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Graduate Assistantships & Scholarships

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs)

GRA positions include full or partial tuition and a stipend for work. The School has a very limited number of these available as part of the admissions process. These assistantships provide 9 credits of tuition remission and a monthly stipend. Research institutes and individual faculty members sometimes hire GRAs using external funding (e.g. research grants and contracts). These GRA positions are handled directly by the center/institute or faculty member. So, it is sometimes worth contacting a faculty member directly (someone who matches your interests) to see if they have positions. Listed below are a few of the research centers where MURPs have found GRA positions.

General information about University Graduate Assistantships is available here.

Center for Urban Studies

The mission of the Center is to promote and facilitate the conduct of research and community service for faculty and students on urban issues relevant to the metropolitan area. The Center is an established and ongoing link between the University and the community. The Center provides the infrastructure by which the assets of the University can be accessed by the community, and a means by which the University can access the community as a research laboratory.

Population Research Center

The Population Research Center (PRC) is an interdisciplinary public service, research, and training unit for population-related data and research for the State of Oregon.

Institute on Aging

The Institute on Aging at Portland State University gathers some of the top researchers and instructors in the field to provide much-needed education and insight into our aging population.

Community Environmental Services (CES)

Community Environmental Services (CES) is a research and service unit within the Center for Urban Studies in the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. CES has provided high quality research, technical assistance, data collection, and educational outreach services in the areas of solid waste management, recycling, waste prevention, and other resource conservation and business sustainability issues since the late 1980's.

CES employs between 15-20 students annually. Over 80% of CES staff are graduate students from programs within Portland State University including Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Studies, and Public Administration. CES usually continues employing students over the summer. The best way for students to get hired is to drop the director an email along with a resume. When they know they are hiring they contact those who they have resumes for. They also post to USP and UPA listservs.

Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory 

Professor Chris Monsere has hired several MURP students as GRAs in the ITS Lab. The ITS lab web site has additional information.

Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies 

The Institute was created to better connect the university to issues of concern to communities in the six-county Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area, and to bring new attention to key issues of metropolitan significance. Acting as both a broker and a catalyst, the Institute has been serving the region since 1992. IMS sometimes hires GRAs on externally funded projects. Contact the Director, Sheila Martin, for more information:

Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation

IBPI offers a unique partnership among academic, practice and policy interests that focuses on integrating walking and bicycling into communities through research, education and information-sharing.

Scholarships and Fellowships

College of Urban and Public Affairs Scholarships & Awards

A list of all scholarships currently being offered by CUPA is available here.

To apply for these scholarships, please visit the PSU Scholarship online application system.  

Please note: Even if you are not yet accepted into a program in the College of Urban and Public Affairs but have submitted an application you are still elligible to apply for scholarships.  The deadline for the scholarship application in many cases is before the departments make their decisions about who they are accepting, which means if you wait to find out if you were accepted first the chance to apply for scholarship support may have already passed.

Please contact with any CUPA scholarship related questions.

•    Ernie Bonner Equity Planning Endowed Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to a graduate student with a clear commitment to equity planning as the focus for professional and/or scholarly work. Available to incoming and returning students in the MURP and Urban Studies Ph.D. program. 

•   Sharpe/Strachan Returning Student Scholarship
To be awarded to a graduate student accepted into the Master and Urban Studies and Planning program, who is at least 30 years old, and is committed to pursuing a career as a practicing planner.

•   Nancy Chapman Endowed Scholarship
To be awarded to graduate students in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning who show promise of accomplishment in an academic or professional career and have financial need.  Preference will be given to students who have a dissertation proposal accepted by his or her committee.

•    John D. Gray Endowed Scholarship
This scholarship will support graduate students in the Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning who are studying sustainable development.

•    Maurie Clark Endowed Fellowship
Awarded annually to an outstanding Ph.D. candidate in the College of Urban and Public Affairs. The recipient must have an approved dissertation outline and intend to use the fellowship to support research activities.

•   Vera Katz Endowed Scholarship
This fund will provide a scholarship to a single parent (male or female) who is admitted to a graduate degree program in the College of Urban and Public Affairs (Masters or Ph.D.) and who demonstrates a commitment to public service.

•   International Association for Public Participation
This award is available to a graduate student in the College of Urban and Public Affairs studying Public Administration or Urban and Regional Planning. 

•   State Treasurer Urban Pioneer Award
This scholarship is awarded to a Graduate or Undergraduate student enrolled in a degree program within the College of Urban & Public Affairs who is a 1st generation student or a student returning to school at a later point in their life.

Portland Planning Diversity Awards

Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning (TSUSP) offers Portland Planning Diversity Awards for incoming MURP students enrolling in Fall of their first year. The purpose of these awards is to attract outstanding students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, including racial and ethnic backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in graduate urban planning programs. Each award entails a two-year funding
commitment from TSUSP, including tuition waiver (up to 12 credits per term) and stipend from a
0.15 FTE (approx. 6 hour/week) graduate assistantship working with TSUSP faculty and/or staff
during the academic year.

Office of Graduate Studies Scholarships and Awards

PSU's Office of Graduate Studies maintains a comprehensive list of PSU and external scholarship opportunities. These include:

•    Laurels Graduate Award Scholarship
•    Monroe M. Sweetland Endowed Community Leadership Scholarship
•    Rosemary and Robert Low Memorial Scholarship
•    Frank L. Roberts Community Service Scholarship

Oregon University System Fellowship

•    Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF) Graduate Fellowships for International Research
Graduate Fellowships for International Research are supported by an endowment to the Oregon University System (OUS) that established the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF). The goal of the SYLFF Program is to nurture future leaders who will transcend geopolitical, religious, ethnic, and cultural boundaries in the world community for the peace and the well-being of humankind. General information about SYLFF programs is available at:   The stipend for OUS-SYLFF fellows is up to $12,000 for the academic year to assist with educational and research expenses. Approximately five fellowships are awarded each year and several partial fellowship stipends may be given each year to help subsidize research-related expenses and travel. For details:

OUS Sylff Graduate Fellowships for International Research.

Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association

OAPA offers a scholarship each year.

PSU Center for Real Estate

Scholarships such as the Norris & Stevens Real Estate Student Endowed Scholarship and the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Scholarship are available for students in the Real Estate Development Graduate Certificate program.

Women in Transportation Seminar - Portland Chapter

A scholarship for women pursuing education in transportation-related fields, such as transportation engineering, planning, finance, operations or logistics.

Other Funding Opportunities

TSUSP Funding Opportunities

A comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available to students in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.

WICHE - In-state Tuition for Residents of Western States

Potential Funding Sources for Urban Studies Dissertations & Theses

Graders for Large Classes

Students are hired by the department on an hourly basis each term to assist TSUSP faculty members with large enrollment classes.

University Studies Mentor Program

Graduate Mentors are hired as Graduate Teaching Assistants for University Studies Sophomore Inquiry classes in Portland State University’s innovative general education program.  Mentors receive graduate tuition up to 9 credits and a monthly stipend.   Information is available here.