How do Molecular and Environmental Toxicology students pay for graduate training?

Financial aid is available to all METC students in the form of research assistantships, traineeships, and fellowships. In 2014-2015, the METC recommends to the faculty that research assistants receive a stipend of at least $25,000 for 12 months and pay no tuition. First semester Ph.D. students rotate into three different laboratories as research assistants, choosing a final laboratory and mentor at the end of rotations (normally by December 1).

Ph.D. students with health-related research interests are eligible for several training grants on campus including: Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences); the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, and the Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Chemistry-Biology Interface; and Cellular and Molecular Parasitology, and Biotechnology programs. Outstanding students are nominated for University traineeships and encouraged to compete for national awards.

It is assumed that all applicants will need financial aid. There is no separate application for most kinds of financial aid (for exceptions, see below). You should be aware that all traineeships and most fellowships and research assistantships are awarded to students registered for the Ph.D. degree. Students registered for the M.S. degree may well have to provide their own support for some period of their training, particularly the first year. The types of financial aid available to graduate students in Molecular and Environmental Toxicology are as follows:


Awarded through campus-wide competition; no additional application form is required.

  • Advanced Opportunity Fellowships – Qualified minority and economically disadvantaged non-minority applicants may be nominated by METC for this award. Deadline for receipt of all application materials is December 1, although later applications will be considered if funds are still available. If you believe you might qualify for this award, please call it to our attention when submitting your application.
  • Extramural Fellowships – Awarded by agencies outside the UW-Madison. Deadlines, eligibility and procedures vary. We encourage applicants to explore these possibilities and apply for any appropriate awards. Please check with your own institution’s financial aids or fellowships office or the UW-Madison Graduate School Office of Fellowships for information. Some agencies that make awards follow.
  • Predoctoral Fellowships – National Science Foundation (November deadline); Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowships in Biological Sciences administered by the National Research Council and open to foreign nationals (November deadline).
    • Predoctoral Fellowships for Minorities – National Science Foundation; Ford Foundation; the Committee for Institutional Cooperation.

Research Assistantships 

These are provided by individual professors from their research funds to support students working on appropriate projects in their laboratories. The majority of students in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology program are supported by their mentor’s research funding. If you are admitted to the program, your file will be made available to professors who are seeking graduate students. However, once you are admitted you should take the initiative in finding a research advisor by contacting individual professors whose work interests you, using the METC Faculty Directory as a guide.


Funds provided by the Graduate School and METC are available to allow incoming Ph.D. students one semester of rotations. New students rotate through three labs, each for one month, during the Fall semester before the student decides on an advisor. Rotations are required of all incoming Ph.D. students.

The stipend for a rotator research assistantship for 2014-2015 is $25,000 (12-month rate) plus remission of all tuition. The student pays segregated fees, which for 2014-2015 were $569 per semester. Tuition rates for full-time graduate students for Fall semester tuition for 2014-2015 is $$5,932 for Wisconsin residents and $12,596 for non-residents. Thus, the tuition remission for research assistants provides a considerable cost savings. Research assistants are eligible for health insurance at minimal cost.


  • NIEHS Training Grant – METC has a training grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This grant provides support for the best-qualified students who are preparing themselves for research or teaching careers in a health-related field. This grant has been renewed through June 30, 2018. Incoming students may become eligible to compete for these training grant positions early in their graduate school careers in the program. Students accepting traineeships will be expected to fulfill the core curriculum requirements for the training grant. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are registered for the Ph.D. degree and have full academic standing are eligible to compete for these traineeships.
  • Other Training Grants – Some of our students are eligible for support from other training grants on campus at some time after entry into the Ph.D. program. Examples are Molecular and Environmental Toxicology graduate students placed with professors at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research (Department of Oncology), the Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center (Department of Human Oncology), the Chemistry-Biology Interface training grant, or the Cellular and Molecular Parasitology training grant. Other students may be eligible for support from the Biotechnology training grant. In each case, the student must meet the eligibility and participation requirements of the training grant to which they are applying.

Links To Funding Sources for Gradaute Study

This list is not intended to be all inclusive