Be aware that financial support, including TAships, is not guaranteed in the Masters Program. Please consult with your potential faculty mentor regarding financial support.

Student Financial Support

The Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program is committed to fully funding PhD students during their academic career in MCDB. PhD financial support will come in the form of Graduate Student Research positions, Teaching Assistantships (TA), and fellowships. The current stipend is $36,000 annually. TAships and GSR positions cover tuition, fees, and health insurance.

Masters students can apply for Teaching Assistantships, if available, for their duration in the MCDB Graduate Program. Please note that non-resident tuition and the campus base fee are not covered by Teaching Assistantships and that funding is not guaranteed for Masters students.

Funding Types

Extramural Funding

We encourage all graduate students to apply for extramural funding that they may qualify for, such as, but not limited to:

UCSB Graduate Student Resource Center

The UCSB Graduate Student Resource Center website provides further information about extramural funding opportunities.

Graduate Student Researchers

A GSR is a graduate student who assists faculty members with scholarly research. These positions are funded from the faculty member’s grant.


Must be an active registered student in good standing.

Apply / Selection Process

Arranged and selected by a faculty member / principal investigator (PI)

Support Coverage / Length

Any GSR employed for at least 35% will have Full Fee Remission. This will come from the grant, and will cover Tuition, Student Service Fee, Campus based Fees, Health Insurance, and any applicable non-resident tuition. Additionally, the GSR will earn a monthly salary based on their appointment. Appoints of less than 35% but greater than 24% will get Partial Fee Remission. (See Teaching Assistantships section for details).

Teaching Assistantships

TAs apprentice under the active tutelage and supervision of a faculty member. All MCDB PhD students are required to TA at least 2 quarters during their time at UCSB.


Must be an active registered student in good standing. New MCDB applicants are automatically considered and continuing students must apply quarterly.

Apply / Selection Process

The Graduate Advisor sends out a call and tries to match faculty course needs with students available. Once offers are sent out, students must sign the hiring paperwork before their Fee remission will be processed.

Support Coverage

Any TAship at least 25% will include partial Fee Remission. This will cover Tuition, Student Service Fee, and Health Insurance. The student is responsible for the balance (~$328) unless it is being covered by Block Grant or NSF or other such support. Additionally, the TA will earn a monthly salary based on their appointment. (Note that most TA positions are 50% appointments).

TA Appointments

Graduate students who are not in the MCDB program may apply for a TA appointment with the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Applicants must submit an application, CV/Resume, and unofficial transcripts to If an appointment does becomes available the department will contact you directly.

Departmental Fellowships

MCDB is deeply appreciative of the funding provided by foundations and private donors. Fellowships are a critical contribution, recognizing excellent and independent work by students. Eligible incoming and continuing students, including those nominated for campus-wide fellowships, are considered for departmental fellowships.

Jane Altman Fellowship

Awarded to a continuing student who is conducting bioinformatics and genetic research in an area that impacts human health. Patricia and Bill Altman generously established this fellowship as an endowment in memory of their daughter, Jane, who unfortunately passed away in 2015. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1985 with a B.A. in Political Science. Jane’s work at Illumina, Inc. inspired her passion for improving human health care through the research and application of genetics and genomics. She was a firm believer in Illumina’s mission to transform human health through DNA sequencing, genotyping, and gene expression.

Amgen Foundation Fellowship

Quarterly fellowship awarded to incoming PhD students. The Amgen Foundation has supported MCDB Graduate Students for over 20 years.

The Carbon-Clarke Graduate Student Fellowship Fund

Awarded to incoming and continuing PhD students who are engaged in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology research. John Carbon and Louise Clarke were MCDB Faculty members who played key roles in building the MCDB Department as faculty members. Now Emeritit, they continue to support graduate education through these generous Fellowships.

The Chang Fund

Shing and Sheng-Yung Chang are alumni of UCSB’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate programs. The Changs established this fund to benefit and recognize Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Program graduate students at UCSB. Chang Fellowships are awarded to incoming and continuing students and to recognize outstanding student presenters in the Friday Noon Seminar with cash prizes.

Devlin Fellowship

Established in memory of Jean Devlin, who helped establish the Pharmacology major at UCSB, the first of its kind in the US. A fellowship recognizes the top performance of a second year PhD student in the Preliminary Exams, as evaluated by a faculty committee.

Holmok Fellowship

Established in the 1980s by the estate of George Holmok, the Fellowship supports MCDB graduate students engaged in research related to understanding, preventing, diagnosing, or treating human cancer.

Rathmann Graduate Fellowship

The George and Joy Rathmann Graduate Fellowships support students conducting research at the interface between Molecular & Cellular Biology, Physical Sciences and Engineering by supporting graduate students.

Ellen Schamberg Burley Award

The Ellen Schamberg Burley Award provides assistance for senior level graduate students to present their research at scientific meetings. The fund was established by faculty, colleagues, family and friends of Ellen Schamberg Burley as a continuing tribute to a student who distinguished herself both as an undergraduate and graduate scholar in the biological sciences at UCSB. Students eligible for this award must be advanced to candidacy, but have not exceeded the Department's normative time for completion of the degree. An e-mail to faculty in EEMB and MCDB is sent out in early March requesting nomination letters.

Charles Storke Fellowship

The Storke Graduate Fellowships were initiated in 1996 through the generosity of Charles A. Storke II, former associate-editor and publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press, whose family has a long association with UC Santa Barbara. Part of a much larger commitment to the university, this fellowship fund is intended to help bolster the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology by providing support for its promising doctoral students.

Yzurdiaga Fellowship

Local philanthropists Joe and Pat Yzurdiaga have a strong commitment to supporting innovative researchers at UCSB through a variety of programs, including these MCDB graduate fellowships, awarded to incoming and continuing students.

Campus Fellowships and Grants

First year students will be nominated for New Student Central Fellowships by the Graduate Admissions Committee. All applicants are automatically considered.

Continuing Central Fellowships are available to continuing students in various stages of their degree progress. The department as well as the Office of Graduate Division will send out the fellowship call to continuing students via email in mid to late Winter quarter. Graduate Division will review the packets and choose the Department Nominees.


Departmental Block Grant

Graduate Program funds are used to cover costs of first year rotating PhD students (i.e. tuition, health insurance, Non-Resident tuition, and Stipend). No additional application necessary.