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Financial Aid

There are various resources to help finance graduate education in planning for both Master’s and Ph.D. students.

Work Study, Loans, and Grants

The University’s Office of Student Financial Aid administers a variety of financial aid opportunities for graduate students including work study, loans, and a very limited number of grants.  Students need to refer to that Office for more detailed information on the types of aid available from the University and the application process. 

Graduate School Fellowships

The Graduate School administers some funding for graduate students in the form of Fellowships.  These include:  

University Fellowships
Students intending to pursue a Ph.D. with an undergraduate grade point of at least 3.7 and high GRE scores may be nominated by the Department for a campus-wide competition for University fellowships.

Advanced Opportunity Fellowships
Candidates for these fellowships must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents and members of one of the following targeted minority groups:

  • African American/Black
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano/as, Puerto Rican, Cuban
  • Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Hmong
  • Indigenous Peoples of Hawaii, Alaska or the U.S. Territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Marianas Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands)


Students who participated in a McNair Program; are PEOPLE Program Graduates; OR are  Wisconsin residents who are first generation to complete a Bachelors degree and who participated in one of the following TRIO Programs: Upward Bound, Talent Search, Educational Opportunities Centers, Student Support Services, or McNair.

Unless otherwise indicated, students applying for fellowships administered by the Graduate School or the department should indicate this on the admission application form.

URPL Scholarships/Fellowships

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning also offers several small scholarships.  The scholarships include: 

Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association Scholarship 
This is a 2 year scholarship offered by the Department through a generous endowment established by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association.  The award is based on demonstrated financial need, scholarship, and community service.  The scholarship is only available to Wisconsin residents who are graduates of a Wisconsin public high school. 

Richard B. Andrews Scholarship 
This scholarship was established in memory of Emeritus Professor Richard Andrews.   Professor Andrews was a nationally known urban and regional planner who retired in 1981.  He held appointments in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning and the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics in the UW School of Business.  The scholarship award goes to an outstanding student in need of financial support.

 Jerome Kaufman Scholarship 
This scholarship was established by the Department in honor of Emeritus Professor Jerry Kaufman upon his retirement.  The scholarship is intended to support graduate student study in urban and regional planning in issues related to older American cities, food systems, and social justice and equity.

Loula D. Lakser Fellowship 
This scholarship is intended to support an outstanding student in need of financial support.

National Scholarships/Fellowships

The American Planning Association and many of the divisions within the APA offer scholarships and fellowships targeted at planning students.  The APA also has information about scholarships and fellowships offered by other planning-related organizations.  

Many federal and non-federal agencies administer fellowship programs which cover the cost of tuition and fees and a stipend for graduate studies.  Additional information on these fellowships and others can be obtained from the Graduate School or from the applicant's undergraduate institution.

Project and Research Assistantships

A limited number of research and project assistantships are available to planning students to work on grant funded research projects. Recipients of assistantships must be able to perform the required duties, and must have either some practical planning experience or have completed a year or more of graduate work in planning.

Faculty with research projects hire students to assist them for an academic year, or on a semester or summer basis. Assistants receive a salary based on the time they devote to the project and pay only resident fees. Students whose work on a faculty research project meets the requirements for a Master's or doctoral thesis will be appointed as a research assistant.

The qualifications for the selection of both research and project assistants are determined by the faculty in charge of the research. Students are not restricted to projects within the planning department and are encouraged to apply for assistantships offered by other academic departments and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

A detailed list of assistantships currently available at various departments around the UW-Madison campus is available from the Student Job Center.

Part Time Employment

Madison's setting as a major governmental and educational center provides many opportunities for students interested in planning or related part-time employment. Many students are able to find planning-related jobs with these organizations during the academic year and in the summer.  Students can often use this work experience to fulfill their internship requirement.  Since planning is an applied field, the experience students receive working with these agencies is a valuable part of their planning education.  Positions are often advertised through URPL. 

In the past, students have found employment with:

  • Wisconsin State Government (e.g., Department of Transportation; Department of Natural Resources; Department of Administration; Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Department of Commerce)
  • University Departments (e.g., URPL, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Extension, Campus Planning)
  • Various local planning departments (e.g., Madison, Monona, Middleton, Dane County)
  • Various non-profit organizations
  • Private business (e.g., developers, utilities)
  • Local and national consultants

Some of these planning agencies hire students on a work study basis so it is important to apply for that type of funding if you are interested.

Beyond the planning-related employment suggested above, students will find the normal part-time employment opportunities available in a typical midsized metropolitan center.  A detailed list of employment opportunities currently available at various departments around UW-Madison campus is available from the Student Job Center web page.

International students

International student will also want to review the information compiled by International Student Services (ISS) regarding scholarships, fellowships and grants.