Assistance

The Office of Fellowships and Awards is responsible for assisting Penn State graduate students seeking funding opportunities. For more information, contact the Fellowship and Awards Office, 314 Kern Graduate Building, University Park, PA 16802, (814) 865-2514, or e-mail sec9@psu.edu.

Students should begin looking for funding approximately one year in advance of their need for funding and stay in close communication with their department or program head. Competitions for funding have particularly early deadlines. Students should investigate as many funding options as possible to avoid losing out on valuable opportunities.

For prospective students, information about other opportunities can be found on the links below:

For current students, information about other opportunities can be found on the links below:

Summer Tuition Assistance Program

For graduate students who need to be enrolled during the summer, an application can be made for Summer Tuition Assistance through the College of Agricultural Sciences Graduate Program Office (if the student has been on departmental assistantship support in previous semesters). Priority for tuition assistance will be given to those students who need to enroll in graduate courses (excluding graduate research credits). Students should work with their faculty advisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator, prior to the arrival of summer, to make arrangements for summer tuition and summer assistantship support or wage payroll support.

Graduate students receiving assistantships and/or fellowships are subject to taxation by the U.S. Federal Government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Note that tuition waivers are considered non-taxable income). All students (including international students) pay federal, state, and local taxes during each pay period. U.S. citizens also pay Social Security taxes each pay period. Local taxes include the local service tax and the local wage tax.

International students can learn more about tax treaties and other tax information through the University Office of Global Programs at 814-865-6348.