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Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Ph.D. Program Support Policy

Our Ph.D. students (in good academic standing) currently receive an annual stipend of $34,000. In addition to the stipend, the full costs of tuition, fees, and health insurance are covered for all Ph.D. students. The total support package ranges between $47,019.18 to $63,121.18 annually, depending on residency status. Primary sources of support are the University of California block grants, training grants from federal agencies such as NIH and NSF, teaching assistantships, graduate fellowships, and faculty research funds. Students are expected to complete the Ph.D. in five years. Approvals by the Thesis Advisor and Department are required for support beyond the departmental time limits. To be eligible for support, doctoral students must meet university and departmental requirements for good academic standing. Students are encouraged to join a research group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to be guaranteed the full annual support level throughout their tenure in the program.

Eligible students (U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents) must establish California residency before the start of their second academic year. Students who fail to establish California residency by the start of the second academic year will be responsible for covering non-resident supplemental tuition and fees out-of-pocket. More information about residency can be found online.

Departmental Fellowships and Awards

The department selects its best and brightest for these merit-based awards. 
  • Teddy G. Traylor Award: Professor Traylor was one of the early members of our faculty. Colleagues and friends recognize his scientific and personal achievements by funding this award for exceptional graduate students who have recently Advanced to Candidacy. Award amount, $3,000, number of recipients vary each year. Requires an application from the student and a faculty nomination.
  • Bruno H. Zimm Award: The Bruno Zimm Graduate Award is named for UC San Diego Professor of Chemistry Bruno Zimm, a pioneer in the study of the biophysical properties of nucleic acids and proteins. The $1,000 award is given to one full-time Ph.D. graduate student who has proven themselves to be an outstanding researcher in any area of chemistry and biochemistry.  The award is made possible through a gift from Larry S. Millstein, Ph.D. (Chemistry, ’87), and his wife Robin Taylor.
  • Teaching Assistant Excellence Award: Over 300 teaching assistants participate in the teaching of our undergraduate curriculum in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Those who show repeated excellence in their efforts receive a monetary award. Nominated by instructors.
  • Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Outstanding Dissertation Award: Each year, approximately 25-35 students graduate from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Earning a PhD is an incredible achievement and the Department wants to further recognize the work of our most exceptional graduate students. The department has therefore established an Annual Dissertation Award for those who have completed truly exceptional dissertations. Three to five students will be selected annually to receive the $1,000 award each. 
  • Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship: This prestigious fellowship recognizes research excellence of current Ph.D. students and provides support for one quarter with an additional $3,000 bonus for the Fellow to use towards research support.

Interdisciplinary Training Grant Programs

Interdisciplinary research and collaboration at UCSD is enhanced through a variety of training grants. These programs provide financial support for exceptional graduate and postdoctoral scholars and also unite researchers from across campus and throughout the research community in special seminars, retreats, and courses. Students are usually placed on training grants in their second year or later.

Campus Fellowships and Awards

Below is a list of common campus fellowships and awards for incoming students in the chemical and biochemical sciences. If the fellowship program awards a lower stipend than the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department support level, then supplemental funding through the department will be provided. Some fellowships may also include on-campus graduate student housing, travel, and supplies.

External Fellowships

Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships. These are important career honors to have listed on your resume! The department supplements all fellowships to meet and sometimes to exceed the standard departmental stipend. Application deadlines for competitive fellowships, such as NSF Graduate Fellowships, are often up to a year in advance.

Learn more about fellowship opportunities via the following methods:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

It is often required to prove eligibility for student aid and graduate fellowships. The forms for FAFSA are available in financial aid offices at colleges and universities or can be ordered by calling 1-800-433-3243. You can also apply online at

Department Travel Awards


  • Only UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry PhD and Thesis MS students may apply.
  • Student must be accepted to present a poster/talk.
  • For consideration, please submit the Online Travel Application, including the following supplemental materials;
    • Poster/talk abstract, Conference acceptance letter


  • Students are eligible for ONE travel award during their tenure.
  • All application materials must be submitted at least three weeks before travel occurs.
  • Maximum travel award is $500. Reimbursement provided for registration, travel costs (i.e. airfare, mileage), and lodging.
  • Rolling Application Model: Students can submit applications at any time.